Is couch surfing online viable?

Hi all,

I’ve just spent a couple of hours reading through the Couchers forum. I’m not convinced that any couch surfing site will work long term. I invite everybody to comment on that statement as, on the contrary, I am keen to see it work.

I think that one could argue that CS was a fad that won’t stay the course any longer. The success of WWOOFing, Servas and other very successful exchange programs, is their requirement for payments to fund a strong safe system and one where all members abide by the values of that exclusive community.

Where couch surfing sites are potentially failing today is in not realising that those people travelling for free, and the people wanting cultural exchange via hosting without paying, are most likely not wanting to be restrained by rules, policies, $'s and walls of cybersecurity. We want freedom. Well, using an exchange site isn’t conducive to a free life where one can be flexible, non-committal and just get around on a few pennies.

The true way of travelling on the skimp is to not use technology and simply talk, meet and offer yourself in person as a hardworking, trusting and affable person.

I wonder now if we can just open our hearts to travellers that arrive in town by communicating our open homes via noticeboards in community hubs. It feels more real.

Hmmm… my thoughts aren’t entirely cohesive, but it seems that angst and insecurity has replaced goodwill in the organised online couch surfing communities.

Please, fire away with your thoughts. I very much look forward to a discussion around the viability of couch surfing online.


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An hospex site is exactly the equivalent of a noticeboard in a community hub, just that you have not to go physically there to post and read.
The thing that i see differently in that in hospex sites the promoter are most of time scared people, that claim to be open but are not. So they made a lot of safety teams that nominally are to protect innocent people, but really are to keep the control of their creature, blocking all different opinions in forum and threatening users (do you remember CS and disappearing accounts?) ; keeping right to read private messages.
So people use it but just as the pole to where attach a message, and feel safer if they have contact “out of band”.

Interesting… I’m not really digging into the area like this and thanks for the extra websites and communities, and yes I have also found one and was thinking maybe Workaway can work with Couchers_org, the website of Workaway have strong purpose-based hosts with the security that the free website run by the volunteers couldn’t replace of, maybe it’s ok to charge a little bit and make sure everything goes well under reasonable restriction and control.

I think travel is hardly to be free in our current tech (so no such thing as traveling for free unless you live on a continent and also find a way to stealth through the borders right), so I’m not really mind to pay a little bit on the communication and the information I need.