By air, land and couch cushion

Molly Cahill

Where sites like Facebook and MySpace are for keeping in touch, is a place for people from all over the world to meet and find a place to crash for the night. Joining is free and members are under no obligation to let other couch surfers stay with them. But for those traveling on a budget or who want to experience more local culture, the website can be a great resource.

“[I] did a few trips and, I mean, you go to these big cities and you just kind of experience the normal tourist thing, but with CouchSurfing, you get to meet locals,” said Adria Moyer, senior architecture major. “I thought that to be a really interesting perspective.”

With members from 230 countries and more than 67,000 cities, has become the world’s largest hospitality exchange network.

If there is a city or country you want to visit, there will likely be another member with a couch for you to sleep on.

“No matter where you are or where you go there’s always this couch surfing community waiting for you,” said Micah McKelvey, senior architecture major. “It really links you to a place where you might be visiting. Like normally, I guess, when you travel somewhere you’re like a tourist and you don’t really feel any connection to anybody, couch surfing offers that.”

For many members like Michael Hutchinson, senior managerial marketing major, the website is not just about finding a place to stay.

“The community is not just about going traveling,” Hutchinson said. “It’s also a very tight-knit group of people that like to hang out and do stuff. There’s a group in Akron, there’s a group in Cleveland, and they do events like every month, sometimes twice a month where people just get together, just hang out.”

Getting involved isn’t hard. You can sign up to travel, to host other travelers or even just to meet up for coffee.

Hosting is also a good way to get started if you’re uncomfortable staying with strangers, and you have complete control over who ends up on your couch.

“Initially, I was kind of hesitant about it, because you really are hosting these people that you don’t even know in your house. But it was amazing. The nicest people,” Moyer said. “And you kind of have the chance to look through people’s pages and see what they’re interested in.”

One of the site’s aims is to spread tolerance for diversity and create a way for people all over the world to meet and make meaningful connections with each other.

It creates a way for people from all walks of life to experience things and meet people they never would have had a chance to know otherwise.

For Matthew Beebe, senior general studies major, CouchSurfing is a way to share cultures.

“This website has a feeling of bringing more people together, you know, and the more people that learn about different culture, the more accepting we’re gonna be of other cultures,” he said.

Contact Molly Cahill at [email protected].