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Couchsurfing is not my idea. It is however a great passion of mine. Simply, couchsurfing is the best way to experience life and the many cultures, people, and vibrant backgrounds of this crazy space rock (earth, for those not thinking outside the tube) we all live on.

Couchsurfing is simple and easy. Anyone can do it anytime, even if your not traveling! Basically, the internet and the millions of people on it are all now your friends who will be happy to put you up and let you sleep on their spare couch, bed, floor, or whatever room you may have. In return you agree to let other people from the couchsurfing community come into your home and you can return the favor. It's sort of like having friends all over the world while also having guests all over the world. It's the most wonderful experience and I would recommend it to everyone!

Not only is couchsurfing free, but it's also traveling green. Think about how much energy is consumed by the entire hospitality business. Save the world and enjoy it at the same time!!

There are other websites but primarily I use couchsurfing.com

Sometimes it can be a little difficult to get started, but there are some steps that will help you get out into that big world and get Couchsurfing!!!

Step 1: It's So Easy!!!


Log on to www.couchsurfing.com

Simply register your username and password and then build your personal webpage. Your webpage is sort of like facebook or myspace. Make sure to fill in plenty of information about yourself and be honest. People will look at your profile and determine whether or not they want you staying in their home.

Now search for a couch. Where are you traveling this summer? Look around, there are open couches just about everywhere in the world. It's as easy as sending another couchsurfing member an email to say hello and I'd like to surf your couch. Remember to say please : )

If your not traveling, just post your information on your personal page and make sure to include your location and what kind of accommodation you could possibly offer. Then just wait for an email to come. If your in a large city, an email will come very quickly and they will come often. If your in a rural ara your not likely to get a lot of people heading your way but a few certainly trickle off the beaten path.

Also, if your not traveling you can jsut couchsurf your own city!! It's a fun way to experience your own culture and meet some people witha differnt perspectives of your own little world!! TRY IT!!!

Here is the most Important step: HAVE FUN AND ENJOY LIFE!! Couchsurfing allows you to see many differnt cultures form the comfort of your own home or to experience a culture like a local. No more being a tourist! You are officially a citizen of the world and know every little nook and cranny that offers the best place to eat, best clubs to go to, best museums that are free, etc. etc. the list goes on!!! The tools couchsurfing gives you allows you to to much more than just surf someones couch. There are also people that get together with potlucks, meetings in your area, etc. The list jsut keeps going on!! I love it!! Just good people looking for a good time to experience a good life (and from my experience it's spam free...well mostly, spam seems to be a part of life no matter where you are).

The best part is that all of this is totally free!! You don't pay a dime for anything! You can however donate to the site which I think is a great way to support the program

Step 2: Some Tips and Suggestions


These tips are by no means a fool proof way to get someone to let you surf their couch but they have certainly helped me.

1. Plan in advance. Often you can couchsurf at a moments notice but it really helps to give people some heads up. The further in advance the better.

2. Be Honest and forthright! No one likes a liar!

3. Be creative! I lived in NYC for a time and got literally thousands of requests to surf my couch. If you've ever seen a NYC apartment you'll know space is a valuable commodity. Most of the emails were the basic "Hi, my name is _. i will be in town _. Can you host me?" Have fun and tell people something interesting about yourself. Everyone is interesting so share yourself. Most of all, stand apart from the crowd of people just looking for a free place to stay and nothing else. It's pretty easy to spot when someone sends out a mass email that is bland and boring. This is a community of people seeking to enjoy other cultures, perspectives, and viewpoints from wonderful people. So simply, be a wonderful person!! Tell them about instructables.comwww.instructables.com and how you will bring them something you built from the information you learned on this sweet website!

4. Don't get discouraged if you don't get a reply. Like I said, i lived in NYC and had thousands of requests. Could I answer all of them. No way!

5. Increase your chances of securing a host by emailing multiple people. it may take quite a few emails but if your creative and stand out you should get a couch.

6. Build your "resume" by hosting other people and making friends in the community that will vouch for you. Once you explore the site a bit you will understand how important it is to network and the best way to to do this is to host people.

7. Verify your membership!! This site is about trust and ultimately the idea that human beings are good. Never meet a stranger is an idealistic way to live but often hard for fear of what could happen. trust people, but be smart and take steps like verification to ensure that your trust and the community isn't being taken advantage of.

8. If you get accepted by a host then make sure to do something special so they appreciate having you in their life, not just their home. Do the dishes, cook a pizza, play a game, build them something, tell them stories, whatever it is that makes you special. Everyone has some sort of gift so share it with your new found friends. Make a good impression and make friends, you never know what kind of relationships you'll establish or when you'll need to surf their couch again.

