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Thread: Any Experience with Couchsurfing?

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    Any Experience with Couchsurfing?

    I saw this way of traveling in a magazine article. Has anyone experience with it? It seems like a good idea for low-budget trips, but I'm a little bit wary of staying with strangers. What is your view?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CouchSurfing

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    I've heard some excellent remarks from satisfied travellers, as it seems like a great way to save money and at the same time meet new people

    Personally, I would hesitate to spend the night at a total stranger's house, especially if it was a male. But then again it depends on how bold someone is. Who knows, I may try it someday

    P.S. I have, however, unofficially offered my couch to a stranger in the past. He had posted in the C18 forum, saying he would come to Athens and asking if anyone could accomodate him. He seemed like a decent guy (contrary to the majority of members there ) and I offered him my couch for as long as he needed it.

    When he showed up, his feet turned out to be about half a meter longer that the couch's length! Poor guy slept with one foot on the floor

    So after a couple of days he found a hotel room...but he was very grateful and we remained good friends.

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    I would be very careful about this. You never know what kind of psychopath might wind up inside your gates. In fact, it reminded me of this movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100318/

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    Who needs a couch when you have a tent and a sleeping bag? Find some desolate piece of land and hope the farmer doesn't mind when he does his morning patrol with his shotgun.

    If you visit the cities - well you could forego the dessert for your dinner and instead rent a hostel room, they tend to go for around €10-20 a night as well. Then annoy the entire room by setting your alarm clock for 6 AM with the precept of "sightseeing to do". Disable the Japanese guy's camera as soon as you can.

    (And yes, I've done both )
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    I did "couchsurfing" once, when, two years ago, I stayed for one night at the home of a Norwegian guy. He was a perfect host, very kind and we got along well. But I never did it again yet, because I can't accomodate guests myself, and feel uncomfortable with being a freeloader on the system and also because I feel uncomfortable with other people very easily, especially strangers.

    I wasn't bothered about safety myself, but couchsurfing.com allows you to read reviews by other guests.

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    I've wondered about this. I did all my globetrotting 25-30 yrs ago, and have wonderful memories of backpacking through Europe and staying at youth hostels. I'd like to open my home to travelers to the States, but haven't really felt 100% great about it. Do couchsurfing websites typically have reputation or feedback or somesuch for the travelers? Or just the hosts?

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    The host may have good recommendation and review,
    but what about the guest?
    I'm not comfortable to house strangers,
    especially if it's groups of males.
    You could wake up with something stolen or worse.

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    Well, not that I want to sound elitist or disparaging, but my house (me and four other students) have opened our house to couchsurfers we didn't know before, and while they all seemed to turn out okay, they all also seemed to be a bit dodgy.

    Well, I was never the mastermind behind all this stuff (and kept my bedroom door locked of course) but some of the people my roommates had stay with us included an Israeli guy who broke our toilet and left it and a strange half-Asian stripper from New Zealand who coughed a lot and seemed to be working in the country illegally.

    Ugh. It might be best to ask a few questions before you agree to let people stay in your house. I'm sure there are a lot of decent people who are looking for a place to stay while travelling as well.

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    Hmm, I also recall reading in the magasine about racism. It said on couchsurfing sites racism is unacceptable, and if the host is recognised as a racist he won't be allowed back in the community even if he apologises. So that means you can't turn down a Jewish person or an Asian?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    So that means you can't turn down a Jewish person or an Asian?
    Take the faith way out. Say you're only willing to take in people from your own faith, because you wouldn't want the guest to feel uncomfortable with you being a very pious Protestant. Interchange that for anything, including Mormon (safe one, there's virtually no non-Germanic Mormons ).

    Seeing that Protestantism doesn't seem so widespread with non-Europeans this could be a way out without having to demark yourself as "racist" for not wishing to let them stay at your house. Always just a matter of how you're going to put it.

    Either way - as regards Asians: Every bit as bad as any other foreign culture. My auntie was once offeringn to house a Chinese girl for a few months for a student exchange, says the Chinese girl tried to treat her as a servant because she was the one cooking for everyone, and expected to be absolutely pampered. She was also disrespectful to my cousin, etc. etc. pp.

    My auntie said that wasn't on - her home, her rules - whether she liked it or not. The girl protested "I can't do the washing up, that's a servant's job in China" --- and my auntie said, "Well, tough luck, this is Austria. Here, the girls also do their part in the household". Following this, the arrogant Chinese girl left and looked for a different exchange family. Since then - one experience wiser: different cultures, different customs, different values.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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