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  #1  
Old 30 Jul 2013
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Thumbs up Anyone is using Couchsurfing here?

We have used Couchsurfing around our trip and have had only very good experiences. We Couchsurfed in Indonesia, Timor, New Zealand and a lot in Australia. We have had only very good experiences and good times, found nice and great people and last but not least a room to stay and due to meeting the locals a really inside look into their daily life.

How about you? Tried it? If so where and how was your experience?


Cheers Kerstin and Sascha
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  #2  
Old 30 Jul 2013
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Haven't tried it yet but am keen to when I next travel. A question: do you get any time and room to yourself while couchsurfing or are you pretty much always in other people's company?

I love meeting people and hanging out, but I also need a bit of "me" time, alone as well of else I start getting crotchety
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  #3  
Old 30 Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senno View Post
Haven't tried it yet but am keen to when I next travel. A question: do you get any time and room to yourself while couchsurfing or are you pretty much always in other people's company?

I love meeting people and hanging out, but I also need a bit of "me" time, alone as well of else I start getting crotchety
It can be both, but you can see straight away from the profile they have in CS if they expect you to "socialize" all the time or if the host give you some "freedom" We had both, from only meeting in the evening to full day guided tours around their home town or farm or Outback.

One thing is your profile in CS, this is the first thing a potential host looks at when you send a request. It should be filled, best with some pictures and explaining what you are doing, where you are travelling and how. Most hosts do not even react to empty profiles.

A verified address helps too. Cost you 5USD I think and you get a postcard to your home address with a code and then you are a verified member.

There are some “groups” for Motorcycling or overland travel as well which offer accommodation and sometimes a workshop. In Timor Leste we spend one week in the best Garage there to clean our bike for Australia. In Darwin a guy hosted us while our bike was lost in the AU-Customs system for three weeks. This rescued us, Darwin Cup and Darwin festival, campings, hostels and rooms all booked out, shittiest rooms started 300AUD… So we stayed in a CS house (actually in the garden in our tent) and it was great fun…

In Australia we found out that it works best if you do not try it in big cities, out in the countryside we had a success rate of nearly 100%, in the big cities we gave up. For example in Melbourne it was nearly impossible to CS. If you are a host there you get several hundred requests a week…
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  #4  
Old 30 Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senno View Post
Haven't tried it yet but am keen to when I next travel. A question: do you get any time and room to yourself while couchsurfing or are you pretty much always in other people's company?

I love meeting people and hanging out, but I also need a bit of "me" time, alone as well of else I start getting crotchety
I have hosted a few riders who were doing a tour of Europe.
They have a room for themselves (the attic). I understand that during a long trip on a motorcycle, you need to be left alone in your room sometimes, just to relax.
But if they want to discover the countryside, I will gladly take my bike and show them around if I have time.

I view myself as a free hotel with tools for your bike, and usually a free meal. And


If you're going to a big city with a lot of tourists, you will be 1 person among a lot of other. If you go to a little village in the middlle of nowhere, you will probably be the only couchsurfer of the year, and your host is more likely to treat you as a friend.

I host around 2-3 people a year on average. I try to make their stay as pleasant as possible.
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  #5  
Old 25 Nov 2013
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couchsurfers exp

i couchsurfed through the website as much as i could in my 5 months (cut short from forever) trip about europe.
i diddnt have any plan of where to go or what to see, and i was on my own. i'd couchsurfed in australia the year before.
pretty much my trip was centred around riding through the countries, then landing in a city, checking what was going on on couchsurfers in the area, then getting in on them.
went to many a meet, frequently got myslef a last minute place to stay from that, and ended up on many of an adventure from the people i met there.

couchsurfing, its not just a place to sleep for the night. its full of groovy people.
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  #6  
Old 26 Nov 2013
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I've surfed about a dozen times and hosted people probably ten times or so. Great experiences!

The only trouble I have is that my way of traveling is very spur-of-the-moment, so I don't often know where I'll be stopping for the night. As you can imagine, most people like to have a little advance notice, and unfortunately, most of my couch surfing requests are sent out last-minute. That said, I've still had some wonderful hosts.

The only moderately negative experience I've had is a young couple who stayed with me a few years ago, they were carrying a ton of stuff--backpacks, a suitcase, and even a clothes basket full of things. I think they were essentially living on the road. They had asked to stay two nights, and after those two nights they asked to stay longer.

They were quiet and pleasant while they were at my place, but I don't think they were using couch surfing as intended. I declined their request to stay longer.

Had people from England, Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, and a few from the US stay with me.

Jamie
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  #7  
Old 26 Nov 2013
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Yeah, we host and surf.
Most of the time we go to hostels in (big) cities and CS out of the cities.

We had some extremely great positively experiences (staying with the mayor of an Island, anyone?) but sometimes also moderate to "bad" experiences, but that's always the 'risk' you take. I just think it's not a good idea to arrive when you're not in the mood or too tired to have some intrapersonal conversations etc. The only bad experiences are of the "freeloader" types.
Most of the time we stay 2 nights at a host, is perfect for us and then we go.
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  #8  
Old 27 Nov 2013
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That's good information guys! I never considered CS as I thought it was more for backpackers.

But reading your feedback I may register and try to use it for our next big trip next spring/summer.

Cheers.
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  #9  
Old 27 Nov 2013
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Originally Posted by Oo-SEB-oO View Post
...sometimes also moderate to "bad" experiences, but that's always the 'risk' you take.
Well, you gotta tell us.

Jamie
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  #10  
Old 27 Nov 2013
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I use it only to meet up with locals - not to stay or host. This works really well, but people are often slow to reply. In the last month I have meet up with two interesting people and had a meal with them, followed by other drinks and meals at a later date.

