Save Money And Meet Locals: Why You Should Use Couchsurfing

We tried Couchsurfing for the first time on our 18 day Uzbekistan trip and our first experience was so wholesome that we ended up scrapping our previously booked accommodations.

In this post, we’re going to tell you our top reasons why we think you should give couchsurfing a go too.

What’s Couchsurfing?

First up, what’s couchsurfing? It’s quite simple. A host will welcome travellers to stay in their home to stay for the night or two. You don’t pay them a cent. All you have to do is register an account on the couchsurfing site and then connect with hosts all over the world, or become a host yourself.

#1 Cultural Immersion Opportunities

Staying with a local host gives you a culturally immersive experience that you won’t find in any other type of accommodation. We love hostels (and even wrote a lengthy post just to say how much), but there’s only so much local culture immersion that you’ll get. After all, you’ll be staying in a dorm with other travellers, and the few locals you interact with will be staff.

In Bukhara, we couch-surfed with a local family whose home was in one of the neighbouring farming villages. We were welcomed into the family like long-lost relatives and introduced to a way of life that we’d only read about. We learned about the different food grown in the gardens (also had them eagerly thrust into our hands to taste) and learned more about the family dynamic, the matriarch structured family, and what life is like for the ordinary Uzbek local.

#2 It’s Free

Hostels are cheap but cost money. And let’s not get started on Air BNBs and hotels.

With couch-surfing, you can either pay 13,5 euro for a yearly membership or 2,2 for a month. After that, you won’t have to pay. The host will put you up for a few nights free of charge. Of course, helping out where you can goes a long way. We spoke with our host’s cousins to help with their English skills.

If you know the difference between self-raising flour and all-purpose flour (Ellie doesn’t), then offer to help prepare meals or buy groceries for your hosts. If you’re a fan of animals, see if there are any pets to be walked. Simple gestures which help a lot.

#3 Long Lasting Connections

Our hosts fast became friends. They know that if they want to visit Italy or England, we’ll show them around. And if by some lucky chance, we happen to be nearby at the same time, then we’ll arrange a long overdue catch-up. It’s similar to hostels in this respect. After all, you’re with like-minded people. People who want to travel, who want to share cross-cultural experiences. With these types of people, there’s no awkwardness in reaching out a few years down the line.

#4 Learning Exchanges

To ‘pay our dues’ we helped out with English homework. In return, we learned about day to day life in a traditional Uzbekistani village. We’ve helped cook dinners sharing our traditional dishes and learning about another persons. The list is already growing.

Workaway offers similar opportunities. You can stay with a host from a few weeks to a few months, and spend your days earning your keep by working. It could be teaching, house sitting, working on a sustainable project, or doing a farm stay – just to name a few. It’s an introduction to a lifestyle wildly different from your own, and one that can only be found in this type of setting.

Wrap Up

We’ve been lucky and have had nothing but good times with all of our couchsurfing stays. Let us know about your experiences or any tips you have for first-timers by leaving us a comment below. Happy surfing!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Verified by MonsterInsights