We all know how the “once upon a time” works. And I guess we’ve all had experiences that proved to be the end of something and the beginning of another chapter. It’s the new experiences that brighten up our minds and inspire us to invite new habits and lifestyles throughout our lifelong journey. For me, this ‘once upon a time” phrase started in Malaga, Spain by meeting two locals during my two weeks first solo trip. I was so scared of speaking with strangers at that time. And then, the question “what is couchsurfing?” came to me, two months later.
Meeting locals while traveling
The experiences that I’ve had along this trip made me understand what it is to travel by yourself in a new environment and to trust your instincts when it comes to exploration and making social interactions. More exactly, this trip helped me overcome the fear of meeting new people as I started to hang out with two Spanish locals and two other travelers from Italy and the Netherlands.
Jaime, Alvaro, Carla, and Yakari become my new friends and introduced me to the vibe of exploring Malaga and the depths of multiculturality. So, today we are going to talk about how to find opportunities to travel and meet locals to exchange and explore a new place, and what skills are necessary to have to start doing this.
Travel and meet locals – How it’s done?
Now, I can say that I’ve probably been one of the luckiest souls to have the chance of meeting those people and living the times with them. And this experience made me strive to look for many more. There are many benefits to spending time with locals when traveling to a new place. For one, it can help you learn about the culture and customs of the region. Additionally, it can be a more authentic and immersive experience than simply staying in a tourist vibe. And lastly, it can be a great way to make new friends!
It isn’t always easy to strike up a conversation with strangers, so seizing opportunities when they’re around you is key. Here’s a clue: if you’re interested in anything, let the locals know! And, of course, It’s important to be respectful of their culture and customs and to be aware of any potential language barriers. For me, Jaime was the first stranger to talk to while in Malaga, and this only lead me to love the magic of meeting other cultures.
Tips for meeting locals while traveling
Some of the qualities you need to exploit to bring yourself closer to experiences like this are becoming more open to interaction, being curious, open-minded, and interested, and desiring to live something different from the holiday type. Don’t forget, Be yourself, and get immersed in the experience.
Another important feature is related to your language skills. If you already possess a basic English level, meeting locals while traveling will help you make big improvements regarding your level of conversation. And, of course, spending time with locals will allow you to practice their culture and language.
Do not be afraid to speak and express yourself, we’re all going through the process of getting used to speaking in a language different than our mother tongue. It has to start somewhere. (I’ve seen so many travelers or volunteers coming into my town having difficulty start speaking English with someone new, but as time passed, they let go of the challenge).
A way to meet and spend time with locals while traveling – Couchsurfing community
If you’ve ever heard of Couchsurfing by chance, you might be wondering what it is. Couchsurfing is a unique way of traveling that allows you to stay with locals in their homes, instead of in a hotel or hostel. This allows you to experience the local culture and way of life firsthand. It’s a community of people who offer their couches or spare rooms to travelers, providing them with a place to stay for free. In return, travelers can offer their hosts an intercultural experience, whether it’s through conversation, cooking, or teaching them something.
Couchsurfing is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. It’s also a great way to save money on accommodation while you’re traveling. If you’re thinking of Couchsurfing, there are a few things you should know before you get started. In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of everything you need to know about Couchsurfing and things to keep in mind.
About the Couchsurfing app – How does the Couchsurfing community work for travelers?
Couchsurfing is a social networking service that connects travelers with locals who are willing to host them in their homes. So how does it work? First, you create a profile on the Couchsurfing website. This includes your name, age, interests, and photo. You can also write a brief description of yourself. You should be detailed about your description, couchsurfers like to know more details before choosing who they want to connect with, host, or be hosted by.
After you have finished, you begin the surf. You can search for Couchsurfing members in your destination city. When you find someone you’d like to stay with, you send them a request. The request can contain a message regarding your period of travel, some details regarding yourself, and your motivation for choosing that person. It’s always nice to see that you are joining Couchsurfing so that you meet people that match your interest and not only benefit from a place to stay for free.
If the request is accepted, you’ll be able to stay with your host for free and spend time together, according to their schedule. In return, you’re expected to help out around the house, chat with your host, and maybe even show them around your hometown if they’re ever in your area as a return of experience.
Becoming a host with Couchsurfing? – Things you should know before you get started.
As a host, you will be responsible for providing a safe and comfortable place for your guests to stay. In addition to offering a place to stay, you will also be expected to interact with your guests and show them around your city. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about other cultures while being in your comfort zone at home, In the description section, you have to provide a detailed description of your home, some pictures, and what kind of guests you are looking to host.
