Hi! Welcome to Complete City Guides!
My name is Patrick, I'm originally from Sydney (Australia) - and I love exploring cities (and writing about it!)
I work online in marketing, which gives me the opportunity to travel around the world full time.
So while I am away, I keep this blog updated with full travel info. I tend to stay in a city for a few months at a time, to really get to know it - then I write guides on it.
Couchsurfing is popular with travellers who want to sleep on someone's 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 kinds 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 meetups. 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)
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Get some inspiration for travel ideas, with these top movies about travelling and/or backpacking. Tell us in the comments below what your favourite travel movies are!
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