Couch Surfing in Ireland – Ready for an adventure
If you have ever wanted to travel, but the cost of staying in hotels for days on end put you over your budget; CouchSurfing may be a way around those high costs. CouchSurfing is when a person moves from one friend’s house to another, sleeping on whatever space is available. Sometimes it’s a couch, sometimes the floor. No money is paid except the cost of food. There are many advantages to traveling this way, but there are some drawbacks as well that you should be aware of.
How Did CouchSurfing Get Its Start?
CouchSurfing was started by Casey Fenton in 1999. Fenton sent out random emails to The University of Iceland students asking if he could room with someone for a few days. He received an overwhelming number of positive responses back. On his return trip home, the idea of CouchSurfing was born. A website was launched in 2004. Now the site boasts over 3 million members traveling to more than 80,000 towns in 250 States and Territories.
Membership into CouchSurfing
Membership into CouchSurfing is free. It is usually as easy as signing up on a social networking site. You provide pictures of yourself and of the accommodations that you offer, if any. Members can search for hosts by location, age, and gender and activity level on the site. Home stays are arranged between the guest and the host and the length of the stay, the terms and the nature of the visit are arranged beforehand. Activities where members of the social networking site can meet are held every so often. Camping trips, bar crawls, sporting events and meetings are just a few ways to connect with your “friends.”
How safe is CouchSurfing?
A level of trust needs to be met before staying in a stranger’s home or allowing someone who you do not know into your home. There are three ways to achieve this. The first is by verifying personal references. These are references that people have the option of leaving after using the service. The second way is by credit card verification. A member can “lock in” their name and mailing address by making a payment and entering a code on the CouchSurfing website, and then CouchSurfing sends an email to the address the member chooses. The third is by the personal vouching system. These are people who you have stayed with in the past or have had in your home that are willing to vouch for your character.
CouchSurfing is a fantastic way to meet new people and have some terrific adventures without spending half your budget on shelter. Just use some common sense and be safe while you are traveling. Do some checking up before you stay in a stranger’s home or allow someone into yours and always let someone know where you will be.
Photo credit: CouchSurfing by Bogdan Seredyak/flickr
Christine Lukes is a personal finances guru and freelance blogger. She strongly advocates organizing and keep close track of your Bank Accounts for financial peace of mind.