Couch Surfing: Yea or Nay?

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My vote is nay. Let me tell you why.

Sometimes it doesn’t work out. My Canadian friend and I were on a tight budget going to Norway, and we knew that Norway was one of the most expensive countries in the world. Best way to solve that? Stay for free! She and I spent days on the official Couch Surfing website talking to people.  Once we found someone we thought would be ok, the two of us researched, talked to, Facebook stalked, and googled this Guy before agreeing to bunk on his couch. Guy seemed a little socially awkward, but who isn’t? When she and I arrived at his place in Oslo, all seemed ok. He was quiet, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The Canadian had a friend from Oslo who invited us all over to his place to hang out. After hanging out with some other locals and talking with them, she and I made the decision not to surf with Guy. It didn’t work out. She and I bunked at her friends place that night and retrieved our things from Guy’s house the next morning.

What do you do when it doesn’t work out? Pray. Once Canadian and I decided we weren’t going to stay at Guy’s, we were homeless in a foreign country. She and I did not have a place to keep our belongings, so we took them with us. We wandered aimlessly around Oslo for hours and hours taking pictures, happening upon points of interest, and wondering where in the world we were going to sleep that night. When it doesn’t work out, pull your resources. Canadian’s friend found us a place to stay for a few nights, and we were able to get enough money to book a hostel on the last night. God had our backs on this one.

It isn’t for everyone. Couch surfing is a great way to meet people! She and I had a great time hanging out with the kind people who took us in, gave us shelter, and fed us local food, but if that isn’t your scene, don’t do it. Personally, I love hanging out with locals and getting their perspectives on the city, but I know not everyone does. Guy should not be offering his house a place to crash. He is too much an awkward person to house travelers and entertain them.

There is nothing like having my own bed to crawl into at night. Even though I love meeting people from other countries and cultures, I need my own bed. I must have space to put my stuff, and I like to tune other people out at the end of the night. The one night I spent in a Hotel in Tromso was the most glorious night of the entire trip. I walked into the room, threw my pack on the floor, and sprawled out on the bed. I knew that night I would sleep peacefully. Hostels are different though, and I can stay in them. They have become my main (and now official) form or travel stay.

In the end, Canadian and I did not like Guy. He was more socially awkward than Facebook let on, and we could not crash at his place for the duration of the trip. Walking through Oslo with our packs liked to have killed us. By the end of that day, Canadian and I were running on eight hours of sleep in forty-eight hours; we had been rained on, and walked miles around Oslo. She and I decided that even though we love to meet people from other parts of the world, Couch Surfing isn’t for us. We love beds too much. The two of us will probably never Couch Surf again unless it is at the house of a person that we know well. This is NOT to convince people that Couch Surfing is not a great way to travel and experience a new place. It really is. Couch Surfing just isn’t for us.

Note for my family and friends:: Hey! I’m alive! I learned a lesson and don’t worry I won’t do it again!

About travelmorgantravel

Morgan is a travel blogger and columnist who loves chocolate and a cheesy rom-com. She spends her time reading self-help books in attempt to reassure herself that she isn't all that crazy. Follow her on her wild adventures around the world.

0 Comments

  1. We’ve been couch surfing hosts dozens of times and I do agree with you – if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. This kind of thing only works when everyone involved is totally on board. Have you tried Help Exchange? Similar deal, but you give a bit of work for your bed and food.

  2. couchsurfinghq

    You are right, Couchsurfing isn’t for everyone.

    For those of you who are not sure if Couchsurfing is for you or not, read the Couchsurfing Safety Tips:
    https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/safety. They may help you make that decision.

    Most importantly, take your safety seriously and trust your instincts!

  3. Jen

    I haven’t couchsurfed yet (on the fence), but looking at all of the shirtless bathroom mirror pictures brings me back to the days of Myspace. Wait, is that considered vintage now?

  4. the melbourne local

    Heya Morgan, thanks for the blog follow! Interesting question re couch surfing — I’ve travelled a lot as a solo girl and couchsurfed a number of times (including with single guys) as well as hosted at my place in Melbourne. I think the key is to do your research, trust your instincts and make sure you have the time and space for the experience. If you’re using CS simply as a way to get free accommodation, I don’t think you’ll get much out of the experience. As a cultural exchange, it can be fantastic. Happy travels!

  5. Exactly! Research, instinct, and experience! Those are the things that make for a good couchsurfing expereince. Unfortunately for me, the latter of those three wasn’t as good as it could have been. It’s a shame that such a rotten apple ruined it for my friend and I, but there isnt much you can do about that. Just roll with the punches and carry on. 🙂

  6. Jen

    I referenced Myspace in class the other day (to a 7th grade class) and I might as well have been talking about AOL/AIM. And yeah, that’s the plan!

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What are your thoughts?