Meeting Locals on a One Year Trip Around the World

Why Everyone Should Try Couchsurfing for a More Social Travel Experience

October 16, 2017|Lena
Why everyone should try Couchsurfing for a More Social Travel Experience
I am a big fan of Couchsurfing, as you might have already guessed if you follow my blog. If you don’t know yet what Couchsurfing is and how it works read this post.
 
And our mission for today is to convince you to try it also. How are we going to do that? Simple, we asked fellow travel writers to tell us about their best Couchsurfing experiences. So, grab a coffee or tea and just follow these six people on their favorite Couchsurfing adventures. When you are done why don’t you check out their wonderful blogs!
Couchsurfing Experience from Travel Hacker Girl
I have used Couchsurfing many times. My family hosted people from all over the world when I was a teenager. A family who was cycling through Europe with two little children inspired us to go on our multi-day cycling trip to Austria.
 
When I got older and started travelling I had many amazing hosts myself. My host in Santa Barbara was a kayak instructor and she took us on a tour of the bay. My host in Sydney was a rugby fan and had a spare ticket for me to accompany him to a match.
 
My favorite experience, however, was staying with my host in Kuala Lumpur. His apartment came with a rooftop pool overlooking the Petronas Twin Towers. I spent hundreds of dollars for a similar view in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel just a few days before. And there I was experiencing this amazing infinity pool thanks to my Couchsurfing host. We had a really nice time together up the rooftop sunbathing, drinking cocktails, swimming and just enjoying the view. I think I was very fortunate that he hosted me!
When I had a last minute change of plans and was struggling to find a place to stay in Lübeck, Germany, Anni offered to host me for a few days. She seemed kind and I agreed to stay with her and her boyfriend. Little did I know it would be the best Couchsurfing experience ever.
 
Anni and Dany are an absolutely beautiful couple. She is German and he is Lebanese, they are warm, welcoming, and an absolute blast to be around. You can spend hours just chatting with them about absolutely anything. But what better way to get to know someone, their culture, and be welcomed to their home than enjoy a homemade meal. Both of them are amazing cooks but Dany took the reins of the impromptu in-home cooking class.
 
I’ve always been a fan of Lebanese food but never imagined taking a Lebanese cooking class in Germany, in someone’s home nevertheless. From chopping to dining, to enjoy the delicious food the entire dining experience was amazing. Dany was very patient with me as I cried my way through chopping the onions, but it’s safe to say I can make my own Tabbouleh now. The Tabbouleh was paired with fresh hummus, veggies, and other assorted Lebanese sides that made the combination to die for. The perfect one-of-a-kind introduction to Lebanese food in Germany, who would have thought?
Couchsurfing experience from Beyond the Border
I started Couchsurfing in 2015 and can’t imagine traveling any other way. Despite having stayed with over 30 hosts so far, one of my most memorable surfing experiences was in Side, Turkey.
At the time, I was teaching English in Antalya. Following my internship, I convinced two of my teaching friends to join me and couchsurf for the first time.
 
Founder of a school for disabled children, my host was extremely passionate about his city. He tirelessly drove us throughout Manavgat, showing us Oymapinar Dam, the city of Side, took us on ATV tours, jet skiing and go-karting. From cooking to taking us out for meals, my host had the patience to respond to our endless curiosity for this ancient city.
To be honest, since both of my friends were from rather conservative households, I was a little concerned about bringing them to a stranger’s home. Following this experience, they set up CS profiles and have met with numerous surfers in their respective countries- Iran and Kuwait.
Couchsurfing experience from Trains Planes and Books

I had wanted to try Couchsurfing for a while when the opportunity arose during my first visit to Mexico in 2014. In Aguascalientes, my hosts had just waved another Couchsurfer goodbye but were intrigued when my request mentioned my hometown was Freiburg, Germany. It turned out they wanted to visit the place during a three-month-trip through Europe. Although I stayed for just one night, we got along so well that we decided to meet again. A few months later, we reunited in Freiburg, where we talked about everything and anything in a beer garden downtown until late at night.

