What is CouchSurfing?
No, you are not surfing on furniture! CouchSurfing is a worldwide network connecting travelers looking for cultural exchange, a local insider’s guide and new friends, all for free. Essentially, you are sleeping at a stranger’s house in lieu of a hotel. But it is more than just a free place to stay; it is a cultural exchange. Most surfers and hosts spend time together. Strangers become intimate friends.
How does it work?
To put it simply, you log onto the website and search for a couch in your destination of choice. Then, write some detailed requests specific to hosts. If accepted, you arrange to sleep at the host’s residence for a specified amount of days. Both surfers and hosts should have detailed profiles.
Where can you CouchSurf?
With over 10 million users in more than 200,000 cities, it is easy to get connected with a local in your destination.
Is CouchSurfing Safe?
Generally, CouchSurfing is safe. We have over fifty experiences hosting and surfing, and we never felt in danger once. However, we are extremely cautious in making decisions because horror stories do happen.
- Read references carefully. References are extremely important. It is rare that someone will leave a negative reference in fear of getting one back, so be cautious if there are negative references. Check the quality of the references as well. If someone has 50 positive references, it doesn't mean much if most of them say general things like "she was nice, but we didn't see her much." We personally do not host or stay with people without references.
- Check for vouching and verification. Vouching doesn't exist anymore, but it was the most difficult to obtain, so if someone is vouched for, it is a good sign that this person is trustworthy. Verification doesn't actually say anything about the person except that he/she has an address and exists.
- Connect on other social media. If you are feeling uneasy, become friends on Facebook, if possible. If the person has lots of photos with friends, that's a good sign. If the person barely has any friends and posts hateful rants, perhaps step back and think again. One cannot judge another's character from a Facebook profile, but it is something to reassure that this person is a real human.
- Meet up in a public place. If you don't feel comfortable stepping into someone's house before you meet, ask to meet up in a public place. This is also helpful for surfers new to a town.
I can't host. Can I still be involved?
Absolutely! We understand there are certain situations that will not allow one to host, but you can still offer to meet up with travelers in your city or attend a CouchSurfing meetup or event. Check out the events and groups on CouchSurfing.org to see what's happening in your community. If there aren't events happening, why don't you start one?