Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Concerns about Couchsurfing

If you are considering couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.com) or hosting travellers, you may want to read an article on the Website www.bootsnall.com about Couchsurfing's current situation.
Couchsurfing matches private individuals with travellers who stay in their home at no cost. It is understandable a popular site, and this is the first negative review I have read of it. I have never tried couchsurfing myself, but find the idea appealing.
However, according to the article, there have been a lot of changes since the writer first joined, when the site attracted people of all ages and seemed to him like a real community. Now, apparently, it seems to consist mostly of young men who are eager to meet young women. The author mentions concerns about safety and even instances where guests have been expected to pay for their couch, or where hosts have find items missing after taking in a couchsurfer.
Admittedly, the idea of staying in a stranger's home is a little scary, as is the idea of having a stranger stay with you. If you do choose this route, be sure to check out through references the hosts and guests with whom you want to interact.
A good alternative to couchsurfing if you are willing to travel with a group is Friendship Force International (www.friendshipforce.org.)  On Friendship Force's home exchanges you also stay with strangers, but there seems to be more vetting of both hosts and guests, and the average age of participants is likely to be higher.


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