CouchSurfing is a website where you contact locals by requesting to stay at their house/apartment by crashing on their couches, floor or spare room for free. It sure is an interesting way to accommodate you cheaply while traveling and as well get to know the place very well through a local’s point of view.
In Europe CouchSurfing became huge because of the costly hostels and hotels in here and as well as years passed, travellers and tourists are becoming more interested in cultures and local living when they visit new places hence Couchsurfing becoming a huge success in here because you get to live with a local who can show you around or tell you what most locals do in one certain place.
My buddy and I decided to do a European backpacking trip together, and we decided that our first stop should be Paris, France. We weren’t sure where to stay, and our budgets weren’t much as he was a student and I was planning a three-month long trip, and my budget was meant to last till I come back home.
When I was researching for cheap accommodations in Paris, I only found expensive hostels and was frustrated to find other cheaper options. It was hard for us to find anything cheaper since we were going to be there during the Christmas week until New Years – which was obviously the most expensive time to be anywhere – and even though we try so hard to look for an alternative, it was unsuccessful. Except one amazing night when I stumbled upon few bloggers who are promoting CouchSurfing and I was intrigued and the more I researched about it, the more I like the idea until I was sold and decided to make an account; I showed it to my friend, and we decided to give it a go and started a series of requests from several people who have good reviews and mostly positive feedbacks and ask if we can crash their couches.
I also posted on the Paris group asking people if they have a space for two and several people replied to it and one of it was Quentin, our soon to be Parisian CouchSurfing host! We agreed to stay at his place, and everything was set, we will be in Paris for a week pretty much for free! It was exciting for us since we both never did such thing ever before. Quentin was helpful and gave us clear instructions on how to get to his place from the airport, and we were just simply astonished by how simple this website works.
It also got really exciting because there are tons of things to do in Paris I would love to experience!
La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre. Paris, France.
We arrived in Paris and found our way to Quentin’s place with no problem just by following his instructions. He lived just in the city’s center and was rather close to pretty much everything! I was personally a little bit nervous about meeting him and his roomies but I always have a backup plan and told my friend that if he is a creep, I’ll kick his balls and we run for our lives. However, I was so wrong!
He was an normal dude who is very nice and a pretty damn good cook. He is also a chef as I am so we got along pretty well. He filled his fridge with several French kinds of cheese and got some wine, and we bought a baguette from his neighboring bakery, and we all ate in his living room like good old friends.
Quentin made sure that he had time to show us around and brought us to several places in Paris and the most memorable time for me was when he brought us to this one wine bar place where they sell French wines which are produced just around Paris. It was an amazing experience because there were no signs of tourists in that bar and we felt like we were locals and had a great time chatting with new found friends.
The wine bar Quentin brough us to have few drinks.
Staying with a local was an absolute bliss because they show you the different part of that place. In our case, Quentin was a good host and gave us his time and as well knowledge about the city. Our Paris experience was far from what I imagined it to be and we had a blast. It was certainly a bit scary in the beginning but when researched properly and with a little dash of positivity, normally it goes accordingly.
I had been in contact with Quentin through facebook months before we even met so I have sort of known him at least a little bit before we arrive at his doorsteps. Our CouchSurfing in Paris experience was overall good and I got nothing else to say but positive things. We also CouchSurfed on other cities and had positive results as well. My friend, who was studying Documentary Photography, actually got so fond of it that he went around Wales and photographed few CouchSurfers’s couches where they welcome travellers to sleep on for few nights.
I on the other hand found amazing friends through this website! They are usually arranging meetings on every city where there is a good amount of members and from there I met several amazing people who became few of my good friends over the years! When I get the chance to travel for a while again I certainly go surf people’s couches and use this website to find amazing locals to meet and get to know.
Tip: If you’re interested on surfing someone’s couch through this website, make sure you verify yourself and as well try to get as much reviews as you can before looking for a host. For instance, join meetins arranged by CouchSurfers around the city you live in and meet people or host couchsurfers yourself. You can always ask for their contacts like facebook and get to know few people and later you can kindly ask them if you can exchange references with them. Most hosts or couchsurfers will not take you if you do not have any references or worse, negative references. In addition, do not ask hosts who does not have any reference at all! Make sure you go for those who have at least few good references.
Looking for another interesting experience I had? Check our my Malta and Gozo experience and tell me what you think about it!
Couchsurfing is just one of the many ways you could meet locals on the destination you wish to visit. There are tons of ways to meet new friends on the road but so far CouchSurfing is possibly the cheapest I’ve personally experience – since it is for free! Of course you need to be wary when you look for hosts and always trust your instincts.
YOU MIGHT ENJOY THESE TOO
- Couchsurfing: How to make local friends without staying over
- The Time I Couchsurfed With Male Hosts
- Parisian New Years Eve of 2012 and The After Effect
- The Ultimate Guide on How to Surivive a Long Flight
- A Weekend in Paris
- Two Days in Paris: Discovering The Top Views
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