So for those of you who really really really thought you couldn’t afford to go anywhere, you still *might* be able to…now there’s even a site for people who have a couch and will travel. It’s free housing for free housing. I was hoping to say good bye to sofa surfing after I turned 30…but sadly, that premise was based on the idea that I’d have gotten somewhere with my career…that I’d have savings…that I’d be traveling to luxurious locales with fancy sexy people where the drinks were free and came with umbrellas…well, not so much.
I sofa surfed my way across the country seven years ago…but I used my social network to find the crash pads and never stayed in one place for more than a few nights. It’s doesn’t get any cheaper than free and free lodging makes visiting other cities affordable and possible-and now that the couchsurfing.com site is global, you can even visit other countries.
Another added bonus that the author touches on is that when you’re staying in homes rather than hotels, you get to mix and mingle with the natives more. You get to see how people live and, if you’re lucky, your local host might also play tour guide for a bit. It also gives you a chance to return the favor when they knock on your door with their sleeping bag in hand. I had a friend of a friend of my mom’s friend from Amsterdam stay with me two years ago. At first I was kind of freaked out by the whole thing because she was a complete stranger and, to be honest, I don’t have many slumber parties with complete stranger-euro types that often. But she arrived, we went out for martinis and we totally hit it off. I spent two days showing her around Manhattan and loved it. We still email every now and again and I know have a safe and clean place to crash in Amsterdam…which is awesome…because the last time I was there I slept in a bunk room with 42 other international travelers at the Flying Pig…and I felt neither safe nor clean. Anyhoo, it certainly takes some bravery, but couchsurfing.com sounds like a great option for people who have exhausted their other options, sofa or otherwise. Happy trails!