When I moved to a small island in Scotland later that year, I found myself in an apartment with two spare rooms (sic!). To give back to the community, but also to battle my increasing loneliness, I hosted many interesting people, but the most memorable of them I met through another Couchsurfer on Shetland: Two travelers from Canada interested in visiting my island. They ended up staying for an entire week filled with shenanigans including sightseeing, hill-rolling, and whiskey.

I planned my first major solo trip, a literary tour of North America, around seeing all of them again. In April 2017, I flew to Vancouver, where one of my friends not only hosted me and another friend but also guided us on adventures to other parts of the area. Due to time restrictions, I couldn’t stay long in Aguascalientes, but my friends gave me tons of recommendations and asked people in other cities to host me, too. I’m already looking forward to meeting them again, maybe to explore another part of the world together!

Couchsurfing Experience of Bren on the Road

During my trip to Norway, I Couchsurfed with a girl in the town of Alta. I had been sleeping my car for that last few nights while chasing the Northern Lights all over the northern coast, and was so happy to finally have a bed and a shower!

My host, Isabel, offered so much more than that. Along with home-cooked dinners and a daily sauna, there was one night where she introduced me to the art of dumpster diving. We headed out to each of Alta’s major supermarkets, where I watched her jump into the dumpsters like a professional secret agent and feel out the garbage bags for wasted food. That night we got a few loaves of bread, all brand new and still wrapped, a dozen apples that were all close to perfect, a few cauliflowers, a whole bag of fresh fruit and vegetables, stacks of gourmet chocolate and yogurt, all for free. We spent the next afternoon using the apples to make apple cake and the cauliflowers to make cauliflower soup (or rather, she did while I sat around and watched). It was such a fitting experience to close my Norway chapter – perhaps even more memorable than the Northern Lights themselves.

Couchsurfing experience from Amellie

One of my most memorable Couchsurfing experiences was in Istanbul, Turkey. I was still a student back then, so I often had to travel on a tight budget with no emergency money available. Unfortunately, my solo travel to Istanbul did not begin as I had hoped. My backpack, which travelled with me for the past 2 weeks, did not arrive with me in Istanbul. I had nothing with me other than my toiletries and I was very worried as I only had few hundred Euros left, which I planned to spend in Jerusalem. 

Fortunately, I was hosted by a very friendly young lady named Halime. She and her two sisters made my visit so memorable and enjoyable. They lent me a few clothes so that I could wash the only pair of clothes that I had. They really made sure I was well-fed and had a great time in Istanbul. We celebrated the New Year together by playing puzzles, drinking lots of tea, and singing Turkish songs. They were my angles that were brought to me during my difficult time!
 
Well, the story did not end here and it actually got even better. One of the Couchsurfers that I contacted, Asli, sent me a message and invited me over for dinner at her house in the Asian side of Istanbul. Her mom cooked delicious Turkish foods. I got to meet her whole family, including her grandfather and we had a great time talking and learning about each other’s cultures. Upon learning that I lost my backpack, her mom gave me a few shirts that were no longer worn by Asli, as well as some new undergarments. I could not believe my eyes when I saw them. I was extremely grateful for their generosity!
 
There are a few things I learned from this experience. The first thing is to always have an emergency fund and a travel insurance in case something happens to you whilst travelling. The second thing is that: travelling light is super enjoyable! I actually don’t need to bring so many things when I travel anymore! I can actually live with only another pair of clothes and toiletries (which happened when I lost my luggage). This was an eye-opener to me. Lastly, trust in the goodness and generosity of people. Don’t take advantage of them, but be sure that you can rely on these strangers wherever you go whenever you are in trouble!
 
 
We hope you had a fun read and that you stay with awesome Couchsurfing hosts on your next trip. And by the way, besides Couchsurfing there are many other ways to travel more socially.
 

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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