Couchsurfing is a social platform connecting travelers to local people who can host them for a few nights. Some people are drawn it by practicing cheap travel, and embracing the opportunity of a free stay. Yet the experience has so much more to offer. The benefits of Couchsurfing go far beyond saving money. These are some of the joys of Couchsurfing.
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One of the best and most simple, realities of Couchsurfing is that you get a local voice. Your host is able to take you to the places off the map. You will see their own neighborhood; visit their favorite places and the local hubs, rather than the tourist spots. Embrace the insider knowledge. They can offer advice, as well as destinations, telling you ways to act so you can blend into the local scene. Just one local voice can transform your whole experience of a new place
Couchsurfing is a strange thing – you immediately feel an affiliation with someone, even though that person is still a complete stranger. Even if you do not have a strong connection to them, their home is your home during your time in a new place. That random connection is bizarre and incredible. More likely, what happens in you do become friends, however temporarily. It’s a straightforward and easy way of meeting people. Travel always provides that opportunity to share experiences, which is probably the greatest way of getting to know someone.
Place to chill
Compared to a hostel, Couchsurfing gives you more space to chill. Hostels can be relaxed, with common rooms, social space, and comfy chairs. But in someone’s house, the atmosphere is more natural, less artificial. You can have the kitchen to yourself and slowly make dinner together. Or you can sit and watch a film in the comfort of a living room. There are fewer people and fewer distractions around you. And more chances just to relax with people you really want to spend time with.
Exchange beyond money
The essential concept of Couchsurfing is an exchange beyond money. It’s about so much more than just a cheap way of traveling. You might spend more money buying ingredients to cook your host a meal than you would on a hostel for the night. Yet the exchange is an act of good will – personal, sociable and more human than the trading of cash. Socialising: sharing ideas, sharing stories, sharing moments, you offer these things to hosts for a free stay. And the people hosting you are on Couchsurfing because they genuinely want this experience of giving in their lives.
There are many hidden gems in new places. And so many can only be found by asking for help to find them. A secret beach, a basement bar, a stunning viewpoint – they are all there; you just have to know where to go. A Couchsurfing host can tell you these local secrets and lead you to them. Couchsurfing guarantees an entirely unique travel experience. Hidden gems are subjective, but by nature always off the beaten track.
In another comparison to hostels, Couchsurfing connects you to locals, more than it does to fellow travelers. You not only spend time with your host but with their friends, their flatmates, their family. You throw yourself into a whole way of life. And they temporarily accept you into their daily routine. You immerse yourself in culture and society – as a member rather than a witness.
Pushing the comfort zone
Especially the first time, experiencing Couchsurfing can be nerve racking. The basic concept is something beyond what we know of society. Rather than keeping up our guard, especially while traveling, we let it down and make ourselves vulnerable to strangers. It is an essential pushing of the comfort zone for anyone. Yet it is surprisingly easy to get used to. The experience becomes more comfortable and far less scary. But even for the most experienced Couchsurfer, you always push yourself by meeting new and different people. No experience is the same as the next.
Meaning of generosity
Even after many Couchsurfing experiences, the generosity of strangers will never stop surprising you. The willingness of people to listen to what you have to say, and help you with where you want to go, is a fantastic thing. People offer so much more than simply a place to stay. They dedicate time and effort to helping you enjoy a new location. They make you feel welcome and secure. Of course, this goes for some more than others. Yet again, the majority of generosity is a constant lovely surprise.
Good for solo travel
Solo travel is getting more and more popular. And platforms like Couchsurfing are making it accessible to everyone. A safe, fun and sociable opportunity to meet new people: this is what Couchsurfing offers. It is an easy way of bringing people together and enhancing the joys of travel. You throw yourself into a situation and force yourself to engage with it. It is impossible not to make friends this way. Friends from all over the world, with various opinions, perspectives and views, all developing your personal experience of solo travel.
Inspiration of trust
When Couchsurfing goes right, there are so many wins to the situation it seems too good to be true. A free stay, a new friend, an amazing, unique experience. This is what comes from leaps of faith, and by just trusting people. The opportunities for all this are there, but until you try, you don’t know how good it can be. It almost feels like the big step of trust you take is rewarding you in return. Couchsurfing inspires realizations– the goodness of others, the importance of trust, and the endless opportunities of travel.
“I think we may safely trust a good deal more than we do” – Walden
Share your joys of Couchsurfing in the comments.