Traveling has been a constantly-growing hobby for all types of people in the world. These days—with the rise of budget airlines and so many relatively cheap hostels and guest houses—traveling has become an interest for everyone; it is no longer considered as rich man’s activity.

The idea of going on budget trips is what millions of travelers look for these days. They want to be able to enjoy a place while spending the least amount of money so more places could be explored in the duration of the trip.

Couch surfing has been created by people passionate about travel; people who think that staying in people’s homes is so much better than having to pay a lot for one night in a hotel. It could both be a nouns and a neologism: As a noun (CouchSurfing) it is a non-profit network that aims to build cultural encounters among people from all corners of the earth. Their mission statement: “A world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter.” Don’t mistake this for “coach surfing,” which is a common mistake among many people who are not yet familiar with it.

As a neologism, couch surfing is staying in other people’s homes for a night or two (or three) for free. By using different online networks (most popular is Couchsurfing.org), people could interact with kind people who offer their couches for anyone to crash in. In return, the couch surfers could also offer their houses to anyone who might come across their location in the future. That’s it—simple and absolutely free.

Usually, it’s just not the couch that’s being offered. Many offer whole rooms with beds (and sometimes, even your own bathrooms). Some the owners of the homes will leave their keys with you, so you can go in and out of the house anytime you’d like. Again, no one needs to pay for anything, but couch surfers usually give something to their host as a sign of gratitude—maybe a thank you card, a CD, food, wine, or even volunteering to make dinner.

Aside from being absolutely free, another great thing brought about by couch surfing is increasing the level of trust among travelers all over the world. Free does not always translate to safe when traveling, for it’s the free stuff that usually comes with so much risk—hitchhiking, for instance, has been tainted with so many horror stories in the past decades, so even if people would love to get free rides from kind strangers, they would usually think twice before hitching, or worse—not go hitchhiking at all.

This is certainly one of the best ways to travel and meet new people. If you try giving couch surfing a shot, you will surely have a unique experience. With this, you won’t have to pay ridiculous amounts of tips to hotel porters and drivers, you won’t need to spend triple on hotel food, and most of all, you will experience hospitality at its best.

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