Extremely Warm Welcome

The great American writer Mark Twain once said: “Only two things we’ll regret on deathbed – that we are a little loved and little traveled”. But, good for us, we don’t live in the 19th century. I’m not really sure about the first one, but the second thing can be fixed easily today. Those, who are deeply intro travelling (or just slightly enjoy going from one country to another), have ever dreamt of being able to do it for free, and voilà. CouchSurfing is on its way to make their dreams come true.

The point of CouchSurfing is to keep in touch with people, travel and stay overnight in the other countries for free. It has been in launched in 2003 with the slogan “Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch at a Time”, which, to my mind, reflects website’s concept perfectly. It connects more than 7 million people in 246 countries all around the world. However, this is not the main point.

But what keeps CouchSurfing alive for thirteen years now? Who lets it exist? It is one of those websites, that are active due to their users. The users of CouchSurfing were just given the platform, but everything else was their work. The people, the places, actual travelling and experience sharing. Some of them are still in touch and actually visit each other sometimes. All of this has been keeping the website alive and is the perfect example of audience participation.

I’ve never really heard of such website before this week, and would really like to try it (even though stying with strangers in the foreign country may sound suspicious). What about you?

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2 Comments

  1. The concept of travelling essentially for free seems very inviting, I mean who doesn’t want to travel around the world for minimal cost?! Even though ‘couch surfing’ reassure, I still feel that safety would be my own personal issue. There is ALWAYS a risk! I am however astonished that this website is as popular as it is, because of the risks. I have seen other websites that offer travelling opportunities but not without asking for thousands. Is the saving of money, worth your safety?

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  2. I think Couchsurfing is a great platform that helps young people travelling in an affordable way. Back in Spain, where i am from, all my friends have used this website through countries like Italy or Germany and they were extremely happy with the experience.

    Regarding the content of the website, it only exists because of the users that can offer houses or request them. It really focuses in peoples experiences as when you get in an ad of someone that offers its house you can see the comments of people that have been there before, so you decide if you want to trust it or not. Also regarding the experience of my friends once they came back from the holiday they kept receiving messages from users asking if they could come to Spain and stay in their houses, so once they made the contact the communication doesn’t stop. This way people make friends all over the world all the time, creating new networks.

    What about Airbnb? Your example reminded me of this website that works exactly the same way as Couchsurfing but paying cheaper fares than hotels. Airbnb is a platform that invites users generate content, so its information is made by users. Airbnb is highly used in the UK due to the expensive accommodation. I invite you to have a look:

    https://www.airbnb.com

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