9. MAKE SURE TO CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF!!! Be respectful of your host's home. They opened their lives to you so you should respect that and honor that by leaving the place a little better than when you came in. Pick some flowers and leave a nice note saying thank you and to keep in touch.

10. Leave feedback for otehr people and ask them to boost your profile by leaving feedback as well. It's sort of like ebay.

There are infinite ways to couchsurf, but mostly its all a big experiment and you never know what your gonna get so sit back and enjoy the ride!

Some Suggestions:

For everyone's safety, especially females traveling alone, life can be dangerous. It's not cool that that's the reality but that is the reality. I'd say you shouldn't have a problem with the people on this site but you just never know. A few good rules to follow is this. Trust in people. Most are good. Trust in yourself. If you feel uncomfortable with a situation then get out of the situation anyway you can. Shoot first and ask questions later. Go with your Gut. Whatever it is in the back of your head that keeps you safe at the end of the day. Travel in small groups, females only couchsurf with female hosts, or try and call your host and express concerns over saftey, all great ways to ensure safety.

Also, I suggest you take alot of pictures, be active in the community, have faith in people and the courage to trust strangers, write a jornal to remember it all, and love as much as you can!!

If you have any other tips, suggestions, comments, or experiences with couch surfing please post below, i'd love to hear about it.

For now I bid you farewell.

