Why Couchsurfing Is NOT For Me

Note from Editors: In view of the current situation, please avoid all unnecessary travel and try to stay home. Don’t worry, like all things, it will end at some point and you’ll be able to travel again. In the meantime, check out what you can do while staying at home.

Today, we would like to introduce you to The Guy- the author and creator of Flights And Frustration. He is going to share with us his opinion on Couchsurfing– the world’s largest social travel network, connecting a global community of travelers. We find this guest post extremely interesting and honest. The Guy has recently released his new book “A Brief Introduction To Airline Frequent Flyer Schemes And Which Ones You Should Join” which is available now on Kindle. Hope you will enjoy reading it and if you want to follow his travel adventure, find him on Twitter or read his blog.

All photos in the article have been provided by eTramping.com and their choice and order is random.

Couchsurfing is not for me

Couchsurfing is not for me. There I’ve said it can I sit down now? Shock, horror as I hear you gasp reading this. Who is this travel blogger who dismisses the very concept of couchsurfing? Well sorry to disappoint you. And no I am not saying people shouldn’t go couchsurfing, it is just that I don’t want to.

For those of you who don’t know me I’m a traveller. A very frequent traveller. Since May 2000 there has hardly been a month since when I haven’t got on a plane and flew off to some foreign land. In 1993 I went inter-railing around Europe for a month so I’ve experience of backpacking too.

I’ll be honest with you as well, I’ve never tried couchsurfing! That’s right, I’ve never tried it and nor am I keen to in the near future. So let me put this in context for you as to why I’m not keen, even though over 10 million couches were “surfed” in 2012.

People’s houses

The concept involves staying in people’s houses. Now that can be a good thing or a bad thing. On the plus side if it is an amazing house, with lots of room, a pool, a jacuzzi and spa treatments then yes I’m interested. But lets face it, you are relying on the luck of the draw here. You might be in a real pigsty of a place. A real hell hole. Dirty laundry lying everywhere, unwashed dishes clutter the sink. Razor blades at the bottom of the shower (yes I’ve seen it) and so on.

a girl is sitting on the sofa
Agness’s apartment in Dongguan, China where she hosted some travel bloggers.

I’ve been there, done that. I was a student and loved my life as a student. I didn’t like it though when I was visiting friends and seeing the mess they and their house mates made. I could get lucky and stay with someone who has a beautiful home. Then again they may have OCD about cleanliness and if I so much as drop a crumb that could send them into the loony zone.

Bad habits

Couchsurfing sells itself with the phrase of “friends you haven’t met yet”. All very good, I might make some great friends. I truly believe in mixing with different cultures and it is the way to learn about them. However you risk being stuck overnight, or even worse many nights in a house/flat/bedsit with some complete delinquent.

They may be an alcoholic. Don’t get me wrong, I like a drink or two but I’m not a big drinker. If I go months without a drink I don’t even notice it. However what if my host is keen on a tipple. What if they can’t control themselves when they are drunk? Do they have a temper? Will they shout? Will they get angry or violent? Will they run down the street naked and upset the neighbors? Who knows, because with couchsurfing these are people I haven’t met yet.

Personality issues

Not only is there the potential for drug or alcohol problems, what about personal issues when couchsurfing? What if you just don’t get on Maybe they are creepy, really dull and boring? Maybe they are these people who just talk and talk and talk. People who talk and talk are not a bad thing; unless they are boring. Imagine being stuck couchsurfing with a host who tires you out because you have to listen to them all the time. No time to send that text, call a loved one or check your e-mails. No time because your couchsurfing host just won’t shut up! Either that or they may have bi-polar disorder.

Norwegian beer
 Norwegian beer Agness was offered during her couchsurfing trip in Oslo.

Couchsurfing or sex-surfing

Readers of Etramping will be familiar with Agness’ excellent and some what controversial article on Couchsurfing or Sexsurfing. She shared her experiences of how she noticed some people use (abuse) the great concept of couchsurfing to get laid. Then, if you read the responses in the comments section of the article you actually see people admit to it. It goes on. You are left asking “Is couchsurfing safe?”

