The website mentions it: we have friends all over the world, we just haven’t met them yet. Couchsurfing is a Big way to travel and explore our world.
In 1999, a young student named Casey Fenton booked a cheap flight to Iceland from Boston. Being on a restricted budget, he emailed roughly 1’500 students of the University of Iceland asking for a place to stay. On his way back, he started thinking of building the idea of couch surfing…
Founded in 2004 and sold to the private for-profit corporation Better World Through Travel in 2011, the website provides a platform for members to “surf” on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home or a host travellers. Named after a song by Bran Van “couch surfer” in the 90′, ambassadors all over the world hold the key to the hospitality.
The subscription is free of charge as is the couch you will stay in or you will offer to a friend you haven’t met yet.
But as every idea can become Big, in 2013, Couchsurfing reached over 6 million users, changing his statue from non-profit to profitable. 1st members reacted loudly, feeling that their friendly soul had been sold. Some of them even joined BeWelcome, a European non-profit website.
Even though the financial devil got involved, (may we however specify that managing and maintaining such a big database can be pretty expensive), Couchsurfing remains a Big idea which we’re still very fond of and a way to travel with the Big attitude.
Photography © Christophe Dillinger