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Forget about sleeping on couches: Use Couchsurfing For Meeting People When Travelling!

Couchsurfing is popular for travellers who want to sleep on someones couch (and for hosts who like meeting travellers on their couch!). But you can also use it if travelling and you want to meet up with people. It can be a great source of meetups and finding likeminded people to meet when travelling!

Introduction + What is Couchsurfing?

Couchsurfing is a website that is primarily aimed at people who either want to sleep on couches, or people who have couches to offer.

To some people this might sound really weird - especially the people offering their couch to strangers. But it is a big community of (often, but not always) like-minded people who like to meet people from different places and walks of life.

But the 'sleeping on a couch' isn't the only thing that Couchsurfing is good for. It is also good for just meeting people (and no sleeping involved at all!)

You don't need to sleep on a sofa (or offer your sofa) to meet people on Couchsurfing.

What kind of meetups are there?

There are two kind of meetups (ignoring the whole 'sleeping on a couch' which would lead to a small meetup of the host/surfer):

Regular, Organised Weekly Meetups

In most big cities there are people who organise regular meetups. These are not organised by the actual Couchsurfing staff, but by local members who like to organise things like this.

These are posted on the city 'Events' page. For example, the London events page:

Couchsurfing's London Event Page
Couchsurfing's London Event Page

The first event in the screenshot above is one of the regular organised meet ups. These will generally be every week, on the same day.

These meetups can be from a very small group (maybe 5) to over 100. It really depends on the city. Places like London will attract much larger numbers than less popular tourist destinations.

How to find the regular, organised weekly meetups

Often they will be in a pub or bar. It is often quite obvious where the couchsurfing group is. Sometimes they will have some kind of sign (or paper on a table) with the Couchsurfing logo. You can also often find it just by listening for foreigners speaking (almost always in English).

What to expect at the meetups

Often it is a mix of locals that live in the city (both expats and native locals - often in non-English speaking countries they use it as a way to practise English) and of course travellers. People hosting Couchsurfers will often accompany them to these meetups too.

In some (most of the larger meetups) they will be in a bar (or club) and have a discount for drinks. But check on the Couchsurfing event page.

Some tips:
  • Go on Facebook and search for "CITY couchsurfing", most bigger cities have their own Facebook group or page. They will often have a Facebook event for the meetup, which will often have more accurate numbers of who will be attending when compared to the event page on couchsurfing.com.
  • Be friendly! People are there to socalise. If you arrive and don't know what to do, just ask someone if they are here for the Couchsurfing group. If they are foreign (or speaking English in a non-English speaking country) then chances are if you are in the right bar at the right time, they will be there for Couchsurfing.

Smaller meetups, arranged on the city discussion page

Each city has its own discussion page. For example, the London one:

Couchsurfing's London Discussion Page
Couchsurfing's London Discussion Page

These are message threads posted by travellers. You can see people who want to meet up for a picnic, to go to the beach at Brighton, hiking and more.

Just post a message either on the day or a few days before, asking if anyone wants to meet up for a drink or go for a wander.

Tip: When contacting someone to meet up, leave your telephone number and get their number. The Couchsurfing website seems to go down quite a bit (or they seem to reset the database and lose messages), so always have a backup phone number to rely upon!

Thinking of staying with someone on Couchsurfing? Compare Couchsurfing to Airbnb, Hotels and Hotels (It is a blog post outlining the pros and cons of each)

Posted:
Thu 5th May, 2016

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How To Use Couchsurfing To Meet People While Travelling

By: Patrick

Patrick loves travelling, and has been travelling most of the year for over 10 years now. Now he shares his trips, tricks and advice here on CityGuide.Guru.

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