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Couch Surfing Anyone?

Discussion in 'Hotels' started by PrincessTigerLily, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. Has anyone heard of Couch Surfing? There used to be a Website by this name--I assume it still exists, though I haven't really looked for it in years. Anyway, the concept was that you met people on this Website and linked up to host them when they traveled. It's a great way of meeting people and having a very local experience as well as saving money on accommodation.

    Has anyone tried this kind of accommodation before while traveling to India? How about in general?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, again!

    Honestly, I've never tried couch surfing. I do know that some travellers, especially backpackers have had success with it. Like you said, there's a website solely dedicated for couch surfing. I have read numerous success stories of couch surfers. Even some stories in India although there's not much I was able to find. Of course, you cannot rule out the horror stories as well. I think every type of accommodation still can go wrong, the same goes with couch surfing.

    The key is to find a host with good reputation already. It's also a plus if the host also travels avidly, domestic or international. This way, you'd know that he or she really has a heart for fellow travellers. The good thing is, couch surfing websites do have these kinds of proofs. You'll see remarks of past hosts about past couch surfers. And you can also find reviews about hosts from couch surfers. So make sure that you read through all these remarks before going through with the plan.

    Aside from that, for female travellers, it's safer to couch surf with families instead of independent males. This way, you have some guarantee of your security. I remember reading one blog about a woman who couch surfed with a family in Varanasi. The family owns a Guest House and the son is also a travel agent. In a way, these are signs that the family is really into travelling, hence they opened their home to a foreigner for couch surfing. Anyway, despite her short stay in the house, she never encountered any problem with the family at all.

    I guess the main point of couch surfing is to truly immerse yourself in the culture of the host family. As they have lived in the country for a long time, they do know the ins and outs of everything there. Food is more authentic as well when it's served at home. The stories of these hosts are also worth listening to. Of course, watching how they live their everyday life? That's just priceless. And maybe that's why a lot of people venture into couch surfing.

    If you're not that brave for couch surfing, there's an alternative for you, staying in guest houses. Over time, many families in India have ventured into the business of guest houses as well. And it can provide you with the same experience too, like couch surfing, where you get to interact with the family, taste authentic Indian home made food and watch them live their everyday lives. The rate for staying in guest houses are cheaper as well than staying in hotels.

    I hope this helps!

  3. These are definitely good thoughts to keep in mind. You say you never tried couch surfing, but have you tried the guest house experience? It sounds quite similar to B&B's, which are very popular throughout the UK.

    One of the things I enjoyed most about traveling in England and Ireland was staying in B&B's because you really did get to know local people, taste their home cooking, and pretty much had a professional tour guide of the town/city at your fingertips. Owners of these small businesses are often so much more friendly than staff at big chain hotels as well.

    I think that a guest house would overall be less of a risk than the couch surfing. But definitely still a more personal experience than a usual hotel. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!