Couchsurfing

Or, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Rarely have we been able to find a one bedroom apartment.  Most places unless they are a studio are at least two bedrooms.  What this usually means is that we have an extra bed for guests.  Since most of the people in our families won’t be coming to visit, or hop around the globe with us, this means we have the unique opportunity to offer our extra beds to couchsurfing guests.

This does a couple of things for us.  One it breaks up the monotony of it just being the two of us and two it gives someone who needs a place to stay a comfortable place to crash for a night or two.

Never done the couchsurfing thing?  Here’s the dope.

  • You have an extra spot for someone to crash.
  • You expect no payment and do not charge for the room.
  • You sign up on the http://www.couchsurfing.org site and fill out a complete bio.
  • You hang your ‘available to host’ sign on the website and wait for people to send you an inquiry if you have availability to host them.
  • You review their couchsurfing site; read all the reviews people have written about them; send emails back and forth on a secure service and then decide if you want to host or not.
  • Decided to give it a try?  Then send them the info on where you are at or at least where to meet to check them out one last time before you let them enter your place.
  • Be prepared to make a new friend.

We have now done this in a couple of different countries and we have enjoyed it every time we have done so.  We have received more inquiries than we could accommodate from those interested in crashing with us but we don’t host more than one person at a time and we move around so much that many times we just are not home when someone needs a place to crash.

If we are available and feeling like we need company we go for it.  We’ve had people from the US, Canada, Spain and Austria stay with us in various countries.  It’s fun to get to meet new people and to learn more about where they have traveled too and what they have seen.  In some cases it has also given Mike a touring buddy.  He gets to leave the house and show someone around the city we are living in.  Most are impressed he’s learned so much about our new home.

Our couch surfing friend HD and Mike at KRKA National Park.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Our couch surfing friend HD and Mike at KRKA National Park. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

We have even stayed in touch with some of the guests we have hosted and even been featured on each other blogs. One couchsurfer has now joined us in two countries and is looking forward to meeting up with us in a third.

Thinking that language barriers might exist?  Most people using the site speak English.  In fact most speak a plethora of languages and English is just one of them.  This is a great way to give younger folks in your house a taste of a different culture without doing a full semester hosting obligation.  Most couchsurfers stay one or two nights.  Some will ask to crash longer but you can keep the obligation to however many days you wish.  Veteran couchsurfers have learned to be flexible.

Doing the couchsurfing thing was just something that happened.  I had heard about couchsurfing and thought it might be a good outlet for me and Mike.  I had also liked the idea of helping out a fellow traveler who wanted to see the world but who didn’t have a lot of money.  So far, mostly because we are so careful with weeding out the good from the bad couchsurfers, we’ve had a good time with the folks who have crashed at our place.

What it is exactly that makes a house a home?  The people in it of course!  And we love having a house where the whole world literally comes to visit.

Florence Lince

http://www.about.me/florencelince

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2 comments

    1. We are both quite surprised how much we have enjoyed hosting others. We have met so many great travelers who need a place to crash and its been fun staying in touch. We hope to be able to expand our visitor numbers and keep hosting as long as we are traveling.

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