When most people hear the words "couch surfing", one imagines just sleeping on a friend's couch or floor. However, couch surfing is a large community of people in various countries who are willing to let visitors stay at their houses or apartments for free. Couch surfing provides a more exciting and cheap travel experience.
When staying at a hostel, guests may meet other visitors from various countries; however, they are unlikely to meet natives at the hostel. Couch surfing allows travelers to meet local people and learn about the culture of the city or country from real people instead of reading about it in a book or hearing about it on a tour. In this way, the experience becomes more personal.
Visitors should be respectable and considerate to their hosts. Couch surfing is not just a way to stay in a city for free. Guests should make time to spend with their hosts, invite them to spend the day or evening with them, treat them to a meal, and/or bring them gifts from their home country. Hosts do not want to be treated like they are opening a free bed and breakfast.
Some people might worry that they would find hosts that they would not get along with. On the Couchsurfing.org website, members can search through profiles and correspond with potential hosts to make sure that they would be a good fit for one another. Most hosts are similarly concerned as guests concerning compatibility and that is why it is good to make sure that a good fit is found before traveling.
Others might worry that the hosts are sketchy and that something bad might happen to them during their stay. This is a valid concern because safety should be a priority when traveling. On the website, one may also search through recommendations that are left by previous guests. In this way, a visitor may feel more comfortable knowing that he/she will be safe in that environment.