Couchsurfing: An Essential Tool For Budget Travelers

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Unless you have a ton of money, if you want to be a long-term world traveler, you have to make sacrifices. You have to forego the five start hotels, the expensive taxis, and the fancy restaurants. When, at times, you find yourself running on mere pennies, yet refuse to return home with your tail between your legs, you have to get damn creative. Couchsurfing offers you the chance to do just that: To save a bundle. And we all know, the more you save, the farther you travel.

I am kind o a shy guy, and always travel alone, so I was  always a bit nervous about asking for a stranger’s couch for a night. I mean, how would that go? I show up at their house, a dusty and tired traveler, and plop all my junk in a corner somewhere and start snoring on the couch? no way!

Then I found myself in Europe. I had been sitting in one city a little too long and had starting to get that familiar travel itch. I decided that, even though I only had about 300 euro, I had to travel. I did’nt know how far it would get me and didn’t care. All I knew was that I needed to step up to the next level of hard-core travel, if I wanted to get far on that 300.

To me, this map represents all the free accommodation around the world waiting for me
To me, this map represents all the free accommodation around the world waiting for me

I had known about Couchsurfing for a long time, but ;like I said I never took the plunge. Well this time I did. I made an account, and I set out. When I combined Couchsurfing with hitchhiking and cooking my own meals, I ended up stretching that 300 euros all over Europe. After the wanderlust finally became stronger than my shyness and I showed up at my first hosts house, a new trend was born for me. I made it to that next level. I realized that these hosts were travelers just like me, not just rich people trying to provide some sort of charity. Just like anything that’s tough, the hardest part was that first step. After that I was good to go, and made a lot of new friends, and stayed free all over Europe.

People ask me all the time how I travel so much with no money, but when I tell them, they think I’m crazy. Well believe me, not one single tough time or hard ship stands out in my mind, as it is in the magnificent shadow of all of my amazing experiences.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  So my advise, if it’s your dream to travel, is to just go. Don’t work half your life to try and save for a short RTW trip. Just go now, and it’ll all sort it’s self out. I managed to travel around Europe for two solid months, traveling through over 20 countries, and countless cities. Do you think that when I’m old and I’m thinking about that particular trip, that I’ll have bad thoughts about standing on a cold motor way for hours trying to hitch a ride and then finally getting a ride and staying at a strangers couch in the end? Or do you think I’ll remember, on that same day, partying all night with many new friends at a rave in Berlin? Or going on canal cruises in Stockholm or mid evil tour in Prague Those are the things I’ll remember, and the sacrifices are the means to get there.

Wanna know a secret though? during my whole trip I never even considered hitchhiking or Couchsurfing a sacrifice. It felt more like a better adventure. I met way more cool people, and had way more adventures and fun. That’s why I continue on my friends! Come connect with me, see my CS profile here! 

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. I used Couchsurfing when I was in Athens, Greece. Now I live there, I still hang out with the friends I made through Couchsurfing. It’sa great concept.

  2. It’s definitely a great concept. I know quite a few people who have tried it. And loved it. But if you asked me todo that on our honeymoon trip that we’re on right now, I would have been like: nope.

  3. I recently wrote an article about Couchsurfing as well. I think that if used properly it can be a great addition to your travel bag. However, it can also be time consuming sometimes. Thanks for sharing, like your site man!

  4. Awesome article! I agree that many people simply dismiss traveling as being some sort of expensive endeavor, and while it can be, it can also be very affordable. It’s also about your priorities in life, if you want to travel you sometimes have to forgo that expensive phone or car to put money aside for traveling. If traveling is truly important to you, you will save the money, you will find ways to stretch your budget to the limit.

  5. I tried CouchSurfing once and had nothing but a disappointing experience. I rent a house in Thailand and had a couple of extra rooms that were just sitting empty so I offered them up on CouchSurfer, thinking I could meet some interesting people. I think I had about 5, maybe it was 6 people, that had confirmed that they were going to show up at various times. I never had one person actually show up. I realize travel plans change, but that was a bit ridiculous.

  6. I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of Couchsurfing for many years. That being said, I don’t use it indiscriminately. I like to use it to connect to interesting people, whether I’m a guest or a host. There are a lot of people who want to Couchsurf just for the free couch, and I don’t really care for these people. (You know what I mean… Those who don’t bother to read your profile and send you a copypasta.) But I’ve made some very good and enduring friends through the CS community.

    There are two other ways in which CS is really good for me when I travel… The forum is a great place to ask questions, especially since you get locals and expats who can help. And the CS meetings can be really great. In some cities they just suck, but in places like Istanbul, they’re downright amazing.

  7. We are huge fans of couchsurfing but if join looking for free accomodation you are wrong.it is about meeting interesting people learning from locals and being part of the community. Our surfers all have cooked for us and when we surf we try and do the same, we also take a small gift. Embrace the experience you wont regret it and if you are travelling by yourself keep yourself safe read references. Safe travels

  8. Great to hear your conclusion that Couchsurfing is much more than a way to travel on a tight budget. Couchsurfing really is about the people you meet along your travels! Have many more amazing adventures with other Couchsurfers.

  9. I’ve done quite a bit of hitchhiking and Couchsurfing myself. I’ve written a couple articles about both and completely agree with what you’ve said here. It’s the absolute best way to get to know the local culture and people and get the most out of every place you travel to. Cheers!

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