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Old 06-18-2008, 09:34 PM
 
Location: NYC
53 posts, read 177,377 times
Reputation: 43

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Thanks for everyone's advice and opinions on this. I did end up couchsurfing last week and had a blast! It was great to stay with someone in an area I had never been to and get shown around and even go out with some of their friends. Overall I think as long as people are careful when selecting who to stay with and trust their instincts when corresponding with them it can be a very rewarding experience. It's not always about saving money - I had plenty to stay in hotels - it's about meeting new people and learning from people who actually live in the area rather than exploring alone and only hitting up tourist spots. Anyways, I am glad I tried it and will recommend it to others who are interested in trying something new.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:37 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
Reputation: 13245
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowlove View Post
It's not always about saving money - I had plenty to stay in hotels - it's about meeting new people and learning from people who actually live in the area rather than exploring alone and only hitting up tourist spots. Anyways, I am glad I tried it and will recommend it to others who are interested in trying something new.
Yes. I am so glad you tried it, and am pleased at how successful it was.
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Old 08-18-2009, 05:15 AM
 
1 posts, read 4,514 times
Reputation: 15
Dear folks, last year I travelled Sweden and Norway by myself (female, 28). I helped painting a house, I climbed Preikestolen in walking shoes I had been given by my host, I stayed in a cottage in the middle of no-where in rural Sweden and celebrated Midsummer with about 35 people from all over the world...whilst living in Barcelona I played tourguide for numerous visitors and showed them the old town, this summer in Spain I met a girl in a small town and we prepared a meal together, the best friends I now have are people I met through couch surfing. They are people I can trust with my life. Wherever we are in this wee world, we will always be there for each other. I can move to ANY place in this world and there will be a community welcoming me. I have none of the inhibitions a lot of people feel about moving- if I wanted to I could start a new life at the other end of the world tomorrow. The community will be there not only to socialise with, they will be there with any advice you could possilbly need. When I moved to Barcelona last year, I stayed with a Catalan family- as I had known their son from my time in Scotland. Over there I had organised numerous events, such as a visit to the castle. We'd made friends and these people welcomed me to their home, helped me searching for a flat and encouraged me. Yesterday I learned how to cook a real pakistani meal and discussed values of Eastern and Western civilisations, the way society is going and what it means to the individual. As I moved to Spain, I left some of my stuff with a CS in Edinburgh. She also made a move to another country but made sure my property was posted to me by yet a third CS. When I visited Rome two years ago I met a local CS there and we had a cappuccino- and the best tiramiso in a real Roman cafe where you would not find any tourists. I could go on. Positive experiences: Countless Negative experiences: None. CS has changed my life and me as a person. I can see the good in people. Together we ARE creating a better world. This is about sharing. About giving and taking. About reassessing one's values. About understanding other cultures. Open your heart and you can win so much. Ultimately, no one is obliged to do anything. Contribute to the community in whatever way you feel comfortable. I have a friend who hosts a lot of people but is not comfortable asking for couches in returen. A lot of people contribute by helping travellers out in other ways. The free accommodation