An Intro to couchsurfing for the "I've never heard of couch-surfing and it sounds sketch young ladies"
CouchSurfing (CS) is a database website of people who are willing to host travelers or who want to be hosted. You create a profile with what you want others to know about you, but there are also things on your profile that you can't change.
For example, if you are a bad guest and your host writes a negative review about you, that review is locked onto your profile. This is good, because then we can choose to stay with people who have, say, 17 positive reviews and 0 negative reviews.
People are also more legit if they've replied to 100% of requests (even if they say no, at least you know they'll get back to you). You can also see if that person last logged in 2 hours ago, 2 days ago, or 2 years ago.
CS also has a safety system to verify if a person and place are real - these people are "verified." Some people are even "vouched for," another system of checks.
I first couch surfed in Canmore, AB and it was a great experience. Later, two people came to stay with us in Prince Albert (of all places. One was going up to Grey Owl's cabin; the other, Matt, was just touring Saskatchewan in the winter for 3 months. Obviously.) Matt and I discussed CS etiquette at length - how many days ahead you should request, how to figure out if you can attack the fridge or if you need to buy your own food, etc.
Reasons why we want to couchsurf:
- comforts of a home: kitchen, easy internet, laundry, scotch tape, etc
- save money
- **meet locals. In hostels, we realized, you only meet other travelers. With couchsurfing, you get the insiders' advice.
to find us, hit the "surf/host" tab, go to "couchsearch," do an advanced search and type in our names (or search for couches in Prince Albert or Edmonton)
Consider setting up a profile and hosting! Great way to vicariously travel through your worldly guests!