Couchsurfing: what it is and how to travel

Who I am
Aina Prat Blasi

Author and references

Couchsurfing: jumping from sofa to sofa. Couchsurfing was born in 2003 as a non-profit project thanks to Casey Fenton. Today, Couchsurfing is more alive than ever with a community that boasts over 5 million affiliates since the beginning of 2013. It is no longer a non-profit project since 2011, but it is certainly a way to travel low cost.

How does Couchsurfing work?

Couchsurfing is a program that allows you to connect people with different needs all over the world. So there are people who on the one hand provide a room or rather a sofa, while on the other there are those who leave for new countries and look for a place where they can sleep a few nights. The idea is really interesting and if anyone tried it they know what I'm talking about. In doing so, you travel at very low costs, but more importantly you get to know people and cultures, make bonds and make friends.

Getting started in this world is really easy, it only takes a few minutes to register on the site, obviously entering your data (age, profession, place where you live) and also entering the bed or sofa you have available. Each sofa can be made available for a period of time, perhaps a trial period. Among the data you can enter there is also the category of interests, passions and reflections on the latest trips made. If you have to spend a few nights on someone's sofa it is good to know if you have similar tastes in terms of books, perhaps. It would be a good way to break the ice when presenting. In addition, writing your interests accurately gives you the opportunity to get closer to the other person and somehow feel at ease and more confident in the experience you are going to live.

Couchsurfing was born on a non-profit basis, therefore there are no economic exchanges between the parties. All details are agreed via the web by the two travelers before departure. When availability is given for a sofa in one's home, this place is not necessarily available for everyone. However, you will be the one to accept travelers once they "knock" on your door, at least virtually speaking.

What are the security measures?

If you are a beginner and do not want to immediately take on the task of hosting someone you do not know in your apartment, you can start with the option “I can show the city” and then move on to “I have the possibility to host”. Both the host and the host have the opportunity to leave a review on the other. This allows you to have a history of the traveler and how he behaves in both cases, whether he is a guest or a guest. It is also important to know that if you come across a negative review you can lose the right to be hosted. This is a very important guarantee for those who decide to open the doors of their home to a traveler. Another verification system is that of the paid address. By sending a postcard with a secret code to the address to be verified, you become a more than reliable Couchsurfer within the community. There is also an abuse reporting system. In each profile there is a link to report any abuse or fraud to the site staff. Finally, every message sent to other members and every request for hospitality are stored on the servers.

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