23 August 2012 by mmmaddie
On the beach of Lake Michigan right now soaking up some August rays before the summer ends and I head out to Colorado. It got me thinking about all the fun times I’ve had here on the coast of Lake Michigan showing Creekside Cottages Couchsurfers around this summer.
For those of you unfamiliar of Couchsurfing let me introduce you, the Couchsurfing website is a good friend of mine. Simply put, it is a social network for travelers who want to meet locals and save money; also for the locals willing and wanting to open their homes to meet travelers passing by. But it’s so much more : it’s a way for people to gain information, meet amazing people, learn countless new things, share what you have to give, have contacts all over the world, get inspired, show off what you love, find people to travel with and see the local side when traveling. These are just my experiences with the website and it has given others all around the world the same and more benefits.
So how it works is: as a traveler looking for a couch to surf, you go on and search for hosts in the area you are headed to. Then browse through the different host profiles, find ones you are interested in, send couch requests and wait for a host to reply. Also, a newer option is to send out a general request that shows up on all the people in the area you are going to letting them know you are coming so they can invite you themselves.
I used this general request as a way to gain advice from the locals of Crested Butte, Colorado. I got lots of advice on best times to move out there, help with job finding, what are the best jobs on the mountain and as well as invites to stay with them when I first get into town.
It has really benefited Creekside Cottages since a majority of our hostel guests have come to us through the website. Being a business, we can’t have everyone staying for free every night. We have offered Couchsurfers one night free, and if they wish to stay on, then they can either work for accommodation or pay for the rest of their stay. We made it clear to them that it’s completely fine just the one night and let them know we don’t use the website just to get their money but to bring in travelers to our new hostel to bring the energy. I am so glad with all the couchsurfers who came through it really gave Creekside a “hostel feel”.
All I have to say about couch surfing are good things. I think it’s an amazing network that has done so much connecting the travelers to the locals. I definitely recommend checking it out.
(watch the many videos they have to get more of a feel of what it’s all about)