Traveling abroad has been problematic for a couple of years now, thanks to a global pandemic. Borders have been closed, restrictions have been applied and even though most countries are loosening their grip on the whole pandemic situation, or rather, the restrictions about the situation, travel is still a bit difficult.
However, that doesn’t mean that travel is impossible. While hotels and hostels might be harder to visit during a global pandemic, Couchsurfing remains a possibility. But, is couchsurfing really safe and should you try it? What is couchsurfing to begin with?
Let us take a deep dive.
Couchsurfing – Sharing Beds for Free
Couchsurfing is basically a social network which allows hosts to post their houses or couches online and other people to check them out and crash there whenever they have an opportunity. It is a different way to travel, one that relies on the good will of people, rather than business deals, payment and transactions. While financial transactions give you some sort of guarantee, you may still be disappointed. With couchsurfing, you only risk getting into an unpleasant situation, but without the spending.
Is It Safe?
Well, this really depends on a lot of things. You might not want to be a trailblazer and be the first one to check a host’s place out. And if you do, you shouldn’t be alone, if the host has room for multiple people. With that in mind, make sure to read reviews and check the place out. You should also trust your intuition. You can always schedule a video call and talk to the person, see what you are getting into.
All in all, as with most things, it is good to do your research before committing to any decision.
Saying No or Leaving
If you feel uncomfortable, you can always leave a location. You don’t even have to come if you feel bad about something, or concerned. However, since this might leave you without a place to stay, you need to have backups, otherwise you will just end up having to improvise in the middle of the night, which is not a good thing to do in a foreign city or country.
Planning ahead is a good way to stay on top of things, no matter what kind of accommodation you might be considering.
Common Safety Practices
Like with most things, you can always count on common safety practices prior to committing to anything, including couchsurfing. Reviews should tell a decent story about a place. If the place looks derelict or very pretty but without reviews, then don’t risk it.
Go to places which have decent reviews that look to be written by people.
Couchsurfing is about as safe as any other type of accommodation, provided that you take the time to research the place you plan on visiting.