Couchsurfing Is Awesome

Couchsurfing is not even a strange thing anymore for a lot of travelers, who want to save a few bucks for their trips or simply meet other travelers. To me Couchsurfing is awesome since it delivers such brilliant experience for both hosts and Couchsurfers.

To those who don’t know what it does. Here’s a simple explanation: It gives travelers a chance to stay with locals (hosts) or meet other travelers. If the locals have unused space in their house/flat/apartment, they can offer it to travelers. That means free roof to sleep under. Sounds pretty cool, right? Couchsurfing is awesome,  

During my trips in India, which lasted for exact 2 months, I visited 15 destinations across the country and Couchsurfing helped me in 9 places, which was more than a half. That also means that I saved more than 50% of the money for accommodation. Spending less doesn’t mean fewer experiences. In fact, it even gave me some memories of a lifetime. Today I will tell what I got from my excellent Couchsurfing experience in India.

Okay so, here are some of the best things it gave me, aka why I say it is awesome:

Couchsurfing is awesome because some of my hosts took me around the city on their bike/car

Well, even after their hectic day at office. My first destination in India was Hyderabad, and I was hosted by V. He was a very calm and smart person. I stayed with him for 2 nights. His working day started around 10 a.m and ended at 8 p.m. In spite of it, he offered me a night sightseeing “tour” around Hyderabad and showed me the lively city. He was my first Couchsurfing host, and luckily my first experience got to be the good one   We came back after dinner and some ice-cream.

My host in Bangalore, Saqeer, even spared some time from his work and took me around. If it hadn’t been him, Bangalore could have become my least favorite city in India.

Even if they couldn’t show you around, Rafikul and Jenny helped me with what to see, where to go and how to move around in the Kolkata. Such lovely couple 

The other time when I was in Sambhal – a small city of 2 hour bus drive to the east of Delhi, I was hosted by my friend, Asad, who I met one year back in Vietnam. He took his scooter and drove me around his city as well. Without them, I would have missed many things.

Couchsurfing is awesome because some of my hosts also gave me free meal

I admit, the hospitality of Indian people made me feel so special. If you go eating out with them, the high chance is that they won’t let you pay for the meal. “You are my guest” was what my hosts usually told me, insisting to pay, even though I tried really hard to persuade them to let me pay for what I ate  

And if you stay with the host’s family, then they will mostly cook you some food as well. Free accommodation, free food. I couldn’t ask for more and thank them enough for your hospitality.

Couchsurfing is awesome because my hosts shared their stories with me, even the darkest memories

I spent the late afternoon with Saqeer (Bangalore) on the BTM Riverside. The sun was setting, creating a calm and peaceful view. He told me about his way of life, his dream and how he loved traveling and meeting other travelers on the way. We shared things.

And the story of my 17-year-old host named Ashish in Chandigarh, happened to be the story that I told myself to never forget. He was a teenage boy, not even 18 years old, with really long hair, as part of the Sikhism (religion). The story of his childhood was full of emotions. I felt so special to be the one to listen to it. So so glad he is enjoying his life now.

Later in Lucknow, my host, Prabhat, saved me from my last-minute request. He showed me his photos he took and I got to know how much he loved photography. He has recently opened a studio in the city and named it Tripathi Photography and Studio.

Couchsurfing is awesome because I met people all the times, sometimes a lot at once 

In Jaisalmer, the golden city of Rajasthan, I was hosted in … a hotel. Toffi runs a hotel, so I got a private room. Here I met the group of three  lovely friends who I first met in Udaipur, and many other travelers. We all together went on the safari tour, lying under the starry night in the Thar Desert, near the border of Pakistan. A bond was made. We became friends.

There was a married couple in Delhi, or should I call them Couchsurfing King Aditya and Queen Nisha   They are sharing their own home with around … 5 or even more travelers. It was truly amazing. Their house looked like a mini hostel. The only difference was no fee per night.

Again, in Lucknow, I met Abhinav, 32 years old. He didn’t host me but we agreed to hangout. We had lunch, spent the afternoon together and he knew how to get alcohol even in the first day of March. It’s the date of financial closing and there were some issues regarding the renewal of liquor license. Lucky me.

Couchsurfing is awesome because I got to do different things, things that I couldn’t get in a hostel

I was lucky enough to be invited by Asad’s friend (Sambhal) to his wedding. For the first time of my life, I got this experience, being in a Muslim wedding. His hilarious friends treated me so well. They even threw a secret party for me even though alcohol was a taboo in Islamic culture.

Other travelers usually asked me if I ever got a terrible Couchsurfing experience. I did hear some friends of mine had some bad time with it. By now I stayed with 9 hosts and hosted 2 couples, and I am so lucky that nothing bad has happened to me.

That’s how awesome it has made my nomad life. Spend less but gain more memories. Could I even ask for more?

If you are planning to travel, I recommend that you give it a try. The sign-up procedure is very easy and you can even sign in with your Facebook account. Post a public trip, reach out for trustworthy hosts, start the hangout, and make the best out of your trip.

The other time in Jaipur, I found myself hunting rabbits then waiting patiently in the dark on a container for the leopard to come and finish the pieces of meat we laid. Thanks to Waseem – my host and his squad. Such an amazing time

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