Now Agness is a beautiful, blonde, young Polish girl. Little wonder she gets advances. I am a middle aged old fart. Even still it doesn’t mean that the morals of the host may not be under question. I’m also recently married so my days of looking for a partner have now concluded.

You could take the supposed safe route and look to stay with people of the same sex or people in a couple already. I’m sure that in 99% of cases with couchsurfing this is all honest and fair. Yet what of a maybe 1% where things are not quite as they seem. Do I want to take that risk?

Privacy

How much privacy will you get with couchsurfing? I’m a relatively reserved Englishman. I’m not loud, brash or overly outgoing. I like company I’m comfortable with and I also like time alone. With couchsurfing will I get my own room so I can close the door and spend time alone? Will I feel really awkward and rude? Here are these very kind people offering me a place to stay, for free in their home. Yet I’m really tired, it was a very long flight. I’m also not feeling well and just want a rest. Is it rude of me to say goodnight so early to my couchsurfing host?

Chinese guy cooking spaghetti
Agness and her Chinese host cooking spaghetti together in Berlin

Or even worse, what if I don’t get my own room? What if I really am surfing on the sofa. I can’t sleep until everyone else leaves the room and goes to bed. What if my host or their flat mate wants to stay up all night? Maybe I’m in Thailand and they want to watch English Premier League at 3 o’clock in the morning? Maybe I’m in Australia and they want to watch an NFL match live on TV?

Overstays

Okay I’ve addressed some of the issues above. What if you mix them all together? Let’s say that you agreed to couchsurf with your host for three nights. Within an hour of arrival you both realise that you just don’t get on. You know what I mean. There is a tension brewing under the surface where you are each thinking “You’re a freak” or “I hate you”.Truth is you just want to get out of there. Can you? You agreed to stay the 3 nights. Maybe I’m missing reading the signals? Is it rude of me to leave? Where should I go? I haven’t booked anything.

Couchsurfing is not for comfort

So you are going couchsurfing, great. What do you think of the couch? If it is a brand new sofa bed then you’ve done well, luxury in the making. But let’s say it is a 15 year old, all springs broken, flea infested cesspit of a piece of cloth. To make it worse it is only a two seater so you can’t even lie flat. You have to curl up into the fetal position. I’d rather have a decent bed thank you very much.

Misleading Reviews

Whilst I was aware of couchsurfing for a long time, the article from Agness really perked my interest. I read a lot of comments and reviews from fellow surfers. The theme that came out is that not all reviews are honest or reliable. Sometimes people admit to having a bad experience, or even a sexsurfing encounter and then leave no comment. Or maybe they say the experience was fine. It is a two way street with the host and the surfer commenting on each other. Dare they be honest and risk an ungrateful negative review from the other person in return. This is even if they are the victim in the bad couchsurfing experience.

So what are the positives of couchsurfing?

It is only fair that I acknowledge the good things about couchsurfing. Firstly it is at my favourite all time price! Yes it is FREE. What a perfect way to make travel affordable and accessible to so many. I agree that this is a marvellous thing.

Also, as the motto goes it is a chance to meet “friends you haven’t met yet”. Couchsurfing is an amazing opportunity to meet and mingle with the locals of your destination. You can live like a local, taste their culture. You might get the best advice on what to do, what to see and at a fair price. It was only a few months ago that through a local I was able to see Mickey Mouse for free! Yes, I went to Disney World for free thanks to a kind local I met.

Okay, I know that many of you are backpackers and you just love the concept of couchsurfing, it opens doors for you. I think that is a great thing and I genuinely wish you well on your travels.

A group of Taiwanese people and a blond girl
A group of amazing Taiwanese people Agness met in Prague. The girl wearing glasses was her host. They became good friends and still keep in touch.

As for me, well I’ve done all the backpacking thing. It was amazing, I loved it and it got me into travel beyond familiar territory. I’m not young any more, as I write this I am 40. Hey hold on, 40 is the new 30 don’t you know? I’ve reached a point in life where I want some privacy, some downtime. I love meeting interesting people but I want choices. I am now used to staying in hotels. I even stayed in a hostel quite recently. I do still use hostels, very occasionally. I like my comforts and I travel, a lot. Admittedly most of it is with work so I’m grateful that I am given the comfort I need to rest and explore. When I travel for leisure I will always look for a hotel or a Bed & Breakfast to stay. I want my home comforts and I want to travel with my wife.

