Couchsurfing: how to travel cheap and fun

To travel, staying in strange cities and countries not in hotels, and away from local residents – the simple idea that for thousands of people has become a favorite way to learn new parts of the world.

The Internet has made possible the main thing – the search and the relationship between a person who would like to come to someone’s guests, and those who are willing to accept it. It’s called “couchsurfing”. Original female site tell the most important thing about this method of travel.

How does it work?

It all starts with registering at one of the sites dedicated to couchsurfing. Actually, the word “couchsurfing” arose because the first and at the present moment the most popular website which offers search capabilities “hosts” and “guests” around the world. Besides him, there are now a bunch of other sites and communities in social networks, dedicated to the same thing, some of them are specific – for example, couchsurfing for women only.

Serious sites require prior registration to upload documents with proof of identity, so that when you encounter problems that you can identify the person and, if necessary, report him to the police. This is a guarantee of your safety, so do not ignore the request for proof of your identity.

Then you set your preferred location, dates, and see who is open to receive guests. Leave requests appropriate to you and in correspondence shall agree on arrival.

You do not have to pay for accommodation by couchsurfing, but some form of gratitude is appropriate – we’ll talk about that later.

Host can allocate you a berth, and to give you a tour around the city show something interesting in their area, to organise a house dinner in honor of your arrival, etc.

A huge plus of couchsurfing – an immersion into the real life of a city, in a certain cultural environment. And so you can live in a very non-touristy places.

How to search for “hosts”?

“Hosts” are the hosts – those who want to host house guests-kauchserferov. Start looking for your host in advance.

How far in advance? If you start the search for a month or more, it is likely that many of you will refuse or not give a definite answer because I do not know of their plans so in advance. But look for a place of settlement directly at the arrival in the city, is also a bad idea – few are willing to admit guests right now, without prior agreement. If you go to the big city, where, according to the website, there are many hosts, it is quite possible to find a comprehensible variant for a week or a few days before the trip. When locality is small, take yourself on a quest and chat with the hosts a little more time – two to three weeks.

If you want to visit non-touristic, sparsely populated areas, then all should leave the application for few months and carefully monitor the new ads from owners and in the case of finding the option with a settlement deal with the booking of transport tickets, etc.

You often say, OK, fill out your account as fully as possible – add different photo from travels, write, what are your Hobbies, etc. Owners usually do not care whom to settle! In addition, if your account has positive feedback from hosts who took you before.

What you should know about the host before you settle with him?

You have a right to know the conditions in which you live, provided you want a room or a bed in a shared room, what sort of sanitary conditions, are there any facilities, etc. Most hosts themselves describe their conditions, but if the supplied data is not enough – you have the right to ask for additional information or photos in personal correspondence. Also check with host as to reach his house from the train station or airport (some hosts ready to meet guests at the airport, while others just give me the address and tell you which transport to reach). Of course, read the reviews of previous kauchserferov on a host and don’t settle, if no reviews or they are very “impersonal” (like “Everything was great, thank you!”) – it is possible that these reviews are “fake”.

Be sure to stipulate whether you come alone or with someone, specify how many beds you need. Hosts usually indicate how many people are willing to accept, and to ask together to the host, indicating that it takes guests only one ugly. Of course, the easiest way to find the settlement alone, but the young pair is also easy to travel on couchsurfing.

It is more difficult to find hosts that will accept you with a child or three or more people.

How to behave, staying with “host”?

It is important to understand that you are traveling to visit, but not free in the hotel. By agreeing to host visitors, hosts want to get some of mutual interest to communication will serve as “payment” settlements. All hosts are different – you need a maximum of tact, to understand what is expected of you, and behave politely and gratefully. Some are willing to spend all day hanging out with kauchserferov in the city, and it is very interesting – a local resident can show you the city as you have never seen in conventional tourism. Others, however, can do more to keep your home in some cases, conversations, gatherings at the table, etc. – within certain limits it is necessary to accept without objection or to find a polite formulation, why do you not want to be in the house. However, to live domestic life of a typical inhabitant of some distant country is not less interesting than to wander the streets.

Sometimes, the owner himself from morning till night is no home, and guests need only to walk outside the home because the owner does not give them the keys (because he still has a right to fear for their property and safety).

The cost of food and other needs – is entirely your business, by default the owner does not have to feed you, and provide the right things. Although many hosts are treated with the pleasure kauchserferov and can help if you suddenly need something (call local phone, washing clothes, etc.).

As a thank you can give the host some sort of souvenir from your homeland or to offer to help with some household business, etc. whether to Invite him to her house – it’s your personal decision, the rules of classical couchsurfing that do not involve. You can travel on couchsurfing, but no one to host or to selectively receive other travelers (and those with whom you lived).

Precautions and life hacks

Of course, to come to a foreign country and stay with complete strangers is a risk. How to minimize the danger?

  • Always have a backup plan – money and addresses of local hotels and hostels, so in the event of force majeure to be able to move out from the host and not to sleep on the street.
  • Can also find replacement hosts in the same town and in advance to stipulate with them, whether they will be able to take in case you suddenly find yourself without a roof over your head.
  • The lonely girl to settle with single man – a risk not excluded. If traveling alone, as a safer to choose a settlement from couples to large families, the elderly, etc.

There are countries in which overnight guests, especially foreigners, is prohibited by law (e.g., China, Cuba, etc. – are officially in these countries can reside only in hotels and hostels). Experienced or particularly reckless kauchserferov sometimes find ways to circumvent the laws, but the risk or not – you decide.

Couchsurfing is a great experience, and it’s really very interesting! “” advises once in my life to travel this way!

Author – Dasha Blinova, site

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