Upon doing research for our ultimate list of travel resources, I came across many websites that did the same or similar to Couchsurfing. The majority of travellers have probably heard of Couchsurfing by now. It is a community website that allows you to connect with locals. It allows locals to offer up their couch or spare bed to travellers in order to share a cultural connection. Couchsurfing has been going since 2004 and is by far the most popular of all hospitality exchange websites. Although it isn't for everyone and can be hard to get your ratings up so that you can score that experience. But how about those Couchsurfing alternatives! There are many similar and I have listed 20 great Couchsurfing alternatives below. Some are niche sites and others are paid, whilst some stay free. If you have any you want to be included in this list, please get in touch.
Great Couchsurfing alternatives
BeWelcome is an open source, non-for-profit Couchsurfing alternative. Much like Couchsurfing, it is a community and forum as well. The website is operated via volunteers and according to Wikitravel the website is currently financed by donations of €1,700 per year and has annual operating expenses of €4,200 per year. So if we want to keep this great non-for-profit website running, check it out and support. BeWelcome has an emphasis on sharing rather than freeloading.
Servas is more then just a hospitality exchange website. "Servas is a worldwide cooperative cultural exchange network of travelers and hosts working together to foster peace, goodwill and mutual respect". The key here is the emphasis on world peace and cultural exchange. They use hosting and accomodation sharing to promote this. There are fees to this website, starting from $0 with a suggeted donation to $99 for a one year membership. I do not think this is so bad considering.
Servas was established in 1949, making it the oldest and original on this list. Servas also ensures that all members are interviewed before joining. Safety is key, as is cultural exchange, and an interest in world peace.
Currently as I write this post they have 34,000 members. Trustroots was founded in December 2014. "We want a world that encourages trust, adventure and intercultural connections. Much like the above Servas, Trustroots focuses on trust, safety and creating connections. Built by a small team of activists who felt that the world of sharing is being taken over by corporations trying to monetize people's willingness to help each other. Trustroots is also a free and open source platform.
They have also just created a separate app that allows people to share their live location on the map. Great for hitchhikers - and drivers looking to pick up hitchhikers. We'd like to see people come up with new innovative apps using building on our platform
Okay, so the website takes me back to the 80's and could use a revamp. Whilst the website does look very dated, please don't let this turn you off, it does the job. This is the second widest hospitality network, with nearly 400,000 members. The interesting thing with this website is that it was founded/started in 2000 - where Couchsurfing started in 2004.
Warm Showers is a community of bicycle tourist and people who support them. Essentially, a travel social network but for cycle enthusiasts - This is the perfect website for people like Lina and Per who are cycling around the world - This is one of the websites I came across when researching for our ultimate travel resources.
Currently, at the time of writing this artcile, they have 119,484 members in 161 different countries and 72,734 hosts. What are you waiting for? Join up, get on your bike and cycle around the world.
GlobalFreeloaders.com is an online community, bringing people together to offer you free accommodation all over the world. This website is quick to get to the point! No forums, groups, guides/rules. Simply focused on finding a place to stay for free. With over 46,000 members, this website has an unusual feature of being able to send accommodation requests to multiple members in one go. This saves time but does make the platform less personal.
LGHEI (stands for Lesbian and Gay Hospitality Exchange International) started in 1991. The free-accommodation network is aimed solely at gay travellers. The annual fee is €30 (£24), which grants access to a members' directory. Guests are expected to limit requests for hospitality to two nights.
An online hospitality exchange organization that offers homestay for travellers. Hosts can offer their homes and show Travelers how Locals live.
The Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club is a homestay travel network for people 50+. It's the modern take on the B&B. The focus is on making friends. Get insights from your host on the local treasures. You get world-wide travel lodging for FREE + a small gratuity to your host ($15/day). By joining, your guestroom is added to the network of nearly 2,000 homes. Yearly membership is $75 (which pays for itself in what would be spent on one night at a hotel). The club helps seniors travel by providing a high-quality alternative to expensive, impersonal hotels.
Join the large community of open native locals and travellers. This website offers the chance to hook up with locals in order to help them practice their language skills. In exchange you stay with them for free. Much like a couchsurfing but with an emphasis on the local host getting some benefit.
Other options include house exchange, volunteer work for accommodation and house sitting. Stay tuned for our large blog post on those travel ideas or check out our ultimate travel resource list. Also if you join our free online community for female travellers, you can always make friends and stay with locals. Or use our House swap/exchange forum to see what connections can be made. And it is all FREE.
Looking for another option?