So couchsurfers, I wish you well. I credit you for what you do and the community which you’ve created. Maybe I’ll see you at couchsurfing “Event” so I can meet some of you fantastic travelers out there. That’s easy, if we don’t quite hit it off there’s no problem, just walk away, you don’t have to stay the night.

All in all I think couchsurfing is a very exciting concept, it is just not for me.

Is Couchsurfing for everyone? What’s your experience?

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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84 thoughts on “Why Couchsurfing Is NOT For Me”

  1. Agness and The Guy, it’s fascinating that I keep coming across couchsurfing posts lately as I read a lot of travel blogs. A great pen pal friend of mine in Poland (and now lives in London) was discussing it with me as she’s done and hosted it many times. I just thought it was in no way a good idea as I have a ton of life experience and it flat out comes down to my questioning of safety. Especially in this new world of ours. Thank you for the fantastic post! :)

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for reading and commenting.

      You make a very valid point of view. It does often come down to our own comfort level as well as feeling of safety.

      We all have unique life experiences and they are highly influential in our future decision making.

  2. Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures

    So, I’m confused. The author starts out by stating that they’ve never tried CouchSurfing before going on and trashing it based on Agness’ experiences?

    I’ve surfed people’s couches 18 times the world over and never once had a negative experience. Sure, some folks I’m not best friends with, but you take what you can get. It’s also a totally different sort of travel experience than staying in a hotel and doing touristy sorts of things. And CS requires an open mind and an adaptability and an understanding that your stepping into someone else’s life. Your host almost always bends over backwards to make your stay comfortable and many are upfront in their profiles about what sort of surface you’ll be sleeping on and you can always ask in advance…

    Nearly every host I’ve stayed with had a cleaner house than many cheap hotels in the developing world that I’ve seen. Privacy varies based on the sleeping situation, as some hosts offer guest rooms. Some will give you a key and full access to their house. Others will ask you to leave when they’re out of the house. If you really don’t get along and want to leave, just leave. Go to a hostel or something…they usually have availability.

    Yes, it’s challenging sometimes, but the rewards far, far outweigh the potential downsides. I’ve met the most incredible and generous people all over the world through CS who have shown me their hometowns in ways I couldn’t even begin to do on my own. As you mention, CouchSurfing is free, but the fact that you also get a local person to tell you where to go, or, better yet, show you around, is truly invaluable.

    1. Hi Aaron, many thanks for reading and commenting.

      You make some very good points there and your experiences are testimony to the value of the concept.

      Please note that my article is not just based on Agness’ experience. It is based on my interactions with various people who have couchsurfed, my research of the site and information freely available. In addition I have more than a decade of extensive travel experience from sleeping in hostels, people’s bedrooms, on couches and staying in hotels. I’ve personally found the standard of accommodation I desire and the level of personal privacy that makes me feel comfortable.

      I have lots of friends around the world and plenty who are willing to give me a tour of their home town/country.

      For new travellers to an area this may be difficult for them to obtain. As a result the option of couchsurfing can offer a lot of opportunity.

      We all have choices (finances permitting) for our travels. I’ve just explained my choices and given an explanation why.

    2. I really agree with Aaron-s post. I am 73, female and have been couchsurfing for about 5 years A LOT and often in India. And there is nothing like it in my book, and I have been travelling in many countries since I was 18. In my opinion Couchsurfing is not about sleeping on somebody-s couch, in fact it is not necessarily about sleeping. Meeting for a cup of coffee, a stroll in the park, a visit to an interesting church or temple, etc. are more the rule for me. I always speak on the phone beforehand, or at least some get acquainted emails, and often suggest meeting in a public place like a coffee shop. And I try to travel with a local SIM card and a credit card, in case I have to make last minute sleeping arrangements (no park benches or train station platforms or waiting rooms for me, thank you). And some of the best CS friends I have met were suggested by other CSers I have met and really liked.

