To couchsurf or hostel?

10 reasons why you should couchsurf instead of stay in a hostel

Don’t get me wrong, hostels are awesome! They’re a playground for young social travellers and provide you with some of the best resources. I’ve made some of my best friends at hostels and had some of the craziest nights out starting there. However we all know they’re not all that comfortable, and it can get old dragging all your toilettres down to the shower at the end of the hall to find a line of 15 people waiting before check out. Here are ten reasons you should consider couchsurfing at your next destination!

1. It’s free!

The deal is that you can crash on their couch for free; no secret costs or charges. This is obviously a huge bonus for backpackers on a budget. People often don’t believe me when I tell them and they follow with, “So how do you pay them?”. Hosts just want to meet cool people from overseas; if they wanted money they would use Airbnb instead. I just make an effort to make them dinner, buy them a drink, give them a little souvenir from home or at least show your appreciation.

The price of hostels can add up, especially during peak season, so saving that amount per day can help a lot!

Drinks with my couch surfing host and another surfer in Prague!

Drinks with my couch surfing host and another surfer in Prague!

2. You meet experienced travellers 

Often people who sign up for couchsurfing (whether surfers or hosts), are experienced travellers. This means you won’t have to deal with a lot of ignorant loud backpackers you find in hostels. Mostly you will meet a lot of wordly and mature people who often have crazy stories to share.

3. They are super generous and social people

These people are opening their entire home to a stranger; that’s a pretty generous thing to do. More often than not, they will offer you food and drink and anything you need during your stay, as well as opening their social calendar to include you. You can meet some great friend in hostels, but there are always those weird antisocial people in your dorm that you wonder why they aren’t in hotels!

Sightseeing in Trondheim, Norway with my  host

Sightseeing in Trondheim, Norway with my host

4. They will have awesome things planned for you

They’re super excited to have you there and will often plan things for you to do while you’re there. They also usually have awesome suggestions for things to see and usually offer to do them with you and show you around.

5. You indulge in the culture!

Besides your host, you will usually meet some of their friends too. This is awesome and makes you feel less like a tourist. This is a really good way of seeing how the locals do things rather than just meeting other foreigners in hostels. You will also get the chance to learn a bit of their language too, and will pick up lots of random facts about the place just from your host talking to you.

6. You will be welcomed back 

If you have a good time with your host, they will usually welcome you back with open arms (as you would with them if they visited you). This is great to know if you ever want to visit the city again you already have a friend there!

7. You will see hidden gems

Staying with a local pushes you off the tourist path and lets you uncover some great hidden local gems! This means that the things you do and places you go to will also be cheaper as there are no tourist traps. While I’ve couchsurfed I’ve seen great local bars, parks, laneways, street food, gone on road trips and more!

8. You save SO much money!

Not only is accommodation free, but usually your host will cook at home and have drinks there before you head out. These are some money saving techniques that you can’t do so easily in hostels, unless they have awesome kitchen. I spent 2 weeks in Norway and saved hundreds because I’d make breakfast at their house, often cook with them for lunch or dinner and then pre drank before we went out!

9. You make a friend from a cool city

The No 1 reason people let you surf at their place is because they want someone cool from overseas to hang out with- so most of the time you become friends and often stay in touch!

Me and my couchsurfing host in Oslo, Norway

Me and my couchsurfing host in Oslo, Norway

10. You get access to a proper bathroom and kitchen!!

This means you can cook easier, shower when you want to and generally have more time and privacy than in a hostel. The facilities in your hosts house will be nice (as they are living there as opposed to renting it out). This is one of the most noticeable differences for me as I get so sick of fighting over a kitchen stove with strangers and lining up for the toilet for ages!

So what are you waiting for?! Go online, make a profile and better your travel experience while saving money!

 

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