There is a website called “couchsurfing.com” which I visited a lot on my recent trip out of the country. I didn’t have much money, but I had the will and drive for traveling, even if it meant sleeping on a couch or a floor for a night or more.
There are going to be times where someone offers you a bed or even a private room room. The website is becoming really popular, and I’m not as surprised as I was a year ago to hear of someone else talking about couchsurfing.com. Every day, more and more people sign up with different things to offer.
The website lets anyone go anywhere—from as close to home as Orem, Utah, or as far as Beijing, China. This new development has helped people that may have never met become good friends.
For instance, I made several different contacts, but really only ended up maintaining three. What was nice about those three contacts was that unlike some of the couchsurfer hosts you find on the website, they brought me to others that didn’t use the website but were native to the country. Some of people on the website are new themselves to the country, but are still great to have around.
Two of the three that I maintained contact with had only lived there maybe a year or two. It’s totally possible to find others that are native to the country, and sometimes it’s very easy to find these people. In my opinion, it really depends on where you are traveling and what sort of travel you want to experience.
For all those out there that don’t believe they don’t have enough money to travel, think again. I visited three countries in Europe, stayed three weeks and only budgeted eight hundred dollars. About two out of the three weeks I had a free place to stay, and sometimes—like the wonderful Christel in Berlin—hosts will make breakfasts.
I do recommend returning the favor. Bring some sort of gift to the host or make them a meal, it isn’t necessary, but they should be recognized in some way for what the hosts are doing.