DURING A BRIEF STINT in Thailand, I had the opportunity to meet up with various people from different backgrounds: an Australian who divided his time between home and Phuket province, a couple from Ireland doing a backpacking tour of Asia, a middle-aged German woman who owned a house near Chalong Beach.
Together we chartered a long boat and set out to snorkel in some of the bluest waters and relax on powdery sand beaches.
One of the best days of my life.
Oh, and the people? Couchsurfers.
I came across Stefanie’s profile while looking for a place to stay in Phuket Town over the weekend. What I’d stumbled upon, however, was more than just a couch to crash on, but a guided tour of Thailand’s best islands, some great conversation from a diverse group, and a delicious lunch (my stomach still not quite used to spicy chicken and rice).
Couchsurfing, a website that links travelers looking for convenient and free places to stay with willing locals, is one of the better resources on the web. If you’ve done any major traveling you’re probably familiar with Couchsurfing, but have you set up your own profile, offered to host international guests, or slept on floors half the world over?
Although the number of surfers seems to be growing exponentially, hosts have to be particular when choosing who to allow in their homes. If you wanted to arrange for a guest to stay at your home, where would your attention lie? What information would concern you the most? Shared language? Interests? Age?
How can you best present your Couchsurfing profile, as both surfer and host?
10. Get Verified
Yes, Couchsurfing does require you to pay $25 to get level three verification, but this is a small price to pay; you’re donating to an excellent cause and ensuring people know you’re genuine.