      Otherwise stay home and watch the Discovery Channel.

  3. With all due respect…good. You’re not the type of person who Couchsurfing is made for. You like to go on vacation and play it safe. Stay in hotels where you don’t have to worry about a language barrier or actually seeing cultures and meeting locals. You like your shelter, that’s fine.

    Most of your post goes on about “what if?” “Oh no, someone’s room is a bit messy I gotta get outta here.” “They don’t have an outdoor pool? Barbarians.”

    But without trying to sound rude, you’re the type of person we’d rather not see on Couchsurfing. You don’t seem to get the concept – we like those things that make you uncomfortable.

    I’m an avid Couchsurfer and have had some of the best experiences of my life because of it. Sure, I might stay in the same room as my host (god forbid!) in fact I’m doing that right now in Prague. So they might not tidy up, so what? Do some people drink too much? Sure. And? They’re people. “But what if they’re a serial killer!?” Give me a break.

    I’ve met some of the most incredible people and have made great friends through CSing and I’ll continue to do it as long as I travel. You might see it as a free bed where you might have to deal with the dreaded socks on the floor, but we see it as a shared cultural experience and a great way to make amazing international friends and see places from the eyes of a local.

    Age, BTW, is no excuse. I just surfed with an awesome 73 year old woman in Northampton and have stayed with older folks in other places. Don’t blame age, blame mentality. You need to have an open mind.

    And by the way, when you come out and make such a strong opinion on a public site about something people are so passionate about WITHOUT HAVING EVER EVEN TRIED IT, you aren’t going to hold much respect with anyone.

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for commenting and reading.

      It is good to hear that you get so much value out of the couchsurfing experience which has a lot of appeal and value to so many.

      It is a shame that your response is so negative and angry. It is also a shame that you think I am not the type of person who couchsurfing would welcome. The concept of coushsurfing is supposed to be welcoming to all.

      Yes, I’ve never tried couchsurfing itself but I’ve had experiences like it of staying in peoples apartments and flats over time. I’ve also had a lot of interaction with people who have couchsurfed as well as researching the site.

      Like any trip you plan you need to consider research and find what is appropriate for you.

      Hopefully people can see the balance in the article which I have written. I have relayed the pros and cons of the concept and there are plenty of both. With all things considered I have presented a view that it is not suitable for my personal preferences. It is suited for many people and I wish every success to the people who try it.

      1. Hi The Guy, I didn’t mean for my comment to come across as angry, apologies for that. But I don’t think it’s right to pass judgement something without having tried it a couple times. Sleeping at a friend’s place is quite different than couchsurfing and will yield a different experience.

        As you said, CSing welcomes everyone – what I meant was that you can’t go into it with these expectations or preconceptions; you need to have an open mind and take whatever comes your way as the experience. In your case it sounds like you don’t want that. You want your comforts. That’s fine, but that’s what I meant; if you need to have a private room and comfy beds and luxuries, you may need to look elsewhere.

      2. He’s not angry.

        He’s just pointing out that you focused on the negative aspects. Like your section “Bad Habits” could have been written as “Habits” and then discussed the positive and negative.

    2. I definitely agree with you Chris. Also the purpose of CS is not only to stay at someones couch for free, but to attend events, show your city to someone, take part in language exchanges etc. I think that’s what makes this community richer. On the other hand, I agree with The Guy that when it comes to privacy it’s simply not for everyone.

      1. Agness Walewinder

        Hi Zori, thanks for sharing. I also agree with you, when it comes to privacy, CS is not the best idea. You can’t really expect from your host to give you more space or leave you alone when CSing is all about interacting with each other, going out and having a lot of fun together.

      2. Many thanks for reading Zori. I agree that couchsurfing is an all round experience if the host and guest keep to the spirit of the concept. That is undoubtedly a culturally enriching experience for all.

        I value my privacy having sacrificed it in the past. I seek to emerge myself in the culture of the places I visit now as much as I can choose to do so.

        Like someone earlier said, if you don’t like it you can always walk away.

