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On our visit to Granada we explored parts of the fortress, Alhambra, the Moorish part of the town, Albaicin, and strolled amid the Arabic Bazaar, Alcaiceria.

4 Pro And Cons Of Couch Surfing

    Traveling Europe for a couple of months and then the United Kingdom for half a year I figured, our budget wouldn’t last long if we’d stay in bed & breakfasts and hotels between our house sitting assignments. As we’d had a lovely experience couch surfing South Africa with a family in Durban, I wanted to give it a closer look couchsurfing UK and Europe despite the fact that most hosts were in their twenties.  

    Pros And Cons Of Couchsurfing

    Pro 1: Encounter hospitality and friends all over the world with couch surfing

    I don’t mind to sleep on the floor, a mattress or a couch and to bring our own bedding. I noticed that most profiles of the hosts revealed ladies and men between 20 and 25, keen to extend their clique and to go out to party with their guests. Figuring our kids wouldn’t want to hang out with some old dudes of 50 something either, I felt quite discouraged.

    Because we are early retired to travel the world, we travel on a budget. Other than with couch surfing, we kept the costs of our travels in Europe down mainly with house sitting. Check out here, how you can do it, too. We didn't have a house, so other offers like home swap wasn't an option. Many friends of ours travel cheaply by swapping their houses for stunning holidays all over the world. Find out more here!

    pros and cons of couchsurfing. couchsurfing amsterdam erfahrungen.
    Jan, our host, and personal tour guide in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    Get these essentials before you start your couch surfing adventure:

    Pro 2: Free accommodation and local guide in one go

    Couchsurfing England

    I wrote to several hosts in hospitality club, which seemed to be a more mature target group. But the sight looks quite unprofessional and there weren’t any responses initially, only after some weeks when we didn’t need accommodation anymore.

    As a couch surfer pro you’ll make friends all over the world!

    Pro 3: Meet fascinating people with broad interests

    Instead, we were invited to an informal lunch at the home of a friendly couple close to Norwich and a dinner in Cambridge in a living community of students quite similar to the TV-series of ‘Big Bang’ by members of the hospitality club. We were most impressed by the friendliness by this gesture.

    couchsurfing advantages and disadvantages

    Our host Zoe shows us around in Durham, England

    Pro 4: Live with locals and experience their culture

    Couchsurfing France

    Our first couch surfing experience in Europe was in Lille, France, at a townhouse of an interpreter and his family with his wife and two sons. “Wonderful, I have guests anyway when you’re here. Just come and join the party!” We had a great evening with lots of homemade Asian food and the whole neighborhood digging into it.

    Find out more about how to travel like a local!

    Cambridge. couchsurfing pros and cons.

    Our host and personal guide, Esme, introduced us to Cambridge

    Encouraged by this positive experience, I proceeded with our couch surfing UK adventure! On I filtered the hosts by age and YES! There were actually a few older hosts in the UK. But crap! Almost on the other side of the British Isles of where we wanted to stay! If we wouldn’t have been with our traveling Beagle, Vlou, the search results would have been a bit more as only a few hosts accept pets.

    Cons 1: Backbreaking sleeping conditions

    So, it was that we stayed on the west coast of England near Blackpool for our second couch surfing experience more than 100 miles away from our first house sit near Northallerton. Most probably we would have easily been able to pay a hotel for the additional transport costs with this detour. If we’d known we wouldn’t have decided this way as Blackpool is rather grubby as was our accommodation, to say the least.

    Cons 2: You don't meet each others expectations 

    After this one, we were very lucky to stay with a family with young kids in a house in St. Bees. The beach was just a stone throw away and the most stunningly beautiful place in England – the Lake District – only a twenty minutes drive to the east. We shared the cooking and could give them a little bit of relief as babysitters for an evening.


    Beautiful walks along the coast in Saint Bees

    Another family in Durham accommodated us for three nights. We had some precious evenings with the children in their teens, mother, and fathers of the children and grandparents as well. A not very con-formative but nevertheless a most affectionate family.

    Couchsurfing Advantages And Disadvantages

    We are still in contact with our last hosts which showed the previous ones, that there are also younger people which like to hang out with Grey World Nomads. Being between thirty and forty they were just about to head on an adventure themselves for a few months. They’d rented their house and quit their job to discover Canada by WWOOFING (volunteering on organic farms). They’d already packed up a lot of their stuff. It’s great to follow their travels on their blog The Roaming Fen Tiger!

    Update: I’ve just heard about a new platform called Hippohelp, it’s a similar website as WWOOF. I’ve not tried it myself but it might be worth a look if you’re interested in working in exchange for food and accommodation. The platform is free to use.

    Cons 3: Higher transport costs dictated by location

    Couchsurfing Netherlands

    Leaving the Brits for the Netherlands by ferry we stayed first near Delft, a quaint town famous for its delft blue paintings on old dutch crockery. Our host wasn’t at home the first evening but that didn’t stop her from offering us her house and surprising us with a laid table and soup. Awesome! Surprisingly our host’s sister had just returned from a trip to Iran where she had found some couch surfing opportunities.


    Too far away in the grubby town of Blackpool

    Couchsurfing Pros And Cons: No gain no pain!

    In Amsterdam, it’s good to have a local guide. So, what’s better than to be guided by your host who offers you his bikes and his knowledge as well? We were staying only a 10-minute walk from the old city center of Amsterdam and even so our host was able to find our free parking!

    Cons 4: No privacy

    Couchsurfing Germany

    Our last two couch surfing experiences so far were in Germany along the quite touristy, well-known Romantic Road. The first hosts, a young couple, she expecting her first child, their home a former café with plenty of toilets to choose from.

    The second host was living on his own near the walled old town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in a beautifully renovated farmhouse with plenty of space to accommodate guests.  With both hosts, we had most interesting discussions with insights of the German culture which we’d otherwise never have had.


    A short drive away from Saint Bees, the Lake District

    Couchsurfing Spain

    For our future plans we’d love to learn about couch surfing Spain, and experience local culture by couchsurfing Granada in Andalucia.

    All in all, we think the advantages of couch surfing beat the drawbacks. With enough time, appreciation and interest for your hosts, it’s in proper and metaphorical sense a priceless experience. Just keep in mind that you need to charge your batteries in between to keep up with your hosts!

    Add here your own profile and start being a host or a couch surfer yourself!

    Thank you, dear hosts, for your couch and comfortable beds, lovely meals, and enjoyable company!

    Take a look! This may be worth a closer look before you head off couch surfing:

    Find more World Nomads Travel Tips


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