You should also include relevant information about your city, such as popular tourist destinations, local events, etc. Travelers that need a place to stay will be able to see your place listed and can send you a request. If everything goes well, you can arrange for them to come to stay with you for a specified period.
Advantages of using Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing is an increasingly popular way to travel, especially among young people. If you’re thinking of Couchsurfing for your next trip, be sure to take advantage of all the great benefits it has to offer. There are many advantages, including the following:
- It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends from all over the world.
- It’s a great way to save money on accommodation costs.
- It’s a great way to experience different cultures and lifestyles.
- It’s a great way to learn new skills and share your skills with others.
A thing to keep in mind is that Couchsurfing is not a hotel. You will be staying in someone’s home, so it’s important to be respectful of their house rules. Some hosts will only allow you to stay for a night or two, while others will let you stay for weeks at a time. It’s important to read the profiles of potential hosts carefully to make sure they’re a good fit for you.
Safety and Risks
Couchsurfing is a great way to travel on a budget, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while using Couchsurfing:
- Always communicate with your host in advance to confirm arrangements and get to know them a bit before meeting in person.
- When you arrive at your destination, meet in a public place to get to know your host and see if you feel comfortable with them before going to their home.
- Trust your instincts – if you feel unsafe at any time, leave and find another place to stay.
- Be aware of your belongings and keep them with you at all times.
- Keep your contact information safe and only share it with people you trust.
By following these safety tips, you can prevent risks from happening and your experience will be followed with responsibility.
Critics of Couchsurfing argue that it can be unsafe, as hosts and guests are often strangers. However, Couchsurfing has taken steps to address these concerns, and the community is generally considered to be friendly and welcoming. Of course, it matters a lot to be responsible and trust your gut at the same time. That is why Couchsurfing has the amazing feature of putting reviews so that people can check from multiple individuals if the person to get hosted by is trustworthy and we are ready to meet them.
Couchsurfing is a social phenomenon – Gatherings & Conferences
Couchsurfing is a social practice that has gained popularity in recent years. The concept is simple: people offer their couches (or spare beds) to travelers for free, to provide them with a place to stay. In turn, travelers provide their hosts with a unique cultural experience. This social practice has been praised for its social and economic benefits and for naming it as a social phenomenon. It promotes cultural exchange and understanding, while also saving travelers money on accommodation.
Couchsurfing international conferences are a great way to meet new people and see the world. If you’re thinking of attending one, there are a few things you should know. First, conference Couchsurfing is open to everyone – you don’t need to be a member of Couchsurfing to participate. Second, conferences are usually held in major cities, so you’ll need to have a place to stay. And third, the conferences are one of the best networking opportunities for young people because the people that attend those conferences are all different ages, different professions, and lifestyles, but all connected by one similar habit, the one of meeting locals while traveling and believing in the power of cultural exploration. So, it can be so inspiring for a young person’s development to participate along with so many different individuals that listen and share stories.
My Couchsurfing stories as a host and as a traveler
I believe that courage is found in seeing others’ experiences that are similar to what you want to try for the first time. My first Couchsurfing story excerpt is like this: 3 years ago, after returning from Malaga, I decided that I want to continue what I’d begun there regarding meeting people from other cultures and spending time together and I started to search on google answers regarding how to connect with travelers that pass through my city and create experiences together with them. Luck made it so that I found Couchsurfing, which enabled a different lifestyle for the months to come. I’ve made my account, along with the self-descriptions, photos of myself, and my home, and explained my preferences, and I waited.
Try Couchsurfing, and you’ll travel differently
The first Couchsurfer that sent me a request is also the first one that I hosted. His name is Ashim, a guy from Nepal that was doing a tour of the world on their bicycle. He started his journey from the UK to Nepal by using Couchsurfing as an alternative to connect with locals and share thoughts, cultural knowledge, and beautiful times. Ashim came to my place in October 2019, and we spent together some beautiful days cooking and sharing stories in the kitchen, enjoying the nightlife of my city, fishing, and something even more special…
Ashim joined me, my family, and my friends at my birthday party in the village where I grew up. All I can say now is that this experience led me to have the courage to meet new people that I have something in common with, intercultural exchange. So, if you are trying to find the courage within yourself to become a couchsurfer and a Couchsurfing host, I hope this article helped you understand more about what couchsurfing can be for a traveler and a local who is open to different things.