Couchsurfing! I am so much on the hook! Since I started in 2015, I stayed with hosts in Australia and Europe and had many hangouts. Couchsurfing is a great way to get in touch with locals or other travellers when you are travelling solo. But it is not only great help when you are looking for a place to stay. Couchsurfing is so much more! It is everything but a hook-up site. It is not about dating but about travelling.
How to start Couchsurfing
When you want to start Couchsurfing (CS), you need to sign up and create a profile. Say something about yourself, add a pic and describe what you can share with other travellers. Most members prefer to host someone with references, so check out, if some of your friends is using it as well (by searching members or connecting with facebook) and ask them to write a reference about you or start by hosting yourself.
How to use Couchsurfing:
The mean reason, why I started to use CS was – to be honest – because I was running out of money. I flew from Bali to Darwin and was shocked by the high prices for a basic hostel. I could not afford it for long and thought about my CS profile, that I did not use ever before. At the beginning, it was difficult for me to find someone willing to host me and my travel mate, but we made it at some point and found the first host in Alice Springs. After discovering Uluru for a few days, we headed back to Alice Springs and stayed a couple of nights. The Aussie guy we stayed with met us at one of the bars and introduced us to his friends. Next evening, we drove with his crazy awesome car to a Gorge and chilled out in the moonlight. Since that day, I kept on requesting in Australia, Portugal, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Malta and Gibraltar. Another time, I stayed with two Italian musicians in Treviso and learned how to make authentic Italian pasta!
When you stay at someone, you do not need to make plans or think about what to do anymore. You can just go with the flow, because your host will show you all of his secret and favourite spots. As travelling can get exhausting after a while, it is so great to get a rest and a proper bed sometimes.
You are going to experience so much kindness when you surf a couch, your heart is going to melt!
When I returned home after travelling for a long time, I was struggling very much to deal with the new situation. I missed travelling so much, I missed hanging out with other crazy dudes with the same mindset as me. Once I moved into my apartment, I started to host.The first girl I ever hosted was Lea from Prague, who invited me straight away to visit her in Prague (which I did). Lea had so much travel spirit in her heart and so many stories to tell that my flat was filled with her spirit all over. James from Indonesia brought me a hammock as a gift when he came to my place with his friend Sibylle and Nick from the US arrived with a huge rental car to drive fast on the German Autobahn. Showing your home town to a globetrotter gives you the chance to experience the city with different eyes. Me and the surfers went to rooftop bars just to enjoy the panorama view and I felt like travelling myself. Couchsurfing is such a great way to overcome post-travel depression. I use it whenever I feel stuck in routine.
Hangouts is an application I totally enjoy when it comes to Couchsurfing. It is great to use when you start feeling lonely while travelling or looking for some company to dine together but do not fancy a Tinder date. You are going to meet up with a bunch of guys or just one of the travellers. And all of them have the travel spirit in their blood. I even use it in my home town Berlin and made some close friendships.
Last but not least, you can create and look up upcoming events on Couchsurfing, many of them are for free. I love to go to the CS meet-ups once in a while, where all the travellers gather together. Sometimes they even have free Yoga classes or live music events.
My host Sergio and me attended a Couchsurfing event in Porto (Portugal) to enjoy the sunset and drink a beer together with other globetrotters.
I really hope that, in case you have not tried Couchsurfing yet, you are going to do so. Be respectful towards the other members, find and give shelter and check out hangouts.