Couchsurfing is popular for travellers who want to sleep on someones couch (and for hosts who like meeting travellers on their couch!). But you can also use it if travelling and you want to meet up with people. It can be a great source of meetups and finding likeminded people to meet when travelling!
Couchsurfing is a website that is primarily aimed at people who either want to sleep on couches, or people who have couches to offer.
To some people this might sound really weird - especially the people offering their couch to strangers. But it is a big community of (often, but not always) like-minded people who like to meet people from different places and walks of life.
But the 'sleeping on a couch' isn't the only thing that Couchsurfing is good for. It is also good for just meeting people (and no sleeping involved at all!)
You don't need to sleep on a sofa (or offer your sofa) to meet people on Couchsurfing.
There are two kind of meetups (ignoring the whole 'sleeping on a couch' which would lead to a small meetup of the host/surfer):
In most big cities there are people who organise regular meetups. These are not organised by the actual Couchsurfing staff, but by local members who like to organise things like this.
These are posted on the city 'Events' page. For example, the London events page:
The first event in the screenshot above is one of the regular organised meet ups. These will generally be every week, on the same day.
These meetups can be from a very small group (maybe 5) to over 100. It really depends on the city. Places like London will attract much larger numbers than less popular tourist destinations.
Often they will be in a pub or bar. It is often quite obvious where the couchsurfing group is. Sometimes they will have some kind of sign (or paper on a table) with the Couchsurfing logo. You can also often find it just by listening for foreigners speaking (almost always in English).
Often it is a mix of locals that live in the city (both expats and native locals - often in non-English speaking countries they use it as a way to practise English) and of course travellers. People hosting Couchsurfers will often accompany them to these meetups too.
In some (most of the larger meetups) they will be in a bar (or club) and have a discount for drinks. But check on the Couchsurfing event page.
Each city has its own discussion page. For example, the London one:
These are message threads posted by travellers. You can see people who want to meet up for a picnic, to go to the beach at Brighton, hiking and more.
Just post a message either on the day or a few days before, asking if anyone wants to meet up for a drink or go for a wander.
Tip: When contacting someone to meet up, leave your telephone number and get their number. The Couchsurfing website seems to go down quite a bit (or they seem to reset the database and lose messages), so always have a backup phone number to rely upon!
Thinking of staying with someone on Couchsurfing? Compare Couchsurfing to Airbnb, Hotels and Hotels (It is a blog post outlining the pros and cons of each)
Cyprus is known for its friendly people and hot, sunny weather. It has many things to offer, which is why over 3 million tourists visit it a year. Here are some of the best things that you can see and do in Cyprus. Read more
Bangkok is a huge city, with over 8.2 million people and spans 606 square miles. So when you are booking a trip to Bangkok, how do you know where to stay? Well this guide will explain all and give tips for each area. Read more
In my opinion, London is one of the greatest cities in the world for tourists. You just can't ever get bored, there is so much to see and do. However, what if you have only one day to visit and explore London? Maybe you have a long layover at one of London's many airports and want to see London but need to cram it in as short a timeframe as possible. This guide will explain what you need to see, and includes some other tips and advice for travelling to London. Read more
Minsk is probably the only European capital city that is largely untouched by masses of tourists. It isn't a city full of attractions, but there are certainly enough things to see and do to keep you entertained for a few days. Here are the top 7 attractions and things to see and do in Minsk, Belarus. Read more