Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wanna surf my couch?

I know you're thinking, WHAT?! What is she talking about? Lol, well, when I was in South Korea a girl I met there told me about this awesome website called Apparently she traveled around Europe for weeks and never paid a penny in hotel costs. How could she possibly do that?

Well, is a website dedicated to providing travelers with FREE living arrangements in any country they wish to go to. It's the hospitality exchange network with more than 1.5 million members in over 231 countries. It's like a network of people who are both verified by the website to prove that they are who they say they are and each person has a list of references of people that have stayed with them. You simply search the country and area you want to travel to and hundreds of profiles come up of people who are willing to offer you a space on their couch to crash on, a guest bedroom, floor space etc.

It's very convenient if you are planning on going abroad and don't know where to stay. The hosts may even actually give you a tour of the city and take you out for drinks. This was very appealing to me, although I already had living arrangements taken care of when I was in Korea, couch surfing would have been a very fun experience. Living with the locals is invaluable.

The mission statement of CouchSurfing is Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch at a Time: "CouchSurfing seeks to internationally network people and places, create educational exchanges, raise collective consciousness, spread tolerance and facilitate cultural understanding.

That same girl I met over in South Korea actually hosts other people as well, so it's like a cool exchange. My only concern would be safety and hoping the hosts, or surfers for that matter, aren't crazies like the people on Hostel! Well, like I mentioned earlier, each host has their location verified and a list of references so that you can speak with people who have actually surfed their homes. They give either positive or negative reviews and it's up to you if you want to take that chance. There's also an optional credit card verification that allows your surfers to see that you are a legit person with no intentions of doing anything harmful

This website gets over 30 million views daily! I don't know about you, but I'm surfing across Hawaii very soon, then Europe. Let's go!

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