Couch Surfing

Happy Travel Tuesday! My name is Marcella and I blog over at WhatAWonderfulWorld. I’m a

Londoner who loves to blog about travel and photography. Today I’m sharing my

feelings on CouchSurfing while travelling.

Rewind to summer 2009.

One evening I got a text from a friend, which read something like this…

‘I’m walking to the bus station to meet a girl who is coming to stay at our flat for

the night.  We’ve never met before’


‘It’s called Couchsurfing.  Look it up.’

These words opened up many doors over the next few years!  When receiving the text I

was in the process of planning my 5 month trip to South America.   I clicked onto the Couchsurfing website and spent many hours

searching through the website looking at profiles.  I also created my profile; with just my

For those of you who don’t know; CouchSurfing is a website where you advertise your

couch/bed/mattress/floor for travellers to sleep on for a few nights.  You send requests to

hosts and afterwards leave reviews for your hosts.  The idea being that you get to see the

‘real’ country/ city by staying with locals and getting to know the culture.


Anyway, fast forward a few months.  I met up with an old school friend, who loves

travelling as much as I do, and we got onto the topic of CouchSurfing.  I said I’d heard of

it and had looked at the website.  He raved about it and said that he had surfed around

many countries.  Now I’d had two raving reviews to use Couchurfing.  So that evening I

went home and completed my profile – added information about me and pictures.  I then

began searching for couches in Rio.

My first stop on my 5 month trip was Rio during carnival.  I knew that carnival was

going to be a VERY busy time for Couchsurfers so I sent off around 4 requests to hosts.

The next day I received a message back from a host saying they’d be happy to host me.

At the same time I was looking on the group for Rio and saw a post from Kelly asking if

anyone was interested in travelling around after carnival.  I hit reply. As if by fate Kelly

had also messaged the same CS host I was staying with.  We chatted on Skype and

planned a few places to go after carnival.

In February 2010 Kelly and I met at Rio airport and headed to our CS hosts place.  She

was hosting another 6 CSers at the same time; I told you carnival was busy!  A few days

later she said we could stay with her friend, another CSer from Rio, as she was heading to

her mum’s house.  Our next CS host was hosting 8 CSers in total from all over the world.

He had keys cut for all of us.  During carnival he took us to all the local parties and street

parties.  Ones that we would have never know about without CS.


After carnival was finished we travelled to two other

places in Brazil; Florianópolis and Porto Alegre, where we were hosted by

amazing hosts.  Brazil was the start of my love for Couchsurfing and seeing the ‘real’

country with locals.  I was addicted!

During the rest of my travels I met many CSers who showed me local places, shared food

with me, gave me advice etc.  I then also surfed two couches in Paris later that year.

When I then moved to Chile at the end of 2010 it was my time to finally pay back for all

that my CS hosts had done for me; it was my turn to host.  I was so excited!  I kept this

up while living in England.  In total I have surfed ten couches and I have hosted nine

groups of people too.  Life got quite busy and so weekends became full up and hosting

slowed down but i’m itching for CS again!DSCF1186 DSCF1519 DSCF1529 DSCF1711 DSCF4180

Have you ever Couchsurfed? What do you think about it?  If you’re in doubt, I couldn’t

recommend it enough!

Happy Surfing!


  • Diana

    those quesadillas (or taquitos whatever you wanna call them) look delicious!! I’ve never couchsurfed but because I think it’s not that easy for a family of three to cs.

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      They were great, we had then with one of our hosts :) I can imagine that would be hard, though there are lots of family friendly hosts too.

  • Andrea On Vacation

    I have never couchsurfed. It seems like a great option for little $ but honestly I’m nervous about it. I know I need to live a little :)

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      I’m glad I had two friends who recommended it, as I probably would have been too nervous to try otherwise :)


    I have also couchsurfed quite a bit, but I feel like CS had changed in the past year, probably because it’s quite well known of now, so a lot of people do it for the wrong reason – a free place to crash.
    I was actually in Ireland this weekend together with a friend who I got to know 1,5 year ago when he surfed at my place :)

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      I noticed that too! I always saw the fact it was free as a bonus, and definately not the reason I did it. That’s so cool – I have also re-met up with people who surfed my couch, it’s so fun :)

  • Jessi @2feet1world

    Wow that’s a really interesting read! I’ve never couchsurfed but I’ve never heard such rave reviews as yours. I like the idea of meeting the locals so directly though :)

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      It really is amazing! It made my travelling even better than it could have been :)

  • Cynthia

    This was such an interesting account! Sounds like you’ve had some amazing experiences with it! I think I would definitely give it a go if I was traveling solo, but most of the time I’m traveling with the fiance and we usually have our own agenda and things we want to do, so I wouldn’t want to be rude and not spend anytime with my CS host. We prefer work-staying instead I think because that way I don’t feel guilty when we want to spend some time alone and not with the hosts.

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      Thanks Cynthia! Work-stay sounds like a great way to travel too.

  • Julie

    I don’t think I would ever do it, but I have friends that have!

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      Thanks for reading Julie :)

  • Yvonne @ Lost with Yvonne

    I’ve heard quite a bit about couch surfing and it sounds like quite an idea when on a budget and wanting to save some money. But I find it a great idea during busy fiesta times considering most places are probably super expensive to stay at. I’m still not sure about doing it myself, but I’m sure one day I will definitely try it!

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      It is a good way to save, but that’s only the second reason I’ve done it. The first and most important is to have a really local experience, and I really did get that!

  • Dee @ A Deecoded Life

    I’ve heard about couch surfing, and I would want to try it if not for my possibly ridiculous fears of getting killed or robbed by the hosts (which probably never happens). Sounds like you had great experiences using CS, though!

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      I think a lot of people have fears about it, which I understand. But I’ve only had amazing experiences :)

  • Lo {Travel the Unbeaten Path}

    I’ve couchsurfed and hosted couchsurfers before (including in Paris!) and it was mostly a good time! There’s an unspoken code of conduct that NEEDS to be observed and followed by all parties for the experience to work. It’s definitely not for everyone!

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      Glad you’ve had s great time couchsurfing too :)

  • Rachel

    I haven’t couchsurfed yet, but I’m a member. I’m hoping to do it in some of the larger cities in South America. It seems like such a great way to actually meet locals rather than other travelers. I’d also really be into checking out local food and their favorite spots!

    • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

      Yay! Have a great Rachel :)