How to Travel the World, One Couch at a Time

28 Mar


Couchsurfing. Yeah, you’ve heard me slip it into conversation like a roofie. One moment we’re talking about capers and olive oil, then BAM – did you know I went couchsurfing in Colombia? That’s one way to make a stale conversation interesting. Anyway, I BELIEVE IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SLEEPING ON STRANGERS’ COUCHES.

Why Couchsurfing?

  • Meet awesome, worldly and OPEN-minded individuals that will probably tickle your cultural brain cells beyond your wildest dreams
  • Couchsurfing.org is totally FREE for anyone to use
  • All that money you’re NOT spending on hotels/guided tours can be used towards airplane tickets to more countries! WOW!
  • You will find couchsurfers in almost every part of the world – even ANTARCTICA
  • Get off the beaten path – staying with a native or a local couchsurfer from that country will most definitely grant you the insider’s scoop on wondrous, underground things to do – stuff you will NOT find in tour guidebooks (lonelyplanet = barf)
  • Delicious food – a common activity couchsurfers indulge themselves on is cooking FOOD together! Exchange ninja cooking skills and recipes! Food is one of the most common areas in which people can connect on, no matter where you go in the world. Resist the golden arches, resist!
  • Learn awesome, sexy, foreign phrases that will make people drool and fall over everywhere you go
  • Hotels + tour guides + 5 years worth of salary = crappy traveling experience
  • Stuff like this will happen to you, and yet you come home safe in one piece because couchsurfing is not that dangerous, I swear
  • How many times in life will you get to meet an opera singer or a North Korean/German ambassador? Never. Unless you’re a couchsurfer like me…true story.

How to Start Couchsurfing?

  1. Create your profile – don’t be a boring blank page w/ creepy blank photo – I know that if you stumbled onto my blog you’re probably super awesome & interesting (obviously, because you know me). So don’t be afraid to concisely state the reasons that may compel someone to host you / crash on your couch. Check out my profile for starters.
  2. Build Credibility – To be less creepy, you need more positive references. Sometimes it’s a Catch-22. ¬†How can you get positive references if no one will interact with you in person because your profile is blank and creepy? Start out as a host – join your local group’s “Last Minute CS” group. Since couchsurfers generally don’t plan very well, you’ll find lots of lost, wandering souls looking for places to crash in this forum. Save somebody, be a good host, then you’ll receive a positive reference! Woohoo! So easy!
  3. Start Traveling – Before you book that sleazy, all-inclusive hotel – creep on some couchsurfing peeps. You will have to lurk a little and see who you think you might click with. Send a message or couchsurfing request with a personalized message (people won’t respond to copy & pasted messages).

How to be an AWESOME Couchsurfer?

  • ALWAYS BE CONSIDERATE – If you’re the couchsurfer, act as if you’re the best roommate in the WORLD. Keep your sleeping area clean. Don’t clog the toilet. Ask before you use anything. Don’t walk around naked in your underwear (unless you asked them if they’re okay with that).
  • OPEN YOUR MIND – Leave your¬†judgement and negativity on the doorsteps. If you’re open and honest, people will be open and honest in return. And when both parties are open and honest – well…lots of fun adventures can happen. Like riding on mopeds to go wreck diving in Tulamben, Indonesia.
  • RETURN THE FAVOR – If they cooked for you, clean up the dishes or take them out for a beer. Maybe you can bring a special gift from your country as a “thank you” token of appreciation for letting you stay on their couch. Teach them a new skill, or a dirty word in your language. Be an awesome wing man and hook them up with a hot chick.
  • BUT DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH – Okay, there’s a fine line here. Despite all the positive things I’ve said that couchsurfing has to offer – please don’t walk into somebody’s house expecting all these great things to happen, EVERY SINGLE FRICKIN’ TIME. You really need to exercise your perception skills and go with the flow of your host. They could be super busy and not have enough time to show you the sights – totally fine. Respect that these people have their own lives too. Or maybe your host wants to become your best friend and know every single detail about you. That’s fine too – cultural exchange is awesome. Just go with the flow bro….
  • LEAVE THEM MAD PROPS – Dude, if you had a good experience – shout it out to the world! Leave them a glowing, positive reference. It takes you like 2 seconds. Just do it – and they’ll probably do the same in return.
  • KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THEM AFTERWARDS – if they are in your country traveling, don’t blow them off. Let them stay with you. It’s only fair.

Let me know if you guys have any other questions or suggestions! I’m totally open to them! If you want me to elaborate on a certain subject…I can definitely do that too. Happy couchsurfing!

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2 Responses to “How to Travel the World, One Couch at a Time”

  1. Nestor April 17, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Couchsurfing is also useful for just meeting people, locals and travelers. An easy way to start is just attending the various gatherings. Some people just get together for coffee and this is a great opportunity to meet new people. Even when you are back home it’s a good time to meet other travelers and talk about things only other travelers talk about.

  2. Henry H. January 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Hey, thanks for sharing this. I was looking into the site, and saw that you +1′d it!
    BTW, awesome blog!

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