CouchSurfing is the world’s largest social travel network, connecting a global community of travelers, adventure seekers, and lifelong learners who are dedicated to sharing their cultures, hospitality, and authentic experiences. Members use the website to arrange offline interactions like a shared meal, an overnight stay, or a hike. There are currently more than 4 million CouchSurfers, in 86,000 cities, speaking 366 languages.

If you CouchSurf, it means you can a) host someone at your place for an overnight visit; b) meet up with a traveler visiting your city for a meal or sightseeing; c) meet locals in your area for activities such as dancing, language classes, themed dinners, etc.; or d) stay or meet with people when you travel to a different city.

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One of my friends met his wife at a CouchSurfing meet up in New Delhi!

Why CouchSurf?

It’s free. There is no cost to join or use the website. Hosts provide room, board or just company completely free of charge.  You can save a lot of money on hotels, tour guides and taxis during while traveling.

It’s safe. Specially for female travelers, imagine having a local resource who can help you navigate the public areas, transportation system and culture. As long as the members have a complete profile, with verification, references and public reviews, you can consider them safe users.  Take a look at the photos, spend some time on their profile page and communicate with your host via email and Skype. Also, it helps if women stay with other women or couples.

It allows you to experience the authentic way of life as oppose to a touristy packaged experience. If you love to travel and experience new cultures, CouchSurfing can help you learn about how people truly live, what they eat in their homes and where they like to hang out on the weekends.

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There are 15,440 CouchSurfers in Rio who can show you a good time in their beautiful city

Hosting people gives you the chance to be cool and make friends from around the world. Heather O’Brien, Media Projects Manager at CouchSurfing, International says that people who are shy can really get out of their comfort zone and develop their interpersonal communication skills by interacting with total strangers. It is definitely a skill that takes some practice and CouchSurfing can help you master it.

It allows you to grow as an individual. When you allow yourself to experience something completely different, in a new place, with new people, you learn more about ourselves and grow as individuals. It gives you a chance to develop virtues such as empathy, flexibility and patience.

It allows the world to become a better place. The mission of CouchSurfing to envision a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. By creating meaningful relationships across cultures, you inherently have dialogue that leads to peace and harmony across the globe. You will never attack your friends, will you?

It makes life more interesting. If you are feeling alone, log on to the website and start communicating with people. Even if you cannot travel due to social or financial barriers, you can still live vicariously by letting the world come to you. hosting people in their own cities.

I have been a member of CouchSurfing for couple of years and have hosted people at my home for overnight stays, as well as met up with hosts in other countries. My experience has always been enriching, and I encourage you to try it for yourself.

If you have your own CouchSurfing story to share, please write below…