Couchsurfing: A Gateway To Travel Enthusiasts For Global Adventures

Discover local friends via the Couchsurfing app, enriching your journey with their unique perspectives and experiences || Photo: Lufaiya Shammi

Discover local friends via the Couchsurfing app, enriching your journey with their unique perspectives and experiences || Photo: Lufaiya Shammi

In the whole world, there are countless travel enthusiasts who are exploring around the globe throughout the year. However, many times due to financial reasons, some people may not be able to travel despite their desire. To make traveling easier for travel enthusiasts, there is an application available worldwide, similar to a platform where all friends and acquaintances gather; its name is Couchsurfing.

Wherever you want to go, if there is a member of Couchsurfing there, you can seek their help for your travels. Budget travelers might prefer Couchsurfing as their first choice. Through this platform, you can stay with a host anywhere you go, or host a domestic or international traveler in your area. If you have a place to offer like a friend's place to sleep, then you can become a host. In being a host, the most important thing is to present detailed information about your home and the guest's staying place. They should know how their stay at your place will be like. If they feel comfortable, they will come to your place; otherwise, they will refrain from coming.

This facilitates many unexpected situations. Similarly, when you visit a host, it is essential to gather detailed information about them beforehand. You must read their profiles and references, and if there is any doubt, you should definitely inquire. References are descriptions of experiences from individuals who have stayed or interacted with them.

Finding a sudden friend among strangers in an unknown place is an amazing experience. And if it happens outside your country, then it's even more exciting. Across the globe, we have many friends whom we've never seen, or even know about. One of those Couchsurfing members could be that unknown friend for you. You can build a beautiful friendship with them based on your own qualities, enhancing your travel experience. They will show you all the unknown information about their area, its culture, language, arts, and people's lives, which you won't find in any feature, book, or blog. These friends become your local guides in every way.

While being on Couchsurfing, sometimes you might end up in luxurious arrangements, with many hosts providing private rooms for surfers. Some even arrange pick and drop services with their cars. Sometimes, you might only get a mattress to sleep on. But everywhere, you'll find some local friends who will enrich your journey.

In 2023, I traveled to India for a few months. During that time, I met and mingled with people and visited places that provided me with an amazing experience. Going to villages and cities in India, I became friends with the locals day by day. Many of them took me to local festivals and introduced me to everything local. I was asked about my experiences in reaching and traveling to India.

In 2022, when I was in Vellore, South India, for medical treatment, I was eager to explore some seaside places. However, at that time, I didn't have enough money, so I was looking for alternative options. That's when I came to know about Couchsurfing, and my interest grew. After creating an account, I learned more about Couchsurfing and received invitations from nearby surfers. There was a surfer in Vellore who was interested in meeting me. That's how for the first time, an unknown local person became my friend. They informed me about various directions in South India.

In the Couchsurfing community of Bangladesh, there are numerous active hosts throughout the country, with most of them being in the capital, Dhaka. Many people in Bangladesh are still unaware of Couchsurfing. Some only use it for free stays, but are not interested in hosting. Others are only interested in hosting foreigners. But Couchsurfing transcends religion or race.

I hosted my first surfer at a host's house in Ooty, India. At that time, a surfer from Kazakhstan couldn't find a host. They sent me a request, and with the host's permission, I invited them to stay with me. That's how my first hosting started.

Couchsurfing is a wonderful experience. Through it, I can learn about the social and cultural aspects of a country without even visiting it. Many surfers have traveled to many countries, and they have plenty of stories and experiences to share. They provide information not only about their own country but also about many other topics around the world. I always love hosting, as it adds a little flavor of traveling to my life in Dhaka.

Couchsurfing is a fantastic platform for budget travelers and those interested in local cultures to learn. So, you too can use this beautiful platform. However, references are crucial in Couchsurfing. Even though it's an open platform for travel enthusiasts, there are also some risks involved. So, you must use this app consciously and cautiously.

[This Article was originally in Bangla and translated into English by Tausif Ahmed]

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