The BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation – made a simple video that explains the benefits of couchsurfing, or living for free in people's homes.
"Couchsurfing," as described in this BBC* video, is sleeping for free on the couch of a new friend you met on the Internet.
As the economy falters and the era of cheap travel ends, BBC’s Howard Johnson reports that couchsurfing is an increasingly popular and cost-effective form of travel for backpackers and vacationers alike.
How Couchsurfing Works
Couchsurfers from around the world post their details on an online social media site (e.g., www.couchsurfing.org), which links them up with others in the couchsurfing community. These members let traveling members stay in their homes free of charge, and the favor is often returned in the future.
According to Brian, a backpacker from California, couchsurfing presents a unique opportunity.
“You save a little bit of money,” he says, “but really what you get is a local taste of the culture, the hospitality. And you really get a better feel for the city.”
In Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities of the world, couchsurfing can be an excellent option for the money-conscious backpacker. In the video, Shotaro, a Tokyo resident, describes his criteria for selecting a couchsurfer.
"There must be pictures and reference(s), other people's comments," he said. "The most important thing is to share in the idea of couchsurfing."
Johnson concludes by affirming the value of couchsurfing as a means of gaining direct insight into a new culture.
Thank you, BBC, for a simple and clear explanation of couchsurfing!
Note: Couchsurfing.org is a social network of international friends, and you can use it for more than scheduling couchsurfing stays. For example, you can find and meet new friends who live nearby, such as in the neighboring county or city, and get together for coffee.
* BBC – The London-based British Broadcasting Corporation's main responsibility is to provide impartial public-service broadcasting in the United Kingdom. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, by number of employees.