Provided you haven’t been living under a rock for the most of the internet generation, I’m sure a few of my ideas you’’ll have already discovered. However that won’t stop my rambling.
I had my first couchsurfing experience this year and boy did it come at the perfect time. Me and my girlfriend had just finished a placement with a workaway host and were quite excited to be going back to the UK for a short while. I was broke, we’d be on the road for more than 2 months and to top it off i’d tore my favourite pair of trousers whilst cycling. It was Wednesday, we were leaving the family tomorrow and catching a coach home from Amsterdam on the coming Monday – The length of a country… and 4 days to do it in. The time wasn’t the problem, infact thanks to the Netherlands fantastic railway system, we had too much of it and no accommodation.
In a state of panic I’d remembered the website my buddy recommended to me incase I needed somewhere to stay, I jumped on my laptop and applied for maybe 20 different hosts. Little did I know, couchsurfing is a huge social networking site and turns out everyone and their partner are trying to stay somewhere near Amsterdam for free over a weekend (Pfff!?). In the end I found a magical man who lived in the city of Almere (30kms from Amsterdam) who was prepared to hide his key for us to enter his home while at work, and settle in with maybe 4 hours before his return. I was stunned that a single man living in what I could only describe as a showhome overlooking the canal would be so open with his home and all his possessions. He cooked us a fantastic Pea and Ham soup and in return we done a Mexican fajitas/tacos night the following eve. He had some magnificent stories of his couchsurfing travels and guests, we were truly blown away by this man’s generosity. He even let us borrow an extra bike so we could both cycle the next day. Did I mention, all of it for free!??
Faith restored in humanity. This was one of a few occasions where i’d discovered certain people do still have a sense of magnanimity.
So, my advice to you, if you haven’t heard of this fantastic website then go sign up now. It’s free and easy, just like facebook. If you wish to go somewhere but hotels and hostels seem a little pricey, check out this site with enough time in advance so that you’re not in panic mode like I was. Remember, most hosts don’t want more than 1 traveller but usually 2 can work. YOU MUST BE INTERESTING (which leaves me wondering how it worked in my situation??) people are not going to open their home for someone who will stay locked in the bedroom or out all day! Have some courtesy and bring a few beers round you can talk over!
Good luck and have fun X