The wonderful world of Couchsurfing.com
According to my Couchsurfing.com profile I hosted 11 travelers and I have been a guest 15 times already now as a traveler. The concept of couchsurfing is just lovely: I ask a local to stay at their place for a night or a couple of nights (or the other way around, when I am at home), I will be part of their lives for that time and I will feel at home after some long days and nights on the road.
It is my job to ask nicely and personally to hosts if they are available to offer me a place to stay, and they are completely free to deny the request or to accept. When a host accept my request, the real fun starts, because I have no clue where I will end up and vice versa.
During my current bike tour I have used couchsurfing already 3 times: in Metz, Dijon and Clermont-Ferrand, and it’s been all completely different by the people I met and the place where I stayed. I’ve slept on a matras on the floor, on the actual couch and in a private bed room. I just never know where I will sleep, but it’s safe and it is nice to have people around me, and let’s not forget about the opportunity to sleep in dry conditions and to shower…
The best thing is that it is not a hotel, but a real chance to be with locals. They invite you to their favorite bars, to party’s, they show you the city highlights through their eyes and not through those of tripadvisor.
In Metz I got a nice city tour followed up by a long beer session with lots of friends of the host, in Dijon I went indoor climbing and in Clermont-Ferrand we just walked around.
By writing and receiving references, I built up a stronger profile. New potential guests or hosts can read about the experiences of former hosts or travelers which helps to decide the next time to accept or to deny a request. I am responsible for my own success.
I will use Couchsurfing probably a couple more times in Spain and Portugal and I am looking forward to meet so many different people, and one thing I know for sure: they all have their heart on the right place!