Couchsurfing

15 Mar

I am a big fan of couchsurfing – a worldwide network that facilitates new connections between travellers and the local communities they visit.

Couchsurfing as I know it is based upon a free social-networking page http://www.couchsurfing.org/index.html

On this site people willing to host travellers in their homes advertise the fact. Hosts write about their cities, their communities, their homes, themselves, and what they can share with and teach travellers. Travellers or ‘couchsurfers’ are able to search host profiles to find couches that suit their needs and preferences. Travellers may contact hosts and request to visit for a few days or longer through the website.

For the reason that tourists pay big bucks to participate in ‘homestays’ in developing countries, couchsurfing makes for a better holiday; it allows travellers to see parts of cities and gain an understanding of their populations that wouldn’t normally be accessible to tourists.

The beauty of couchsurfing is that it is free. No money is exchanged. As is the case when family and friends come to visit, couchsurfers don’t pay their hosts for a bed and breakfast. Though it is generally good form to give your host a gift – giving something from your home country or cooking and sharing a traditional meal with your host seems a kind way to show thanks for their hospitality.

Unlike most institutions in modern society, this entire system is built on trust. Couchsurfers and hosts trust each other with their personal safety. Hosts trust that one day the hospitality they showed to strangers will be shown to them in some place far from home. Surely the world would be a better place if people held the attitudes they do towards couchsurfing to every activity they engage in.

Over the past 15 months or so Alex and I hosted couchsurfers from Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and the USA. Every experience was a positive one. Through this netword we established many new friendships, some of which may last a lifetime.

We are looking forward to being hosted through the network for the first time in Ho Chi Minh City. We are to stay with Adam, a couchsurfing ambassador in Ho Chi Minh City. We will write all about it.

Check out our CS Profile here!

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One Response to “Couchsurfing”

  1. kezia in melbourne April 4, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    Are you going to vomit in other peoples bathrooms and keep other people safe when there are boogie men outside

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