    3. Correct, coach surfing with a stranger whose lifestyle and habbits are completely unknown is not for people like the author or me. However, let me say that travel in comfort does not mean you cannot mingle with the locals, some people prefer to have a place that meet their expectation and not waste time and energy when they can’t sleep or tolerate the place. There is no such thing as free, even if you don’t pay money, you pay it in time, convenience, energy, problems, headaches, etc.

      I am very well travelled and I always prefered to stay at a decent place, usually a hotel. I don’t want to be a leech on someone else’s hospitality just because it is available. People like me can speak several unrelated languages from different continents proficiently and mingle with locals at a much better level than coach surfers who superficially spend few days with a host, often with limited ability to communicate.

  4. Agness, many thanks for this opportunity to guest post on your great site. I feel very honoured.

    Hopefully readers will see the balance I have tried to portray in the article. I am open minded and appreciate there is a lot of value and appeal in Couchsurfing. It makes travel so much more affordable and accessible to many.

    For me though, as someone who has travelled extensively and for so long I seek a different type of accommodation. I’ve spent time as a student or in earlier life sleeping on sofas, staying in friends houses. It was suitable for my time in life but I’m not at that stage anymore.

    I wish the very best to anyone who couchsurfs and I know you do too Agness. You are indeed a prime example of a perfect couchsurf guest.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      The Guy, many thanks for contributing. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we are glad you have shared yours with us.

  5. Hi, just want to say that I got a bit of deja-vu with this article – it reminds me of what non-travellers say to travellers

    “What if you get mugged”
    “What if you get murdered”
    “What if…” etc.

    Travellers always say

    “Yes, but chances are low”
    “Yes, but that could happen at home too”
    “I’ll be careful”

    All the excuses of being afraid you put up are not worthy of an experienced traveller. We know there is risk in life, you will have some risk staying in a hotel. If you require some privacy, you can request it from your host – either they can provide or not.

    If you show up and it’s not for you, just say thanks and walk away, find a hotel. Why does this even need to be said?

    I hope you reconsider and at least look at the options out there. You might be pleasantly surprised. As you said, it’s unlikely anyone will try to take advantage of you (sexually at least).

    1. Hi Sarah,

      First of all can I just clarify that I am an experienced traveller. I fly abroad virtually every month and have done so since May 2000. I’m probably one of the most experienced travellers to ever comment on this site.

      I appreciate your approach and dislike of my “what if” scenarios. I’m at the stage of my travels now where I know what I like and what I don’t like. When I have a set plan/agenda for my trips I also want the refuge of my accommodation. I want to know what to expect and a guaranteed level of comfort.

      Couchsurfing is a very exciting concept and of great value. The people who choose to use it can undoubtedly open themselves up to the possibility of some great experiences and cultural integration. Though as the article title says, it is not for me.

  6. I had the exact same response that Sarah had. My friends and family who don’t travel, don’t do so because they won’t have the same amenities as their own house, because they might get mugged, because they might get pick pocketed, because they might get kidnapped, because it might be dirty, because they might not have a flush toilet, because they might get sick from the food. So no Taj Mahal, no Machu Picchu, no Angkor Wat, no Tikal. Just as I feel sorry for them, in some ways I feel sorry for you. Your glass half empty mindset that Chris describes is not a good mindset for couchsurfing. You have to have a glass half full mindset and have some faith in not just your own countrymen, but in people all over the world. Why can’t you say, “This is going to be great” instead of “what if this or what if that happens”. I couldn’t imagine myself being in a hotel instead of a local’s house and seeing a neighborhood/city/country through a local’s eyes. I’m 44 yrs old and I can afford a hotel or hostel, but the friends I’ve made and the things I’ve seen that I never could’ve without couchsurfing is priceless. Friends and family who do not travel or only stay in hotels and go on group tours think I’m insane for the same reasons you do, but it has added a whole new dimension to my travel. You don’t click with everyone, but every host I’ve had has gone out of the way to make me comfortable. I’ve found this is a trait that is common in all countries and cultures. At the very least, don’t knock til you’ve tried it.

    1. Hi KT, thanks for reading and commenting.

      I have many years of experience of travel and have friends in many countries around the world. I’m not short of getting advice or free tours around the places I’ve been to.

