• Couchsurfing

U.S. News: Couchsurfing

U.S. News & World Report  |  November 9, 2011

Couchsurfing is a great way to save money on travel. But the best benefit is getting to meet wonderful and people and being able to live like the locals do. And more often than not, couchsurfing doesn’t actually involve a couch. Every time I’ve done it I was graciously given my own bedroom and bathroom as well as provided meals.

From the article:

Whether flying solo or with the whole family, travelers are increasingly turning to housesharing sites as an affordable alternative to hotels. When Lauren Lyons Cole spent six months traveling around Colombia learning Spanish, she used Couchsurfing.org to book accommodations for part of her trip and estimates that she saved several hundred dollars. “I was getting meals [from my host family], and didn’t have to share a dorm room with other people,” she says, adding that the real draw was spending time with locals. “I felt safer than staying in a hotel by myself.”

. . .

On her trip to Colombia, Cole filtered her couchsurfing host search to local women in their 20s and 30s who speak English and Spanish. She wound up staying with the family of a woman her age whom she describes as “very cool and artistic and hip.” Hanging out with the woman’s friends and family made her feel like “an extra daughter.” However, even with those filters in place, Cole says she has turned down couchsurfing options when she sensed that she and the host were on different wavelengths.

“I was getting meals [from my host family], and didn’t have to share a dorm room with other people,” she says, adding that the real draw was spending time with locals. “I felt safer than staying in a hotel by myself.”