Membership in the organization is free and is obtained simply by registering on the website. The core activity of the organization is exchange of accommodation. Acting as a host, a member offers the possibility of accommodation at his or her leisure; it is not required, but obviously it is encouraged. Acting as a surfer (guest), a traveller may search for and request accommodation at his or her destination. Accommodation is entirely consensual between the host and surfer, and the duration, nature, and terms of the surfer's stay are generally worked out in advance to the convenience of both parties. It is also expected to be free; no monetary exchange takes place except under certain circumstances (e.g. the surfer may compensate the host for food).
And so I decided to log on, fill out a profile. I don’t need a couch to sleep on, but community members are also people who are willing to meet you for coffee or whatever, if you are in their general area. So last night, I went out for drinks with
There are three methods to ensure security and trust, which are all visible on member profiles for potential hosts and surfers to see prior to arranging anything with each other:
- Personal references, which hosts and surfers could leave for each other at their option after having used the service.
- An optional credit card verification system, which allowed members to "lock in" their name and address by making a credit card payment and entering a code that CouchSurfing mails to the billing address. This also allows CS to recuperate some costs by requiring a fee for verification. For fairness the verification fee is based on a sliding scale, taking into account the Purchasing power parity and Human Development Index of the country of residence.
- A personal vouching system, whereby a member that had been vouched for — originally starting with the founders of the site — might in turn vouch for any number of other members he or she knew or had met through CouchSurfing, and trusts.
Also, the organization is registered with the IRS, and is listed as a non-profit. It does lend credence. Just have a look at wikipedia. It's quite detailed research.
For more information: www.couchsurfing.com
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !