2013 marks the year where I vowed to travel more. Not only that, I made a promise to myself that from this year onwards I shall travel to at least one different country every year.
Easier said than done. Why?
Snag number One: Me no money.
Always a major problem. The solution is simple. Make more money. To make more money I've got to work. To work means to sacrifice time. Sacrificing time means sacrificing things in life. Sacrificing things in life means less fun. Less fun equals to BORING!
So you see my dilemma?
Snag number Two: So many commitments!
Financial commitments. Work commitments. Family commitments. Commitments to the two fat cats rolling around on my floor. Basically commitments that gets awfully jealous of me gallivanting across the world so they retaliate by coming at me in full force the moment I step on Malaysian soil.
Snag number Two: easily resolved. Time management is key. An awesome kick ass friend to feed the two fat cats would definitely come in handy (hint, hint).
Snag number One: well... if I still want to travel I have to find a CHEAP alternative way.
*drum roll* Introducing COUCHSURFING, the ultimate culture exchange phenomenon of staying with a host when travelling. Why couchsurf?
1) To meet locals
There are few things better than meeting local people when you travel. They can tell you the best places to visit, places to skip, they can help you plan the rest of your trip and hopefully you’ll create lasting friendships.
2) Free Accommodation
It might sound crass but let’s face it folks, free accommodation is free accommodation. In Europe, it’s $30 a night for a dorm so every night you couch surf is 30 bucks saved.
3) Escaping the tourist trail
The Lonely Planet is a great tool, I’ll never dispute that but when people start treating it like a bible it creates a tourist trail where people are effectively queuing up to experience the same things as the guy before him, and the guy before him. There’s no authenticity in that, CouchSurfing allows you to escape the mire.
4) Onward hookups
Another beautiful thing about the couch surfing community is the camaraderie. If you’re a good guest, it’s normal for your host to hook you up with another couch surfing host, either in that place or a neighboring place, and that in turn brings even more cool experiences.
5) Meeting people where you live
Travelers don’t get all the fun. Most cities have weekly couchsurfing meeting, often on Wednesday nights, where regular hosts and new people to the area meet-up. So if you’re new to a city, it’s a great way to immediately make new friends, or if you’re not new to the city, it’s a great way to open up your social group.