While planning my trip to the United States I discovered that hostels aren’t available in every big city, so finding budget accommodation was proving to be difficult. I had previously signed up to CouchSurfing.org but I had not used it, so it seemed like a perfect time to try it out.
Finding A Couch To Surf
Once you create a profile (I’m at nomadicnotes) you can select if you are going to be a host or surfer.
The site is easy to use. Go to “Couch Surf” and select your city and Couchsurfing requirements. CouchSurfing is the biggest site of its kind so there are plenty of profiles in the system.
My CouchSurfing Experience
I had my first Couchsurfing experience in Boston. I sent out a few emails to prospective hosts and I got an email back promptly from another CouchSurfing newbie who was looking to host.
My host met me at the metro station and walked me back to the house. She lives in a nice old house with another housemate, and I got a comfortable couch that was built for sleeping on.
After dropping my bags off at the house we went for lunch and a tour of the neighbourhood. My host lives in Jamaica Plain, which is a bohemian enclave in Boston that I had never heard of, and probably would not have visited if I hadn’t happened to have been couch surfing there.
I had two days in Boston and I was given a list of recommended things to see and places to eat. My host deducted from my profile that I like coffee, so she made sure there was coffee in the house for me (she is a tea drinker).
[Stovetop coffee from my thoughtful host.]
On my last night, we had a homemade dinner with her boyfriend and his sister.
It seems I could not have found a better host for my first Couchsurfing experience. I know that not every Couchsurfing experience turns out well so I got off to a good start.
CouchSurfing is an excellent way to meet local people and see other parts of the city from a locals perspective.
CouchSurfing is also great for saving money on accommodation. Finding availability and suitable hosts seems to be the main drawback for me. I had beginner’s luck getting a great host first time. I since tried finding a couch in other cities and had no luck at all. Therefore I wouldn’t budget a trip thinking that would get couches every where I went. It would probably work better if you have a flexible schedule and plan in advance.
Overall though my experience with CouchSurfing was positive and I will definitely be using surfing couches again in the future.
Haven’t tried CouchSurfing yet, but have always wanted to. Sounds like you found a gem in Boston. That was so thoughtful to be stocked with coffee!
JR Riel says
I’ve been reading more and more about this on other blogs, and the majority of them seem to be very positive. I’ve always been more of an oldskool hostel-“surfer”, sorry couldn’t resist, but the more and more I read about this it seems like something I may give a try. Thanks for the good post!
James Clark says
@JR Riel couchsurfing is definitely worth a try, especially if you have a few days in a place. I still like the oldskool way of budget teavel – hostels – as well.