is a side effect, it definitely is not the decisive point. What is travelling without contact to the local community? I imagine it to be blant beyond belief. I strongly believe in the values of CS. It is a community that depends on its members. Ultimately, life is also about risk-assessment. Before I knew about couch surfing I once stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Nottingham, England- travelling by myself as usual. The receptionist had accidentally given the second set of keys to another guest. So as I was fast asleep in the middle of the night, a man came into my room. Nothing happenened but anything could have happened! The next day I demanded my money back and waited for an apology I didn't get. On the other hand my first experience as a CS guest was with a girl of similar age, who I'd got to know while we were in a group of CSers at an event that had been organised by the local community. Can you see how I instandly felt comfortable staying with her? Last but not least I am not here to convert each of you into a couch surfer. Far from it. It takes a certain mind set to be a couch surfer, and not everybody has that mind set. All I wanted is to share these few experiences with you and make you reflect on them. I am new to this forum but am potentially open to answer your questions should you wish to find out more (as soon as I have worked out how, that is ) Marie
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:25 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
Reputation: 13245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubytuesday81 View Post
Ultimately, life is also about risk-assessment. Last but not least I am not here to convert each of you into a couch surfer. Far from it. It takes a certain mind set to be a couch surfer, and not everybody has that mind set. All I wanted is to share these few experiences with you and make you reflect on them. I am new to this forum but am potentially open to answer your questions should you wish to find out more (as soon as I have worked out how, that is ) Marie
Hi Marie
My husband and I are not exactly extroverts, but we wanted to try Couch Surfing.
Last spring we Couch Surfed in France and it was the highlight of the trip.
We saw and did wonderful things we never would have otherwise.
When we came back home, we hosted a nice young girl. She got me doing yoga for the first time in over 30 years! I had fun taking her around town and shopping in funky second-hand stores.
I think Couch Surfing can be hit or miss, but for us it has definitely been a hit.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:36 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
4,085 posts, read 7,668,482 times
Reputation: 2648
If you're going to do the couchsurfing thing, and you're a female, don't reply to offers that sound like: "Single male, non-smoker, looking to share apartment with non-smoking young single female, 18-22, shoulder length hair, slim build, and MUST wear a shoe size EIGHT. MUST be a SIZE EIGHT SHOE. Bring all your shoes - heels, pumps, flats, wedges - ALL of them. And get a pedicure. You MUST be a size 8 shoe!!! It PUTS the LOTION ON its SKIN!!" lol
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:48 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,548 posts, read 39,934,465 times
Reputation: 23673
I've used and hosted in various 'private Guest Home directories' for over 20 yrs. As mentioned it is the highlight of the trip to meet and help people all over the world. There are many host organizations and it is prudent to be careful... that being said, I referred a single mom and 2 teenage daughters to one of my directories last yr for a 'cross the USA' trip. The first time they used it they felt much safer than camping or hotels, and scheduled the remainder of their trip using these guest homes. This was a 'conservative' directory and mostly farm homes. I have not had an unsafe feeling in any of the directories I use. I like having a profile of host to determine what might interest me in staying there. Internationally is it a real benefit.

