Is CouchSurfing Safe? Should You Do it?
If you love to travel, but your budget restricts you, do not be disappointed. With the genius idea of CouchSurfing, you can save lots of money and get to stay around the world for free.
Couchsurfing is run on the idea that people are kind enough to let you crash at their place – people here refers to complete strangers, by the way. Moreover, CouchSurfing is completely free. You will not be charged to stay at a local’s house, as they have volunteered for this.
Are you interested in going Couchsurfing? Or totally new to this idea? Check out our beginners guide with information to see if it is right for you, and also top tips how to stay safe.
What is CouchSurfing?
In 1999, Casey Fenton, an enthusiastic budget traveler came up with the idea of making a website that connects locals with travelers. The idea dawned upon him when he was planning on visiting Iceland, and wanted a cheap way to do so. The website was launched in 2004 and in two years it became quite popular. Since then, it has grown enough to have its own app. The CouchSurfing community now has over 15 million members and 400,000 hosts registered.
With CouchSurfing, hosts are not allowed to charge visitors anything. Travelers get a closer look at the local lifestyle by staying with a regular local host. This way, not only does the wanderer save a huge lot of money, but also gets to experience the way of living of the locals. In return, though, the guest must make sure not to be a burden. Kind gestures like taking the hosts out, cooking them dinner, or gifting them a small token of gratitude would be nice.
Reasons to Go CouchSurfing
- Save money - there is no cost to stay in destinations around the world
- Meet new people
- See local places usually outside the usual tourism hotspots
How Safe is CouchSurfing?
CouchSurfing is a safe way to travel, but it is sometimes more risky than a normal hotel experience. For example, you will be staying with a total stranger. They could turn out to be one of the most amazing people you meet in life, and you could become lifetime friends. But there also could be odd.
The vast majoirty of CouchSurfing experiences are positive, but like any method of travelling there are some horror stories. But the thing is, if you go backpacking and stay in hostels, this is also risky sleeping in the same room as strangers, and there are also lots of ways to make sure you enjoy as safe experience as possible.
Top Tips to Ensure Your Safety
It is imperative that you are safe and your experiences are worry free. CouchSurfing takes care of that, making sure that the users fill a detailed form giving all the required details. Here are some other things to consider:
Check Verified Status, Feedback & Reviews
Members should look for verified members of the app for more surety. Verified users means a conformity that these are the most trustworthy people in the area.
Travel With Friends
Going to CouchSurf with a friend, or as a group will really improve your safety. Travelling solo, especially as a female is more risky than staying with a host with friends.
Anonymously Look Up People Before Interacting With Them
Still, there are some doubts in your mind. After all, you will be living in someone’s house in a foreign land. There are other ways you can find information about people you are going to live with, or you are hosting. You can look them up on Radaris, all you need is their name and location. When you find information about people you can get the entire information about their past education, jobs, and current status of their living. You can even find the people they are related to.
Looking for any Red Flags
Most importantly, when you find information about people using Radaris, you will get to know about the criminal history or records of the host (or guest). This will give you a vague idea whether to proceed with this option or choose another member. You can even get their contact information, so it is easier to communicate with them and have your doubts sorted out.
Traveling should not be expensive, and CouchSurfing helps with that. If you have an adventurous soul inside you then go ahead. It is more fun to stay and bond with locals instead of paying huge checks to fancy hotels. Just make sure that your safety is not compromised so it is better to find information about people before leaping in.