      I appreciate your glass half empty comment. My view point is from my experiences of travel and I’ve done the whole sleeping on the sofa experience (although admittedly not with Couchsurfing).

      It is great that you embrace couchsurfing so much and get so much value from it. I’m not knocking the concept. I’m just saying that we all have different views and it does not fit what I am looking for in my travel.

  7. Hey, couchsurfing is definitely not for everyone. Whenever I do it (and it’s only been twice) I am always a bit leery… I know I am taking a chance. I can’t say I’ve ever been overly pumped to couchsurf but I also can’t say I’ve had a bad experience.

    1. Hi Colleen, thanks for reading and commenting. It is true that it is not for everyone. Whilst I can see that you’ve been apprehensive it is good to know that your experiences of it have been positive. Do you think you will try it again?

  8. I think it’s really disappointing that a couple of people have immediately jumped in feet-first and attacked The Guy for seemingly having a different outlook on travel and the level of comfort he prefers when doing so. At no point does he call it a terrible idea – heck, he spends a good part of the article crediting the concept and the community it’s created – he simply explains why it’s not for him.

    Also, his reasons match up with a lot of the doubts and worries I had about CouchSurfing for the first time, and I’m sure many others would have had as well! Don’t get me wrong, I love the social hostel environment and am happy to share rooms, but entering someone’s personal “controlled environment” (so to speak) is a different ball game.

    It seems the people who are slating him for sharing his opinion (and very balanced and well reasoned opinion at that!) need to go back and look at just who is shouting the loudest here…

    Thanks for the great post guys. Always good to hear some views from a different demographic :)

    1. Thanks for reading and the supportive comment Carl. Couchsurfing is a topic which some people feel very passionate about and they love it or hate it.

      I’ve tried to provide a balanced argument pointing out the pros and cons of the concept. I’ve also provided the view that it is not for me, but not in any denying that it is something which should not be tried by anyone else. The passion of some of the people on here shows how valued a concept it is to many travellers.

    2. Agness Walewinder

      Great comment Carl! I totally understand The Guy’s point of view and his personal reasons not to go couchsurfing. It’s not for everyone. If someone doesn’t feel like CS would suit him/ her, there is no reason to be so critical about it. Many people have doubts before deciding to sign up for this. They need someone who’s gonna say “Hey! Be careful. Cs is not only about having fun.”

  9. I’m not the couch-surfing type either. I like my privacy – I don’t even stay with family or friends. But, I am old now. In my younger days, I stayed everywhere and anywhere. Most times it turned out fine- but then there were the people who wanted to spouse-swap- we just said no- they got pissed off and threw us out- but there was an us (plus a baby) and so I never felt threatened. Too bad people aren’t able to give honest couch-surfing reviews for fear of retribution. I’m sure there are unsavory people both providing and looking for accommodations. But, as The Guy said you can’t beat the price. Everyone has to decide their own comfort level with this. I know mine!

    1. Wow, that is quite a scary story on partner swapping. Bet you are glad to be away from that pressure.

      I guess you are a bit like me in that stage of our travel lives. I can see why it appeals to so many but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I seek a different type of accommodation and value my space and privacy.

    2. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you Billie. I have noticed that people (travellers) older than 40 years old do not go couchsurfing that often as younger generation nowadays.They need more privacy, they seem to be more suspicious and careful when it comes to interacting with others. To me, it looks like being a little bit less adventurous, but I can totally understand that. The majority of people get more self-secured with age after the whole travel experience they gained in all of these years. I agree, everyone has to decide their own comfort level with this :).

  10. I have to admit I’ve never tried it myself but I like that it’s there as an option for travellers. Although I have heard a few negative stories, I agree it’s not for everyone.

    1. Hi Becky,

      Thanks for reading. It is true that it is not for everyone. I think though that with plenty of research in advance you can form a good idea as to whether it is suitable for your travel needs.

    2. Agness Walewinder

      Yes, that’s true. It’s a good and cheap option for travellers. Nobody makes anyone to do it, but it’s good to know something like that exists. Not every traveller tends to do it and it might be either a great or really bad experience. That’s life :).

