To travel all over the world, without spending money for hotels moreover and to meet thus interesting people who and will tell about the country, and sights will show, and with ethnic cuisine will treat. Millions of people quite so sound as the fairy tale, but and travel. They are helped with it by Internet services of an exchange of hospitality, such as BeWelcome, Hospitality Club, Flat Jump, Place to stay and others. We will tell how to find free alternative to hotel on the example of a guest network most popular for today – CouchSurfing (Kauchserfing).
When we planned a trip to Guatemala, decided not to stay in hotels. First, it is unprofitable, secondly – it is boring. To plunge on cultural Wednesday and for couple of days to learn about the country as much as possible, best of all, living in a family of locals.
In one and a half months prior to a trip we published on the site CouchSurfing.org the announcement that we are going to Guatemala, and to us about 5 invitations came. We decided to stop at a married couple from Antigua. They met us, conducted delightful tour on the old city, acquainted with local children musicians. We spent two days in their house, together prepared burritos and simply conversed in an open and frank manner. We still correspond, and we hope that sometime they too will arrive to us on a visit.
We also placed the announcement that are ready to receive guests, and in the first month our organic farm Belize was visited by children from Canada, South America and Europe. Someone stopped for 1-2 days, and we so became friends with one guest from Brazil that spent together nearly a week, and even went together to have a rest on islands. Kauchserfer from Brazil stays in our house in Belize
How to become the user
"The free sofa will not be?" – approximately such free translation can be given to CouchSurfing neologism (to "couch" in English "sofa"). The project is about 8 years old, and it unites more than one million users from around the world (including more than 50 000 of Russia). To become one of them, it is necessary to be registered on the site CouchSurfing.org. The only restriction – age. Only participants of 18 years can join and are more senior.
The site has interfaces in different languages, including in Russian. We visit the main page. Who has an account on Facebook, can come through it. Or it is necessary to fill a special form of registration. Registration on the site CouchSurfing.org
After activation of an account, we come into a profile and we fill in sections of the questionnaire: education and career, life philosophy, mission, hobbies, favourite books and music, experience of travel and a kauchserfing, useful skills which you are ready to share with others. It is necessary to specify in separate point, what languages you know and at what level. If you are going to travel abroad or want to receive guests from other countries, it is desirable to fill a profile in English. Profile of the user of the site CouchSurfing.org
Post more interesting photos and write about yourself as it is possible in more detail – then it will be easier for you to find people on interests. If you are ready to provide "sofa" to travelers, in detail describe accommodation conditions: whether there is at you for guests a separate bed or the room, whether it is possible to smoke at you, how many people it is possible to place, whether you accept families with children.
It is possible to show the hospitality in the different ways. If you are not ready to accept the traveler at home, it is possible to meet him at the airport, together to take a walk in the city or to sit in cafe. In a kauchserfing it is forbidden to take from guests money for a lodging for the night. However travelers by agreement can independently provide themselves with food. The rule of a good form is considered to present a gift to the host or to help about the house – to wash ware, for example.
How to travel by means of a kauchserfing
We visit the website and we choose the section "Begin Travel" in the top menu. There is a search window. We enter the name of the country and city to which we are going to go. At desire it is possible to choose additional settings: age and a sex of the accepting participant, presence of guarantors and others. Search of the accepting participant on the site CouchSurfing.org
We press "to Look for!" also we receive the list of kauchserfer from the place interesting us. In one city there can be some hundreds of "sofas". However not everyone from them is available. It is necessary to pay attention to the status. Whether on a question "You are ready to receive guests?" versions of answers are possible:
- can be;
- not now (but I can hang out);
- I on a trip.
Before sending the demand to the owner of the "sofa" interesting you, study its profile, find common interests. In inquiry tell about yourself and your travel, about why you addressed to it. It is useful to send requests at once to several users, however I want to tell readers Mirsovetov that you should not dispatch sample letters are it will be noticeable and will reduce chances of an affirmative answer. After all the kauchserfing is not only a way to save on hotel, but also a peculiar club on interests.
It is better for the accepting participant to send the demand by means of special inquiry – couch request. In this case the system will remind of your visit. It is desirable to ask on a visit in advance – at least in a week. And if you have in a stock some weeks, it is possible to place public inquiry – then owners of "sofas" can respond to your request and invite to themselves.
To stop in the unfamiliar city at strangers or to invite to the house of the person who never saw – to someone this idea can seem to the too risky. For this reason in a kauchserfing the special attention is paid to a safety issue. All correspondence of users remains in system. In security guidelines it is recommended to study carefully a profile of the potential owner or guest, to find photos on which the face of the user is accurately visible, not to provide a contact information until you are sure that this person suits you.
There are some ways to raise trust degree to itself from other kauchserfer:
- To become the verified user.
- To confirm the personality, it is necessary to carry out transaction from the cash card into the account of the organization of Kauchserfinga. The minimum amount of transfer for each country different, on average about 15 US dollars. In requisites your surname has to be displayed. To confirm location, will send a post card to your home address. The confirmed users in a profile have a green tick.
- To find guarantors.
- Founders of a network of a kauchserfing were charged for those users whom they know personally. In this case in a profile there is a special badge with the crossed hands. The user for whom three persons were charged, has an opportunity to warrant for others.
- To add friends.
- To add other users as a friend, it is necessary to send them a request and to receive confirmation. Trust degree to each other is surely specified, whether users personally met, how many days carried out together, how long are on friendly terms.
- To receive positive comments.
- Everyone with whom you had to communicate, can leave about you a response – positive, neutral or negative. The logic is obvious – the more positive responses at whom you are going to meet, the better. Treat seriously the reputation. If you changed plans, surely report about it to whom are going to meet.
Advantages of a kauchserfing
- Economy of funds for housing.
- Acquaintance to new interesting people.
- Fast immersion on cultural Wednesday.
- Opportunity to receive information on the country first-hand and more carefully to plan the travel.
- Language practice.
- Not always comfortable conditions of accommodation. The housing can be on the suburb, sometimes there is no free bed, and it is necessary to spend the night in a sleeping bag on a floor. These moments can be stipulated in advance and to find the best option.
- It is necessary to be arranged under the schedule of owners who can leave for work early in the morning, and come back late at night, and the guest needs to spend all this time outdoors.
- The Kauchserfing assumes communication, but sometimes there is a wish to be alone, in that case the hotel approaches more.
- At any time can refuse housing, and then it is necessary to look for other place urgently. Therefore it is better to have spare option always.