Couch Surfing for Dummies

Posted On Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
Filed Under: Travel on a Dime

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I’ve always wanted to try Couch Surfing to save cash when traveling but the idea of staying with a stranger freaks me out, so today we’re fortunate to have a guest blogger post from world traveler Jessica Jones.

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We all come across amazing airline deals that we want to snag, but then realize we don’t have money for lodging. Now you can book that flight regardless, thanks to CouchSurfing – the most amazing website on the planet that allows travelers to connect with hosts willing to let you crash on their couch.

I know what you’re thinking. Staying on a stranger’s couch is insane…and it could be (Craigslist killer is the first thing that comes to mind). But CouchSurfer tries to prevent any “incidents” by verifying surfers are legit.

Here’s how it works:

1.    You decide where you want to go and CouchSurfer shows you profiles of members in that area. (There are almost 1 million couches available worldwide.)
2.    Once you find someone that seems sane (most do), introduce yourself and ask if it is cool to crash on their couch.

As a veteran couchsurfer (Puerto Rico, Amsterdam and Paris), I can honestly say that this service has changed the way I travel – for the better. In Amsterdam and Puerto Rico, my gracious hosts gave my friend and I our own rooms (it felt like we were staying in 5-star hotels).

The cool part is, since the hosts are locals in the city you are visiting, you get tips on what to do while you’re there. If you are lucky, your host will even show you around. To do my part, I try to let surfers stay with me when possible (not that often). I had a super sweet surfer from France this past summer. I got the chance to practice my French and she got to practice her English. It was a win-win.

I do, however, have a few safety rules:

1. No staying with men
2. No letting men stay with me
3. I must Facebook friend anyone who is staying with me to make sure they are who they say they are
4. I like to talk to the person over the phone before I crash.
5. I try to take my host out to dinner…or make them a meal to show my gratitude.

Bon Voyage!

To read more of Jessica’s work, check out her healthy living blog Whole Grain Grub or check out a video of her travel excursions at Square Rootz.

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