Have you ever couchsurfed somewhere? The couchsurfing website (www.couchsurfing.com) was built in 2004 allowing people from all over the world to host and be hosted by someone on this someone’s couch around the globe. If you don’t have a couch, you can take this visitor to go sightseeing, have a coffee, or simply just give him the tips that only locals know.
The idea of couchsurfing came from the North-American guy named Casey Fenton who was going to Iceland and did not want to do the usual process: look for a hotel or hostel and an agency that offers city tours. So, he emailed 150 students from a university of Iceland to see if anyone could host him. Surprisingly, around 50 students answered YES. When he came back from his trip, he joined two friends and built the “couch accommodation network”. This social network is not only to offer or receive a couchsurfing but it is also to exchange knowledge, culture, and experiences. The mission of couchsurfing is to spread solidarity and one of the rules is that it is non-profit.
If you want to join this network, you can register your profile and preferences in the site and you can be either a “couchsurfer” or a “couchsurfee”.
It is very interesting how this idea have been successful as the majority of people had great feedbacks from their past experiences. You can get free accommodation all over the world and cultural lessons. You will also receive feedback about your host and vice-versa. 99,6% of the people who couchsurfed through Couchsurfing.com had positive past experiences. Today, Couchsurfing.com has more than 1,7 million members and more than 420.000 couches available at the moment in more than 200 countries.
Couchsurfing.com has been very successful for many reasons. First, there is demand and supply; in other words, there are people who would like to show and teach about their culture and meet people from other places and there are people who would like to stay with locals, feel the local culture and also save money on accommodations. Couchsurfing.com filters down the profile of your potential visitor and you can choose whether or not to host this person and the visitor can also choose his host beforehand based on his profile and feedbacks.
The web 2.0 and Couchsurfing network allowed many people to travel to new countries, meet new people, and exchange experiences at a very low cost.
So… now… are interested on trying?