Wow I didn’t see that coming, did you?
If you aren’t aware what couch surfing is: Here’s copy of description from Wikipedia:
Couch surfing is a hospitality service and social networking website. The website provides a platform for members to “surf” on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home, host travelers, meet other members, or join an event.
I whole heartily believe Couch surfing has benefits for everyone involved.
When you are a Traveler: With Couch surfing, you can stay with locals in every country on earth. Travel like a local, stay in someone’s home and experience the world in a way money can’t buy.
When you are a Host or become one: With couch surfing, you can rediscover your own city, easily meet and make friends from all around the world. Cherry on top when same surfers host you in their country.
For All: There is couch surfing communities in most cities. Usually they will have some events or weekly language exchanges, dance classes, hikes and dinners on calendar. Everybody is welcome to join and have a great time together. Make new friends and make this world little smaller and more happier.
Sounds great yes?
Well I thought the same too and I have been a member for over a year now. I have many good and just a tiny bit of bad experiences but overall it works. Travel spirit among the hosts and travelers is amazing. It is a great community to learn from locals, travelers and share travel experiences at the same time.
However, its been awhile I hadn’t logged in and could vaguely remember reading about couch surfing charging fees. So, today I signed in to find out what all the fuss was about and first thing that came up was to Verify my account. While couch surfing, security and safety are my No 1 priorities. So okay I get it. I understand the importance of verification to check whether surfers and hosts have a verified payment method, home address or mobile no.
But how is that going to help weed out fake profiles or people who verify by providing false information? That should be a major concern! Is background check coming up next? how can you justify $28 AUD for subscription when all these years members have been using it all based on faith, friendship, trust and kindness? What benefits it adds to my travel when I couch surf or host? Oh and now every traveler has to pay confirmation fee every single time they want to surf unless they verify their account. Is this the real spirit of couch surfing mentality?
If you are reading this, I would like to know your thoughts.
Please comment below.