Peace Love and Chickenwings
Parker Woodward
Check out my couchsurfing profile by searching for the username: parkerwoodward (tricky username huh?)
CS is great, just be careful with people that try to use it as a dating site. <br>I had a weird experience in Malaysia a few months backs with some CS people. <br> <br>Have fun, and well it's all about learning life I suppose.
It STINKS to be a single female for traveling. :(
I can understand that <br>but, if you can, you should try trading your place with someone's else abroad.<br>My daughter just does that for the last six months : she's been in diffrent places in Italy, the she spent her Christmas vacations both in NYC and Montreal. I don't think she would have even tried to do all this any other way. She's only 20 and still at school.<br><br>Good luck anyway and happy new year while I'm at it !!!&hellip; :D
It sucks to be a disabled individual for traveling. :-( Places might say they're accessible and then they turn out not to be (most wheelchairs can't climb 5" lips in pavement for example, contrary to popular belief?...). Just gotta keep on truckin'...
I once hosted an American-French CS friend, he had no hands. It was such a good experience to have him around, feed him, help him undress etc that he came back a few days later on his way back to Paris. He did check thoroughly that we were OK hosting him and that our place would accommodate his particular needs. Do not hesitate to double, triple check that your host understand your disability, it makes things easier afterwards. When I travel with my bf, we make sure that being gay is not a problem for our hosts. It's not a problem in itself but it can lead to cultural misunderstandings. CS is all about getting to know people, all the people, every kind of person from every culture and in every condition! Cs members are generally very open minded and will reply to your requested if you ask pictures, measurements of their home etc... I have a disabled friend using an electrical wheelchair, I understand how tricky things can get but there is always a solution. Happy travel!
:( That really puts it in perspective. Sorry to hear that...
Yar, well, I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but yar, the world has yet to embrace universal design. And of course, being a solo female traveler can suck big time, too. I have a female friend who's apparently backpacking across Europe right now...though come to think of it, I haven't heard from her in a while... ah, well, she's a New Yorker, if she can handle the city, she can handle anything, right? ...hmmm... I wish I could travel. I'm going to check out couchsurfing and see how it can help me... I'm female, but my SO uses a wheelchair, and while we've been able to do some traveling, our situation has definitely run us into several barriers. So, I could try and go off to do stuff by myself and be a vulnerable 'single white female,' or try and have fun with my fave yet face problems with accessing buildings and transportation...
Hmmm...sounds like Sophie's choice!
Started doing something simmilar in the navy. I'd spend my port calls meeting locals and crashing at their places. We'd keep in touch and I always let them crash at my place when they were in the states. Somehow it expanded to hosting friends of friends. Then I ended up staying with new strangers that friends hooked me up with. Had some scarey times, but for the most part it was fun. My friend Ian from Gibraltar and his new wife will be crashing at my place on their way through NY next month. Can't wait to meet them.&nbsp;I'm gonna have to check that site. The world is a lot more fun when you know there is a friend waiting to meet you for the first time when you travel.
I always thought that couchsurfing was more like the last picture, but not on water, Like, on the road or something.
This is awesome. So registering right now. Couchsurfing is a skill I must acquire if I wish to travel. Damn the fact that I'm still in high school.
Couchsurfing Rocks!!! (We host - and will travel too some day)
I am a couchsurfing fan, we have hosted people from all over the world here in our little bit of the Aussie bush. I haven't had any safety concerns regards hosting strangers, if someone was intent on doing harm I am sure they would find an anon way to visit me and not leave a couchsurfing trail of communication (a safety feature of couchsurfing). Being a couchsurfing host as been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. There is the facility to indicate disability friendliness of your home on your profile. There is also the option to meet for coffee rather than host/surf, which is a great way for travellers/hosts to find out the lay of the land and what's what without committing to a sleepover. There are hundreds and hundreds of groups within couchsurfing so you can touch base with people who have similar interests or even find out about something totally new. If you are travelling in a van/camper there are also people who will host you in their driveway. Thanks for posting the info so more folk discover this great resource.
it sounds fun but what if you meet some criminal or someone who might hurt you.
Couchsurfing.com has a lot of good ways to ensure the people you encounter will not be the criminal minded people. Just check out their website and you'll see some of the ways in which they ensure your security. However, always be wary of strangers and new situations. It's up to you to decide if you feel comfortable or not. If you don't then simply get out of the situation. I am not usually nervous when meeting a for the first time because usually I have talked to them over the phone, couchsurfer emails, checked out their profile and references on the site, etc. Remember the idea behind couchsurfing is to share the world with everyone and to have faith in people and that mostly people are good and we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Criminals can break into your home at any time but are we overly concerned with this? No. People who invite other people into their home are, as a general rule of thumb, good people. In my personal experience, I was couchsurfing in Amsterdam, and happened to be mugged by a "criminal". It was late at night, it was an unknown city, and I was honestly rattled. I got back to my couch surfers apartment and felt relief to know someone in the city and know that I would be safe. He burned a CD for me that was great music that I'd never heard before and told me "It sucks bad things have to happen but I'm glad you have a good attitude and can keep smiling." I think it can't be summed up better than by his few words.
This is......a life changing Instructable. Really. <em>So</em> gonna get involved with this, thanks :D<br/>
We've been doing this for a few years now, and had some amazing experiences. They truly should be commended,
Parker! You rock for this! I am so thrilled to find something like this. I am super broke, and I would love to make travel a more realistic hobby for myself. I wanted to search for you, but I couldn't figure out how to search, but I made myself a full member and made my couch available! Thanks for an amazing idea. Oh, you should find me, too! My username is asyrith! I'm so excited now. Woot. I shall definitely be voting for you, good sir.
hey asyrith!! (is that your real name? it sounds really cool but i have no idea how to pronounce it properly, sorry!!) Thanks for your awesome enthusiasm. As much as I'd like to, I have to give all credit to the good people at couchsurfing.com I'm just a messenger, though it feels really good to inspire someone to travel and know that you may have opened up a new world for a total stranger. I think that's what both instructables.com and couchsurfing.com are all about. Life seems to have become disconnected in our modern society and the term 'nothing is free' just really doesn't have to be true. We can all share, and truly enrich our lives and lead better lives by sharing information, thoughts and ideas, homes, instructions, and a little bit of love and kindness. The internet is a marvelous revolution, and im just happy that it's not just for p-o-r...well if your old enough you can fill in the rest, this is a "be nice" comment policy box so I'm trying to keep it G-rated but sometimes I can't help but bend the rules a little bit haha!!. Thanks again for your enthusiasm and get out there and get traveling!! The world is waiting on you!
This is such a cool idea! Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately I am still in high school so I live with my parents and I don't think they would be too happy if I invited people to sleep at their house. Still a good idea though.
Thanks for your nice comments. I'm just trying to spread the good word that those people over at couchsurfing.com are working hard on. Remember, even if you can't offer a place to stay for other people doesn't mean you can't ask to be hosted by other people. Not everyone has an ideal place to host and some people are wandering and traveling all the time (all that glitters is not gold, all who wander are not lost). Also, you can get involved with some really great people just by being active on their site. They always have potlucks, meetings, and other cool things. I wish I had known about this site in high school, my life woulda been totally different I think. Just take this as an opportunity to do some research, make some connections with people, and plan out where you want to travel once you get done with school. Heck, maybe your parents would like hosting some people, it's sort of similar to a foreign exchange student. (although I'm pretty sure my parents wouldn't have been down for it, but ya never know. Opening hearts and minds is difficult work.) P.S. I never liked high school so much, too many rules!!! Have a great one Sardines!! P.P.S. This is a really long reply and after re-reading it sounds so very preachy and philosophical. I don't mean to preach, I just really like the idea behind couchsurfing haha!

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