While traveling abroad in Prague I met a random logger from Canada on a pub crawl. Ended up being wicked cool and we headed out for some Bonnie Tyler dancing afterwards. Turns out he was traveling all around Europe with no plan and no place to stay. The thought of that has always made me cringe, until he told me how he was making it all happen. There’s a new online networking site (and when I saw new, I mean new to me) called the COUCHSURFING PROJECT. It reminds me of a mix between facebook and ebay… Basically you set up a profile with a bunch of info about you, including where you live, and then post it. Travelers all over the world can search for hosts in the cities they’re going to, and see if their couch is free to surf. Not only is it a free place to crash, but a great way to meet interesting people all over the world who can show you around, or atleast give you tips, about their hometown.
I know some of you are probably skeptical about the safety thing and may not be quite as trusting as I am. If that’s the case, there’s also ways to get ‘verified’ where Couchsurfing confirms who you are to make sure it’s legit, and ways to leave feedback for travelers you’ve hosted, or folks who have hosted you (kinda like feedback on ebay). You can always turn down a request for someone to surf your couch, and for bigger cities you have a bunch of couches to choose from. And if you still don’t feel safe, well then I guess this one might not change your life after all.
Next week I’m headed to Boone for my first set of grad classes at App. State and rather than spending $200 on a dorm room for the week I checked out couchsurfing and found someone willing to host me. And the pup can come too! I love it 🙂