Open your home to travelers for FREE & gain what MONEY CANT BUY

4년 전

"What if they steal your stuff?", "Isn't that risky?", "But I have no extra room", "But I'm shy" Are just one of the few phrases I hear from people whenever I tell them about how I've been inviting travelers to stay with us for free.




Back in December 2015, me and my friends decided to rent a house we've just spontaneously viewed one night. It has always been an idea- how fun and exciting it would be for people of different personalities to live together under one roof. Spoiler alert: It wasn't always exciting, in fact, it was messy. LOL. But I'll save that story for a future blog post. Months after we moved in, we traveled to Camotes Island and met a traveler named Naida from Catalan. She was traveling through SEA and decided to ditch her other flights to live here, simply because she couldn't get enough. We got so close during our stay in the island that offering her a place in our home was no big deal. Guess what? She ended up living with us for almost a year! We did not ask any payment at first but since she planned on staying long term, she insisted on sharing for the monthly rent.


Me and my housemates were all Filipinos, so living with a foreigner was new to us in a way that you could notice cultural differences. It was interesting, learning about another culture, about how big the world is and how different people are.


One boring slow night at work, I chanced upon a post on Facebook, how a couple traveled on a very tight budget and saved a lot due to free accomodation. I was all ears! Or eyes for that matter. Haha. So I read through and found that it was because of a site called Couchsurfing. Without second thoughts, I hit CTRL T and typed in the website and explored the page.

Couchsurfing is a community where you can put up a personal profile, introduce yourself and set up your hosting availability to either of the four:

  1. Accepting Guests
  2. Maybe Accepting Guests
  • May accept depending on travel dates/ schedule availability etc.
  1. Not Accepting Guests
  2. Wants to Meet Up
  • Not available to host but can meet up to hang out/ offer travel advices etc.
    Aside from being a host, you may also request to surf/stay in someone's home in an area you will be traveling to.

At this point, you could already be worried about your safety in both hosting and surfing. Here are a few safety basics I would like you to take note of:

  1. Check the user's profile
  • Whenever a member hosts/ surfs, both the surfer and the host are encouraged to leave verified references. This means they get to leave a comment on each other's profiles sharing what the experience was like, negative or positive. That way, we'd get to know how they are as a guest and or host.
  1. Believe in your gut
  • If something or someone is making you feel unsafe, decline the invitation/ request. It is best you state your boundaries and communicate clearly.
  1. Communicate through the site
  • As much as possible, if you haven't met your guest/ host yet, only use the site to send messages. That way, their Trust and Safety team can easily help you in case of an issue.



After I signed up and built my account, I offered to host a guy from Malaysia named Izuan. It was such an honor to be his host! We went river trekking towards a waterfall, walked through the rain and mud to reach a hidden beach and much more! Below are both of our references:

It wasn't soon enough until I hosted another traveler! And another, and another! Instead of me writing about our experiences, let me share it through their own words:

Reading those references just makes my heart flutter. A couple of them did come back and visited us! We now have friends from across the globe who are also willing to host us if needed. Not only did we make friends, but through them, we learned a lot about their culture, how everyone has a story to tell, how, despite our differences, we had a way of connecting with each other, that truly, kindness and mutual respect can bridge through gaps.




"What if they steal your stuff?"

  • Keep valuables secure at all times. Thieves can be anyone.

"Isnt that risky?"

  • Yes, but risk is always involved with anything. For me, the risk is worth the experience! Glad no one has turned out to be a serial killer yet. LOL.

"But I have no extra room"

  • All of my guests have stayed in our living room using mattresses! I always inform them about it beforehand and they're totally fine with it. Experience is what they are after, not comfort.

"But I'm shy"

  • I am, too! Trust me. But Couchsurfing has definitely helped me gain confidence. Plus guests always have awesome stories to tell, it's so hard not to interact!





We may have offered a space in our home and a portion of our time for free, but the experiences we shared with them are priceless

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Aaah this was heartwarming! :) What a unique way to learn about different cultures.

How do you communicate with the foreigners? Do you (and they) just speak in English?

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Definitely! It's just like we traveled to a different country, too. We also hosted a couplefrom Brazil :)
Most of the ones we hosted speak English well, but some, can also speak basic English. Even so, we still vibed like we can understand each other perfectly. Haha.

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Wow, you've hosted some Brazilians, too! :D

This reminded me of some news during... I think it was either the World Cup or the Olympics here in Brazil, where Brazilian restaurant workers who didn't know any English succeeded in tending to the foreigner customers. Not saying it was easy, but they still managed it. It's a wonder how sometimes people that don't know much of the language can manage well on their own... sometimes even better than us who studied it! XD Where there's a will, there's a way :P .

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At first look, language is considered a barrier in connecting with someone speaking a different language but it really isnt. Connection is way more than that. It speaks not only through language, but through expression, through actions. And yes, not easy but fulfilling in the end!

Okay, so the whole idea of couch surfing sounds really neat. If I didn't have children, I would definitely consider offering a room in my home to travelers. I don't think we live in that much of a tourist town really, but you never know the people you'd get to know just by renting out a bedroom!

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You should try it out sometime @keciah! Your children might learn a lot from your guest, plus it will be such a fulfilling experience, being able to welcome someone without any expectations :)

This is what traveling should be like: getting to know others, getting to know about their culture, sharing the experiences and just having a good time! I'm very happy to read about your post. If I don't have a baby to take care now, I might have signed up to couchsurfing right here and then. I've always wanted to do this stuff. I'll be on the look out for your next blog. Cheers!!!!

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Traveling like a local sure is the best way to experience the culture firsthand! Thanks for taking the time to read, @filnette! Do consider CS in the future, you'd never know what kind of memorable experience you'd get out of it :)

Great Post, @dubmenikki, it's something I could do!

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Good to hear, @rlt47! Do share your experience once you've tried it. Excited for you!

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@dubmenikki - I sure will :))

That is awesome. I am going to have to look into that. I have been hosted many times by strangers in various countries. May be time to return the favor.

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Awesome! Do share your experiences too. Im excited for you!

Okay, I'm following you now. This is a great well-written article and you opened my eyes to something I had no knowledge of.
I upvoted your initial post but now you've got me hooked and I want to see more from you.

Joe
@joe.nobel
science fiction, fantasy, erotica
check out the some posts, no obligation to upvote or follow
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This warms my heart! Thank you, thank you <3 Hope you too could try hosting travelers in the future!

Heyy this is awesome @dubmenikki. I've used Couchsurfing while travelling a bit myself and have just started hosting people in the last few months since getting my own place.

Hosting people creates a lot of interesting experiences. Since I live alone and I just host one person, you get to know each other really well.
It's amazing that you have such a large crew that your guests interact with, it looks like so much fun!

Thanks for the post, it inspires me to write about my own Couchsurfing experiences.