  11. Ok, so Couchsurfing is not for everyone – that’s true, but I can’t understand why you say that it’s not for you if you haven’t tried it? You’re criticizing something that you have no idea about.
    If you did your research you would know that things like safety and the state of people’s houses can be seen straight away on people’s profiles. When I look for hosts or guests I go to their profiles and read everything about them. It’s important if people have feedbacks and how many there are. You can find out a lot from that.
    Privacy might be an issue here, I agree. However, when you stay at someone’s place you can read if there’s a separate room at their home, or if you are going to stay in a living room. It’s all there – you just need to do your research.
    I think couchsurfing is great. There is no better way in getting know the country than spending some time with people who actually live there.

    1. Hi Jo, thanks for reading and commenting.

      The main reason it is not for me is because I value my privacy and feel assured by the comfort I find in a professional accommodation organisation.

      Safety is always a concern although admittedly the risk of your safety being at risk is minimal. I believe the couchsurfing community, great as it is, could have more reviews which are open and honest on all occasions. A quick research of the internet or even Agness’ earlier article will highlight the fact that some people admit to not leaving a review after a negative experience.

  12. I also have never tried couchsurfing, but feel it wouldn’t really be a good fit. Since Johnny and I usually travel together, it’s a bit harder to couchsurf because we generally prefer having a larger space to stay in.

    I would give it a go on my own though!

    1. Hi Beth, thanks for reading. If you do travel on your own and give it a go it would be interesting to hear how you got on.

    2. Agness Walewinder

      It’s the same with me and Cez. Not many people want to host two people at the same time, especially a girl and a boy.

  13. I am not sure about your assumptions but just to clarify a couple of things, when you are looking for a couch you can look at descriptions of the accomodation available so you can choose who you stay with. You also get to read reviews like you do about hostels and hotels, they will tell you about the people you will be staying with.
    As for me I have hosted 150 surfers aged from 18 to 70, all my friends say what if they are… my response is up to now I have never had anyone I felt fearful of and have always enjoyed their company.We have also surfed and each time it was a unique and interesting experience.
    Couchsurfing is about accepting what somebody offers without judgement we are a couple in our fifties and embrace the concept of couch surfing and look forward to surfing more when we start our long term travel.

    1. Hi Michele, you make some great points there. The website does give an opportunity to research your potential host and help make an opinion before you decide.

      Absolutely couchsurfing is about accepting what somebody offers. Maybe I am just too long in the tooth and prefer what a hotel / B+B offers. I like my privacy and certain level of comfort.

      You’ve hosted a lot of people so it is great to see that you are so active in the couchsurfing community.

  14. I have my own habits; like to sleep a lot while I travel, like to drink a late lazy coffee. The host probably will have to go to work and I have to wake up at the same hour as him/she. Couchsurfing is not for comfort people like me. Don’t get me wrong – I do sleep in cheap hostels and in 10 dormitory places. For an expensive city ( like those in the nordic countries) it could be worthing.
    What is Couchsurfing good for: the weekly meetings; its an excellent place to make friends!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hi Sorin. I guess we all have our (annoying and frustrating for others) habits, but it doesn’t mean you always need to fit your host’s schedule. You just need to find someone flexible and talk to him/her before your arrival so nobody gets angry or anything. Some of my hosts were very busy, they left the key to the apartment on the table and let me do anything I wanted to. I barely spoke to them, but I knew about it before I came to see them and I was fine with it.

    2. I understand your perspective Sorin. However I think Agness makes a good point that if you and your host have established your expectations prior to arrival then we can keep to our personal routines.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  15. What an interesting read. Me and Dale have been traveling for more than a year now and we couchsurfed a lot so far, a lot of your points are correct. It’s not always the most comfortable solution, you don’t always get a lot of privacy… so far though we never had bad experiences and it might have something to do with the fact that we are a couple maybe? We met people that became real friends and we are still in touch with. It’s just interesting for us meeting random people and step in their lives for some time. When we need to have our own time we don’t even try to look for a host, we use an hotel or hostel.
    You’re right though, Couchsurfing isn’t for everybody and there’s nothing wrong with that!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I couldn’t agree more with you, Franca. I know how much you liked your hosts from Thailand and Japan. It’s great you still keep in touch with them!

