On Couchsurfing

Since I live in the Phoenix area (my wife has a condo there) and work in Tucson during the week, I’ve been couch-surfing with friends during the work week for the last year. This has allowed me to not need to get a separate apartment, thus saving hundreds of dollars a month. In exchange for housing, I maintain my friend’s cars, computers, and do other such tasks. So far, it’s worked out pretty well for both parties.
Imagine my interest when I discovered CouchSurfing.org. In essence, it consists of people willing to provide a place to sleep for others. It’s not meant to be permanent, but is geared towards a similar group of people as those who stay in hostels whilst traveling. Hosts and visitors have a profile page which also includes reviews from other CSers, so one can be reasonably assured that they’ll not inviting in an axe murderer or crazy person. Very cool concept, and something that my wife and I will take advantage of when we move to Europe and travel frequently.
Hostels are inexpensive and nice (for the most part), but you don’t really get a feel for the people of an area in most cases. With CS, one actually stays with a local (or is a local and hosts a traveler), and so can get a much more in-depth feel for the people and culture in an area. Very cool.