(And so can you!)
Our family, friends, and coworkers weren't happy that we were going to Couchsurf (so we didn't tell some of them!). We're so happy to report that we're alive and well after our recent Couchsurfing experience in Oregon. I'd go so far as telling you that my faith in humanity was partially restored. (If you've never heard of Couchsurfing before, it's a community of people that host and stay at homes while traveling. You can check out www.couchsurfing.com for more information.)
I couldn't believe how easy the process was. I created our profile 5 days before we landed. My friend who Couchsurfed across Europe endorsed us. I searched for hosts in the towns we wanted to consider living in to make apartment hunting easier, thoroughly reviewed their profiles and references, and sent out about 7 messages. Most people responded very quickly. Within no time, we had 3 hosts set up for our week long stay.
We had an overwhelmingly good experience with Couchsurfing. Our hosts had generous hearts and were genuinely interesting, unique people. Before our experience, we wondered why on earth someone would agree to host someone else in their home, but after living through it, we understand why.
A few of our hosts had Couchsurfed before and felt the need to pay it forward. One host had never been a Couchsurfing guest, but has hosted more people than you could possibly imagine. She told us that since she can't travel right now, it is a great way to bring people and places to her.
We loved the conversation. We loved that we connected with people. We loved that other people loved travel and life as much as we do! Our cheeks are still hurting from smiling so much, and we feel like we have an instant west coast network.
Jake said his experience was life changing because of how open people were with us - both with disclosing their personal lives and giving us free reign of their homes and pantries. (Pro Tip: Go to Oregon if you want amazing, fresh food prepared by people who are basically professional chefs.)
Aside from enjoying the experience, we also saved a ton of money. We would have needed a hotel for 7 nights. At $125/night, our bill would have been $875 (thank goodness Oregon doesn't have sales tax!). Because of Couchsurfing, we didn't have to take a sledgehammer to our piggy banks, and can now put that money towards seafood / hiring a personal chef from Oregon. (More on Oregon's culinary greatness in an upcoming post!)
Since so many people have asked us about our Couchsurfing experience and if we have advice on how to do it successfully, we'll be posting our suggestions soon.
Have you Couchsurfed before? Email us about your favorite moment!