I can see apprehension with CS, but... there is a bit of 'control' on that site / referrals... Be careful, have fun, enjoy your vacation!
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:18 AM
 
5,823 posts, read 10,152,124 times
Reputation: 4531
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubytuesday81 View Post
Dear folks, last year I travelled Sweden and Norway by myself (female, 28). I helped painting a house, I climbed Preikestolen in walking shoes I had been given by my host, I stayed in a cottage in the middle of no-where in rural Sweden and celebrated Midsummer with about 35 people from all over the world...whilst living in Barcelona I played tourguide for numerous visitors and showed them the old town, this summer in Spain I met a girl in a small town and we prepared a meal together, the best friends I now have are people I met through couch surfing. They are people I can trust with my life. Wherever we are in this wee world, we will always be there for each other. I can move to ANY place in this world and there will be a community welcoming me. I have none of the inhibitions a lot of people feel about moving- if I wanted to I could start a new life at the other end of the world tomorrow. The community will be there not only to socialise with, they will be there with any advice you could possilbly need. When I moved to Barcelona last year, I stayed with a Catalan family- as I had known their son from my time in Scotland. Over there I had organised numerous events, such as a visit to the castle. We'd made friends and these people welcomed me to their home, helped me searching for a flat and encouraged me. Yesterday I learned how to cook a real pakistani meal and discussed values of Eastern and Western civilisations, the way society is going and what it means to the individual. As I moved to Spain, I left some of my stuff with a CS in Edinburgh. She also made a move to another country but made sure my property was posted to me by yet a third CS. When I visited Rome two years ago I met a local CS there and we had a cappuccino- and the best tiramiso in a real Roman cafe where you would not find any tourists. I could go on. Positive experiences: Countless Negative experiences: None. CS has changed my life and me as a person. I can see the good in people. Together we ARE creating a better world. This is about sharing. About giving and taking. About reassessing one's values. About understanding other cultures. Open your heart and you can win so much. Ultimately, no one is obliged to do anything. Contribute to the community in whatever way you feel comfortable. I have a friend who hosts a lot of people but is not comfortable asking for couches in returen. A lot of people contribute by helping travellers out in other ways. The free accommodation is a side effect, it definitely is not the decisive point. What is travelling without contact to the local community? I imagine it to be blant beyond belief. I strongly believe in the values of CS. It is a community that depends on its members. Ultimately, life is also about risk-assessment. Before I knew about couch surfing I once stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Nottingham, England- travelling by myself as usual. The receptionist had accidentally given the second set of keys to another guest. So as I was fast asleep in the middle of the night, a man came into my room. Nothing happenened but anything could have happened! The next day I demanded my money back and waited for an apology I didn't get. On the other hand my first experience as a CS guest was with a girl of similar age, who I'd got to know while we were in a group of CSers at an event that had been organised by the local community. Can you see how I instandly felt comfortable staying with her? Last but not least I am not here to convert each of you into a couch surfer. Far from it. It takes a certain mind set to be a couch surfer, and not everybody has that mind set. All I wanted is to share these few experiences with you and make you reflect on them. I am new to this forum but am potentially open to answer your questions should you wish to find out more (as soon as I have worked out how, that is ) Marie
SURE, Coucgsurfing is fine for you, a 28-yo adventurous single.
I don't see myself couchsurfing with so and 9 yo kid though.
It's a thing for young people.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:56 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
Reputation: 13245
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
SURE, Coucgsurfing is fine for you, a 28-yo adventurous single.
I don't see myself couchsurfing with so and 9 yo kid though.
It's a thing for young people.
It depends. If you look, I think you can find the right spot.

We are not exactly young people, ourselves. We are 56 and 54.
And the Frenchwoman who hosted us has a 10 year son herself.
He had a lot of fun with our adult son, who speaks French.

It's not good to take unnecessary risks with children, but Couch Surfing does uses references and verifications.

I would not want to spend the entire trip CouchSurfing, especially if it really does involve sleeping on a couch. But I think it is a great idea.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:25 AM
 
1 posts, read 4,165 times
Reputation: 15
Default come on, trust people!

So this is an ancient thread. But I registered just to post here.

I happened to find this thread when I typed "couchsurfing murder". I was trying to search for any cases of murder through this website. A bit macabre, I know. I didn't find any cases by the way.

I too was extremely shocked when I read the mistrust of the first few replies.

I have used Couchsurfing for most of my 102 day trip around Europe, and along the way I have made so many friends. I stayed with 18 different hosts in Europe, and only used a hostel 7 times. Out of that 18 times I didn't have any bad experiences. The only less pleasant one was when my host had friends over and just kept talking to each other in German and left me out of the conversation the entire night. Oh, and I am a 22 year old Singaporean Female Chinese and I was travelling alone the whole 102 days.

The first person I ever met through Couchsurfing was a Mexican architect, we met while surfing with the same host in New York in April 2009. Today we still keep in touch (we have a good conversation once every two weeks or so).

I have also started to host people in my own place in Singapore.

It is such a beautiful experience to trust and have your trust rewarded. Travel, like Couchsurfing, often proves that people are not as cold and mean as you think them to be.

Of course you have to take your own precautions - check out the person's profile and references, and once you have their address and number, let a family member or a close friend know the details so that they know where to look if anything happens.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:29 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
Reputation: 13245
Quote:
Originally Posted by ditzydeezy View Post
.

I have used Couchsurfing for most of my 102 day trip around Europe, and along the way I have made so many friends. I stayed with 18 different hosts in Europe, and only used a hostel 7 times. Out of that 18 times I didn't have any bad experiences.
It is such a beautiful experience to trust and have your trust rewarded. Travel, like Couchsurfing, often proves that people are not as cold and mean as you think them to be.
Well done, Ditzy!
Sounds like your own good vibes were very well reciprocated.
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