If the first word in the title has you confused, please visit this site. Basically, it’s an awesome concept. People host their couch, floor, spare bedroom, backyard for camping, etc., for free for travellers to come stay for a period of time. I’ve been very intrigued about this concept during our world travels most especially. Not only does it have the chance of saving us money, but even more importantly it gives us the opportunity to stay with a local and experience the culture in a uniqueway. Imagine being able to live in a typical home, have a chance to make new friends in another country, and get a real feel for an area. That’s one the benefits of couchsurfing.The site helps make things a safer and instills some confidence in the idea if, like me, you’re a newbie at it. People vouch for each other, there are feedback and reviews, etc.
If I was traveling unencumbered, i.e., solo, (as I will be when I go to Midway, UT, in March to complete my open-water dives for my scuba certification) I wouldn’t even think twice about couchsurfing. But soon I’ll have Tigger in tow which makes me a little more cautious. As with anything, a dry run is always nice. As we’re preparing for a road trip to Arizona to spend time at the Grand Canyon and other places nearby and en route, we’re planning on doing some couchsurfing. In the research process I was even able to find some people who host that also have children around Tigger’s age. How cool for him! He’s so darn social, and sometimes being an only child isn’t really . . . a luxury.
My first question when I began entertaining this way of traveling was how is it for a family? Checking in with the likes of the Vogels (a family riding their bikes on a world-record trip from the top of North America to the bottom of Argentina) and with Lainie (who is a single parent traveling the world with her young son), I discovered couchsurfing with kids is a very viable option. And if you check out Lainie’s blog, you’ll find out how many international friends they’ve made through couchsurfing. What an amazing experience, no?
Looking at reviews confirmed what I thought. Couchsurfers make friends all over the world. Initially I signed up as a host, but no one has taken us up on that offer yet. I am so excited to have my first couchsurfing experience, though. This first one will be a solo trip, and I’ll be staying with a family in Park City, UT. Then later next month when we begin our road trip to the Grand Canyon, we will most likely have hosts in Durango, CO; Sedona & Flagstaff, AZ; and Moab, UT. Not only will we have saved a boatload of moolah, but we’ll make some more friends. And who knows, maybe we’ll inspire some other people to look at their lives and change their opinion about “can’t” and “I wish.”
For more information on couchsurfing, aside from their website linked above, check out this very good primer article.