After a breakup, a lot of people have their own Eat Pray Love moment. We're all for it and like to think that we help people finance their dreams by selling their breakup baggage. Imagine having the possibility to become immersed in new cultures, befriend trans-ocean friends, and make everlasting memories, and not breaking your bank. With Couchsurfing, it could all be possible. We're talking long before Airbnb. Members of the Couchsurfing site set up a profile on the site, then choose to either host a Couchsurfer, or become one. Either way, it seems sure to be an unforgettable experience. We've had a chance to chat with some Couchsurfers who shared their most memorable experiences, and shared tips for future travelers.
The Radical Adventurer
Agnessis a rad chick who travels around the world and lives for under 25 USD a day, and has a blog about it. She has hosted Couchsurfers, and has been one herself. "The best experience was getting to know someone who I fell in love with during one of my Couchsurfing experiences. Although it was a while ago and I don't really keep in touch with this person, it happened because I chose to Couchsurf instead of staying at a hostel." Agness has encountered a phenomena known as sexsurfing, which she wrote about here. "I was offered sex twice and two of my hosts were saying they were hoping to have sex before I had arrived. These were very awkward and humiliating moments," she shared. Agness suggests staying with female hosts to avoid this problem, and always "keep a small sachet of chill power around" to throw in someone's eyes as a defense.
You should try this if: You love embracing new cultures and experiencing cities in ways typical tourists do not.
The Student Globetrotter
Lauren is a UCLA student who decided to take up Couchsurfing. "Most people from the states, i.e. my friends and family, were shocked that I was doing it, but in Europe it is very common," she stated. Lauren spent hours researching various hosts, and requesting stays. Yet, this time-consuming research is necessary for the best experience. One of her favorite hosts was in Zurich, Switzerland, in which the host "has hosted over 300 couchsurfers, and he is only 26 years old! He showed us around the city, made us breakfast, and we felt very comfortable with him!" Lauren had a bad experience in Paris, where the host's apartment was too filthy to bear. Despite this, Lauren stated she would definitely Couchsurf again.
You should try this if: You long for a change of scenery and are craving a new adventure.
The Simple Traveler
Charlie is one of those carefree, wandering souls who can inspire anyone to see more of the world. She first began hosting Couchsurfers with her boyfriend while they were living in Taiwan. "I've only had positive experiences Couchsurfing to be honest," she states. After hosting a couple of times, Charlie Couchsurfed herself, traveling in the UK and other parts of Europe. One of her favorite experiences was staying with a vegetarian couple in Wroclaw, Poland. "They cooked all these incredible traditionally Polish meals but in vegetarian versions which you'd never be able to find in the restaurants-but all the recipes were secrets and made up entirely by our Couchsurfing host!" Charlie's advice for a good experience is to spend time looking for like-minded hosts on the website. I"'ve heard that there are usually clues in people's Couchsurfing profiles if sexsurfing is something that they're into, so read through profiles carefully to check for this and you should be fine."
You should try this if: You seek more meaning and experience out of your day-to-day life.
The Spontaneity Hound
Jo is living in Chiang Mai and has an awesome travel blog. One of the Couchsurfers she hosted has become one of her best friends; they continue to message each other about their daily lives. Like Agness, Jo experienced the sexsurfing phenomena, stating that a host in Bangkok "Made me feel very uncomfortable when he insisted on sleeping in the same bed as me. Then he invited two more couchsurfers and said we would all sleep in his bedroom, so on the same day I moved out." Her worst experience, however, was when a male host blackmailed her with a bad reference for not staying through a concert with him. You can read more about it here. Jo has the following advice for future Couchsurfers: "First of all always read the references and the personal description. It's better to stay with a woman, or with a family, and to choose a person who has more than 2 positive references. Photos are important, too. I would treat a person, who doesn't have photos showing their face with a suspicion."
You should try this if: You have enough fire and boldness to explore the unknowns and seek the great perhaps.
Despite the possibilities for awkward sexual miscommunications, dirty apartments, or unfriendly hosts, Couchsurfing was still considered to be a great way to travel on a budget. One hundred percent of these ladies would do it again, so why don't you see the world, take awesome photos, meet friends, and fall in love?