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Couch surfing: Your chance to travel the world without breaking the bank

Wednesday, 04 January 2017
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Want to see the world but donÔÇÖt have the money for expensive hotels? Feel like turning your travels into a social experience where you connect with like-minded people and make new friends all over the globe? Well then, couch surfing could be for you.

The concept of crashing on someoneÔÇÖs sofa to save money while travelling is not a new one: impoverished backpackers have been doing it for generations. However, now thereÔÇÖs a way to do this via social media.

Couchsurfing.com is a site that connects members with each other all over the world. People use the site to find a place to stay, or on the other hand, to open their homes up to share with visitors.

Couch surfing Your chance to travel the world without breaking the bank

As the name suggests, it can be as little as offering a spare couch for someone to sleep on. It could be an air mattress, or if youÔÇÖre feeling generous, a spare room. In this way, the site is quite like Airbnb, where homeowners rent out their spare rooms to travellers.

There is a social element to couchsurfing.com, with regular events being organised in cities all over the world. Even if you donÔÇÖt have space to share, you can still join the site, hang out at events, and make yourself available to show travellers around your city, thus making new friends and broadening your horizons.

Think youÔÇÖre ready to join the couch surfing community?

A good first step might be to register at Couchsurfing.com. It involves filling out a profile, with information about yourself. Then, you get in touch with couch surfers in your hometown by going to one of the weekly events organised there. Finally, once youÔÇÖre ready for your adventure, travelling the world, you search on the site for people with ÔÇ£couchesÔÇØ available in the places youÔÇÖd like to visit. After reviewing your hostÔÇÖs potential profile, you send a request, communicate, agree payment (if any) and jump on a plane! And make sure you top up your prepaid gocash card to pay securely and keep to your budget!

Being involved with the couch surfing community is exciting. But there are precautions needed. First, you might want to check if couch surfing is legal and permitted by regulations in the city youÔÇÖre staying in. ItÔÇÖs worth making sure that youÔÇÖre covered by the law. Members should also take into account cultural norms and laws in different countries (for example, in some countries single men and women would not share a sleeping space).

And then thereÔÇÖs the element of safety. While many people jump at the chance to see the world at a fraction of the cost of hotel rooms, others will balk at the prospect of sharing a sleeping space with a stranger who could have ulterior motives. Couchsurfing.com says it takes membersÔÇÖ safety very seriously. It advises members to take the time to read profiles very carefully, to take into account the feedback posted about individuals, to set boundaries and have backup plans.

If you take the necessary precautions, couch surfing ÔÇô and the form of socialising and communications it enables ÔÇô can open up a whole new world of exciting experiences and new connections for the intrepid traveller. Happy surfing!

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 January 2017 06:00