    2. Hi Franca, thanks for reading and commenting.

      It is interesting to hear of your experiences which only back up my research and interaction with other travellers who have couchsurfed.

      It is great to hear that you’ve made some fabulous friends through the experience. Do you think you will return the favour in the future and host these new friends at your home?

  16. Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    We can definitely understand where you are coming from. We just wrote a post about whether or not Couchsurfing was still right for us or not, and ultimately came to the conclusion that while there are a lot of benefits, we are starting to out grow it a bit. We prefer our privacy and independence, but we still use Couchsurfing as a way to meet locals. It’s a great way to get to know the local culture and you don’t have to sleep over to do it :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I agree and I know how things change when you travel with your partner. You both definitely need more space and independence.

    2. Thanks for the feedback Casey. I think the opportunity to meet the locals is a very valuable attraction. Whether you choose to stay at someone’s house or not is a different decision, but meeting up is undoubtedly a big plus.

  17. Tom and I try to couchsurf as much as possible as we really enjoy the interaction with other people! We have made lifelong friends through Couchsurfing and recommend it to everyone to experience it at least once, we’ve never had a bad experience and as a couple often find we get offered our own private room!

    But yes sometimes it is nice to have a hotel / hostel that is completely private and we don’t have to share a bathroom lol

    1. Hi Megsy, thanks for reading and commenting. It is great to hear about your experiences. Now the bathroom, I never thought of that one…. ;-)

    2. Agness Walewinder

      That’s great guys you have had such great memories from couchsurfing. There is nothing better than meeting your hosts and becoming great friends with them!!

  18. I can definitely understand your frustrations on this one. I’ve used Couchsurfing a few times for actually staying at people’s houses. I don’t really enjoy or ever completely feel comfortable in another’s home. I’d prefer to pay for a hostel or something. However, I will say that there is another side of Couchsurfing that even someone like you would enjoy. It is the ‘meet up’ option. Meeting up with people to check out a city and go exploring is something that I have done multiple times with great success. I’ve met long-term friends doing that who I still keep in contact with. To each their own, but I understand what you say. A lot actually.

    1. Hi Andy, many thanks for reading and sharing your experiences. I think you are right about the “meet up” benefits. They are definitely of great value and will help travellers to really get to know the location they are in and understand the culture.

  19. Stefania - the Italian Backpacker

    It’s true: sometimes couchsurfing is not comfortable, but I’ve met great people and they made my travelling easier by explaining me things about the place I was visiting. These are things that you don’t get from staying in hostels and even less if you stay in hotels. For the staff there you are always a client, even if they are friendly and everything.

    About the privacy thing: couchsurfing doesn’t offer accommodation per se, it offers interaction with local people. If you just want to be in your room and read a book, book a hotel, don’t couchsurf. I agree that when you travel for a long time you need some privacy every now and then. That’s why I try to balance couchsurfing with other options such as hostels and even private rooms. If you

    Given the concept of couchsurfing it’s unlikely that you’ll find boring and dull people. So far I’ve only met very interesting people, with lots of interests and usually very open-minded and flexible. If you tell them you’re tired after your flight they will usually understand. You also have to understand if THEY are tired and don’t insist if you want to party. There might be awkward situations, it happens, but there are profiles, reviews, vouches, and other methods of sorting out people. In the end, some of the traveller friends I identify most with are people I met through couchsurfing.

    1. I like that Stefania in you saying it offers “interaction with local people”.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  20. I have never tried couchsurfing before, but I am not sure it is for me. Maybe for a night, but I just like my privacy too much. That’s why I don’t like dorm rooms either. Maybe it is an age thing. I probably would have thought differently about it when I was still in my 20ies.

    1. Hi Tammy, I kind of think it is an age thing too but not exclusively. Quite a few of the people commenting here challenge that argument and talk of people well beyond their 40s couchsurfing.

      I suspect it is more as we develop as a person that our personal preferences and priorities develop? I used to be more open to the idea of sharing in my early 20s too.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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