Heard of couch surfing? It was the phrase for couch potatoes, who’s only view of the world was through the television. Not anymore! Couch Surfers are adventurous and lifelong learners like you, who embrace Global Citizens, and share their small piece of the world. If you’re ready to explore beyond your boundaries and become a Global Citizen on a local level, Couch Surfers are waiting to help thanks to CouchSurfing.
When we travel we often meet new people and exchange ideas, dreams, and learn from one another. The four friends who created CouchSurfing had this same idea in mind, and thought it as a way of uniting with adventurous friends you haven’t met yet around the world. Today, they’ve inspired the creation of a global network of 10 million travelers, adventure seekers and lifelong learners in over 200,000 cities in every country in the world.
For traveler’s, the free Couchsurfing network is a wonderful way to experience the world on a local level. CouchSurfers share experiences like hosting one another in their homes to a night out on the town having a beer. And, after many become close friends and travel companions.
There are even CouchSurfers in your own backyard, who get together for dance classes, hikes, dinners, and language exchanges. Unlike staying at a hotel that provides a room, and arranges tours, CouchSurfers make the experience of visiting their region personal and memorable. And, isn’t that the reason we travel in the first place?
Safety for all CouchSurfers is the first priority, which is why the site suggested that you thoroughly read members profiles. See what they have to say about themselves, and what others have experienced while visiting with them. It is easy to make connections, and get to know fellow members because the members system on the Couchsurfing network is set up to connect through Couchrequest and Messaging within the website. This way you can communicate and get to know one another first without giving out your private phone number and email address.
Be Aware Of Your Environment: It’s a phrase we’ve used with our children since they were little, and wraps all the safety concerns of a parent into one short sentence, and means trust your instincts. A general rule for every traveler, whether connecting with a fellow CouchSurfer or touring a city with friends or family is to be aware of your environment. If something doesn’t feel right or seems unsafe get out of there. This is the time to use your back up plan with options for transportation or a place to stay, and take care of yourself and those you love. If you’re overseas, check in with the Embassy for your country, and they can share safety recommendations for the region, and other tips.
Expand Your View Of The World
Traveling and meeting fellow CouchSurfers gives you an opportunity to learn more about new cultures. Think ahead and read up on cultural differences, learn the language, or at least enough to communicate in emergencies. Women should also educate themselves on the cultural and religious differences in the places they visit because gender roles and expectations differ widely around the world.
Couchsurfing offers a open door to the world. For you and your new friends it’s a chance to share your lives, and appreciate your differences while uniting on a global scale. If you’d like to learn more about Couchsurfing opportunities visit their website.
Whether you travel alone or join a host site make the most of your journey to experience the cultures and people that make this world engaging! Happy Travels!
Other Travel Ideas and Exchanges
Another option for travel is Stay For Free, in which you swap time at your house with another family for a period of time. This company, based in Austin, Texas has three fees schedules that range from $12 – $25 for a month to exchange your home and travel the world while saving on the cost of lodging.
For an opportunity to meet others and travel BeWelcome connects you with locals that often offer free accommodation, meet and greets and tours within their regions. They also have hosts all over the world, who participate in the multicultural hospitality community.
Know Before You Go – Visit The U.S. Embassy Website For Travel Alerts and Warnings
If you visit the US Embassy website you’ll find news on U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions around the world. On this site they also list current Travel alerts and warnings.
What’s the difference between a Travel Alert and Travel Warning?
A Travel Warning is issued when the government in a region is unstable, there’s a civil war, frequent terrorist attacks, or similar events taking place in the region. These warnings are published as advise to consider when traveling to a dangerous region, and it is suggested in some cases not travel to the area at all.
Travel Alerts are published mostly for short-term events like disturbances during the election season in certain regions, for health related reasons that include an outbreak of H1N1, or an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. In the event of a Travel Alert use caution when planning a trip to that region.
Search The U.S. Embassy Website For Scholarships and Awards
This is probably the last place you’d think to look for scholarships and awards, yet it can be a helpful resource for students. Depending on the region, they also list scholarships and awards available for students such as the Fulbright Awards for American students or scholars interested in studying in Canada.