couchsurfingEver wanted to travel long-term and stay for free? Well, I did just that during my trip to Brazil over Christmas break, utilizing a service called Couch Surfing! is still a relatively new website, created by people that wanted to open their homes to people who wanted to travel but were hamstringed by very small budgets. The website allows you to create a profile and ask for couches to crash on in almost any city on earth, with huge communities in major cities.

I love Couch Surfing because staying with a local means you instantly gain a tour guide with insider knowledge. I have been taken to restaurants, bars, and shows that would never show up in any guidebook, but have been absolutely amazing to be a part of. You are allowed to participate even if you cannot open your own home to travelers, so if you are a student like me have no fear, there are no restrictions! Some of my best friends have come from these Couch Surfing experiences, and I hope to continue the tradition by opening my own home when I have the space.

Couch Surfing also offers activities and group gatherings in major cities, so you can participate even if you are not looking for lodgings. The community is full of locals and international travelers that are by their very nature open to and interested to meet other travelers. Heck, I met my current girlfriend at a Couch Surfing event! I highly encourage checking out the organization and seeing if it is for you, because registration and creation of a profile is completely free, as is participating in all the events and group meetings that go on. You will thank me later I assure you!

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