Its a nice way to meet locals when visiting somewhere - not just as a way to sleep for free...
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  #11  
Old 27 Nov 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Z View Post
Well, you gotta tell us.

Jamie
Yeah, you're right...

Well we had one strange experience when surfing and one bad experience when hosting.

The strange one when we surfed,was in Sweden in a small town all way up north. The guy was just "socially distorted", he never saw anybody we think and any conversation resulted in him answering yes or no without anything further. It's a long story but let's just say it was really a strange guy.

The bad one was a guy (German) who stayed with us for 3 nights and he was the kind of freeloader. He had been travelling to some interesting places (for us at least) so we immediately said yes to his request, but informing him that at that time we were not comfortable letting strangers stay in our place when we were not there. So he had to get up with us and leave in the morning when we went to work. This was a first problem, I really had to drag him out of the bed in the morning as he was using my internet untill 4am to try to find other CS places to sleep after ours. He told us also that he had no money and he could only travel through CS and when hosts were giving him some money so he could continue. Now don't get me wrong, we've been travelling all over the world but this guy was just not how we think about things. He emptied our fridge, food and beverages. It appeared that he had been to Belorussia (the reason why we said he could stay) but it was a long time ago with school... so no usefull info for us there. This guy is also a long story but after him we denied every request for more than 6 months because we were done with CS for a while. Of course we will provide a free place to crash but we expect some elementary politeness and education and he clearly had none whatsoever.

CS is a wonderfull tool and community, we've been surfing and hosting for more than 40 times now and we had 90% of good to really good experiences. But it's time consuming to read profiles and ask people to stay. We're picky and since we've been picky we never had anything but really good experiences. It all depends also on what you want to get out of the CS thing. We're not party people, we're not 18 anymore, and we're not freeloaders so yes, we're picky but this resulted in some really great places and great meetings and friendships that are lasting untill this day. We even went to a girl that we hosted in Belgium to her place in Moscow and her mom's place in St Petersburg and regularly we are sending mails to eachother, so yes, CS is a great place, but just beware of the freeloaders and be picky when surfing and when hosting....
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  #12  
Old 9 Dec 2013
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I've been a CouchSurfer for several years, as well as (the sole) HU community member in Sri Lanka. Recently I moved my tents to Cambodia, and am now living in Siem Reap, the hometown of the famous Temples of Angkor.

I've hosted a few times, but for 'cheap' travel countries like most of south and southeast Asia, the hosting aspect of CS is not the prime goal. However, on a bike it may take a different perspective: security and convenience.

While I've hosted a few times, I've had more request from bikers on a large or RTW tour to keep luggage and equipment in my place (like bags of warm clothing, not needed in Sri Lanka), as well as offering a place to work on their bikes.

On the countryside, it's usually easier to find a private place, while not so necessary. In cities, however, most cheap places don't have a secure parking for the bikes, and leaving them in the street is often not a good option. Then, using a CS host, not for sleeping, but for parking the bike, storing some excess equipment for a few days/weeks, and having a source of information, is often invaluable.

Perhaps it would be a valuable idea of starting a source of information on HU for resident bikers to make themselves known to offer CS-like services to visiting bikers.
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  #13  
Old 12 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senno View Post
Haven't tried it yet but am keen to when I next travel. A question: do you get any time and room to yourself while couchsurfing or are you pretty much always in other people's company?

I love meeting people and hanging out, but I also need a bit of "me" time, alone as well of else I start getting crotchety

Hey there, I've only done it a few times, but each time my experience was that there was little 'me' time. This I didn't mind so much as I was travelling alone anyway, so had plenty of alone time on the road ... and so when I got someone it was actaully very nice to have the company.

I find also, that the people hosting you, are usually types who want the company, and want to take you out and show you around, and might be a little offended if you don't want this to.

But as I say, these are just my experiences.
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  #14  
Old 6 Jan 2014
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Surfed around half a dozen times in many parts of the world but mostly I prefer it just to meet up with locals and have a chance to socialise with them in their surroundings. I would say all of my experiences have been positive and CS is very useful for remote or strange parts of the world, and places like Qatar or Dubai, where accommodation is boring, expensive and with budget options severely lacking. Again, if you spam loads of hosts and just want a free bed, you probably won't get much from the experience. I try to meticulously search out hosts that I think I'll have something in common with. Being hosted by someone you have no point of conversation with is just a bit awkward really.

Personally, I prefer the idea of meeting up and then me having the freedom of going back to my own room and not having the feeling that I'm disturbing others, as I have odd sleeping patterns. I also dislike that feeling when you just feel like sitting around yet dossing about in another persons house reminds me of being a teenager and having my parents telling me to get a job! Still, CS is very useful but has been superseded by Workaway or HelpX for me personally.

I much prefer Workaway because you get much more involved in things, the stay is of course usually much longer, at least a week but possible up to several months or longer, and so you really get a feeling of the area and getting to know your hosts makes it very special. I did workaway a few times in Mexico and it was just fantastic, living with a rural Mexican family really gave me a big slice of Mexico. I think the concept of exchange is also much more suited to me, because I don't feel so much like I'm freeloading, maybe I am just a bit paranoid but I dislike the ambiguity that sometimes comes with CS.
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  #15  
Old 10 Jan 2014
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We used Couchsurfers in Normandy and it was a great experience.

A spin off of Couchsurfers is Airbnb.com which is excellent.

We have used this many times all over Europe and it is a great way to travel around and its cheap.

Steve
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