NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Over 6 million people list their property on the popular travel site Airbnb, but a free alternative has actually been around even longer. It’s called Couchsurfing.
“It’s a lot like an Airbnb but instead of a hotel or bed and breakfast you’re staying in someone’s house and in their living space,” said Arrie Tucker, who has been using the site for several years. “It’s really the option to immerse yourself in the community your visiting by staying with people who live there.”
The site has over 12-million users and launched back in 2004 when the founders were looking for affordable places to stay in Iceland. Now, people use it all over the world and here in East Texas.
“Maybe you are looking at SFA, but you want to see what the community is actually like, and you want to come stay with someone who lives here,” Tucker said. “You just set up your profile, and then you can look at other people’s and decide through their description if they would be a good fit to request their couch.”
With those concerned about safety, the vetting process goes both ways. Someone looking for a place to stay can contact a host, but the host has to also feel comfortable enough with the person crashing on their couch to give out their address.
“The kind of people who join Couchsurfing are those who want to create community with just about anyone they come in contact with.” Tucker said. “Not for life, like a family but maybe just creating a space that’s comfortable for a stranger, or for someone who needs a place to stay for the night."
To be clear, since the site Couchsurfing is free, the hosts don’t get anything in return for opening their homes except maybe a new friend and getting to help someone in need. For more information on couch surfing and a closer look at the safety features, click the link here: https://www.couchsurfing.com/about/safety/