Hacks

My First Couchsurfing Experience

When I was on the airport alone, waiting my flight to Malaysia, my brain started firing panicky neural signals saying, “What am I putting myself into?!”

Packs are bagged, the plane’s ready, and I’m off to my first solo flight for the next six weeks. It was really terrifying since I have only been abroad once before. True enough, arriving at the Kuala Lumpur airport, it was terrifying to be in a place without friends to run to or even a lot of people who understood your language. Nobody really cares about me there at first.

As if that’s not enough, I made sure I did another thing that scared me (and my parents) on my stay in Malaysia: Couchsurfing. Backpackers do this all the time. Couchsurfing is a cheap form of lodging by looking for hosts in the country you are travelling in. It is also a community!

couchsurfing

The first time I met couchsurfers was in Penang, Malaysia. I was looking for people to tour me around the place. Basically, I posted in couchsurfing which goes something like “Anyone who would like to tour me?” and waited until someone offered to take me to Batu Ferringhi!

I ended up hiking to the beach with strangers and going around the museums in Georgetown. Was it scary? Yes. I could think of a thousand warning signs popping in my head like they could kidnap me or something. But nothing is ever absent of risk, so I stuck to my gut and tried it. I swum in an awesome beach with people almost twice my age, and learning more about Penang.

couchsurfing

As if that wasn’t enough, I mustered enough courage to try the “real” couchsurfing AKA staying over at a stranger’s place when I headed back to Kuala Lumpur, days before my flight home. Was it scary? Of course! I had all my belongings with me and I had to commute and find out where they live. Note that I’m the kind who forgets where she was the moment she steps out of the comfort room. But I found it!DSC_0331

Did I have a blast? O, yes! I had my own airconditioned room and bathroom. I stayed two nights in a condo overlooking the glistening city of KL, navigated around the city alone for two days, and met two interesting Australian couple who made me watch Spirited Away because they can’t bear the thought of me missing it (and also, who cooked literally the best homemade organic food I have ever tasted). It was exhilarating and liberating at the same time.

Without a doubt, Couchsurfing is terrifying and I would understand why other people would advice against it. I mean if I had a barely 21-year-old daughter sleeping over at a stranger’s place in a foreign land, of course I would worry. But I’m deeply glad I tried it. And for sure, this will not be my last time.

I’ll be posting some tips to “somehow” ensure a safe Couchsurfing experience. As I said, no form of getting out of your comfort zone is ever out of risk.

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Amae Guerrero
    October 19, 2016 at 11:24 PM

    Did you pay for the membership fee in couchsurfing.org? Would like to know. I was about to try it when I went to SG but I was kinda hesitant same on your worries that’s why I just booked on a cheap hostel. Haha

    Ps. I read your articles in MB in the lifestyle section, right? I worked in MB haha.

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 20, 2016 at 1:31 AM

      Hello Amae! Good to hear haha. I’m a contributor in Lifestyle and also Panorama. Nice to meet you!! 🙂 I didn’t pay for membership fee, and you don’t have to. I think generally SG is a good place to couchsurf. Just look through the profile of your host, and always have a plan B 🙂

      • Reply
        Amae Guerrero
        October 21, 2016 at 10:33 AM

        Thank you! I tried to use couchsurfing before heading to Singapore. But I only found one decent profile to couchsurf and they declined. HAHA. I also saw on your Facebook that you’re close with Ate toni. Met her on an org. haha Small world indeed

        • Reply
          Sam Coronado
          October 21, 2016 at 11:33 PM

          Wow! We’re super close lols. Small world. Happy to meet you! Tatanong kita sa kanya 😀

  • Reply
    Carola
    October 18, 2016 at 4:00 AM

    Wow, I love it that you did this. I had heard of couch surfing before. But hadn’t put too much thought in it. Never considered it as an option for me. But now I’m reading this, thinking why not? I agree, it’s terrifying. But it’s also a unique experience. Adventure!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 18, 2016 at 9:50 PM

      It’s awesome. Over the recent years, the CS community has been changing. It’s particularly popular among Europeans.

  • Reply
    mariaisquixotic
    October 8, 2016 at 6:12 PM

    I wished I am brave as you when it comes to Couchsurfing. I’ve heard of this from a friend of mine who becomes a host family for German volunteers. Oh and it’s in Legazpi btw. That friend also asked me if I wanted to become a host. I was really interested on hosting one yet my mom disapproved. I guess it could be beneficial since they became your host and hostess, if they would travel here, they might contact you for help as well. Plus you may travel some place else or connect with their friends abroad who are into couch surfing. I guess this has become a trend with travelers. 😀

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      October 9, 2016 at 11:21 AM

      I agree. But I also understand your mom’s concern haha. Even though I’m open about sleeping at other people’s places, I wouldn’t do the same for my own place 🙂

      • Reply
        mariaisquixotic
        October 10, 2016 at 3:01 AM

        Do you have some OC-ness in you? Hahaha. Because I would like to try couch surfing but will never ever do that to my future house. HAHAHA

        • Reply
          Sam Coronado
          October 10, 2016 at 11:54 PM

          More of introvertedness! Hahaha. I can’t have too many strangers on my space for more than 9 hours.

          • mariaisquixotic
            October 12, 2016 at 3:14 AM

            Oh. I see. Now, I want to know how do you travel; knowing that you’re an introvert. Because I have a friend who’s an extroverted introvert and Idk how that works or how it is. 🙁

          • Sam Coronado
            October 12, 2016 at 3:55 AM

            Hahaha! Super glad you’re curious… For me, it’s just that I only jive with certain people, which I notice are people who are authentic. Like even though they are extroverted, they’re showing their real selves and I can actually talk about deeper things with them aside from just laughing together. Even though I’m an introvert and I tend to be quiet in groups, it only means I don’t like my voice to be the dominant one within groups. I like to be quiet, but still converse with people. 🙂

          • mariaisquixotic
            October 13, 2016 at 1:18 AM

            Yes. I got curious since you’re a traveler introvert while my other friends were the artsy introverts. 😀 Oh. I see. Now, I want to meet you! Haha. I wanna know some how to’s and stories. 🙂 I sometimes become quiet when the crowd feels different and would weigh things first before I get to interact. 😀

          • Sam Coronado
            October 13, 2016 at 7:28 PM

            Do you attend blogger events? I usually don’t. But we can meet some time!!! 🙂

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Roselle
    March 20, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    I’ve never tried couchsurfing, but I’m commending you for doing it. At least you know how it feels to stay with strangers and I’m glad that you had a good experience.

    • Reply
      Sam
      March 20, 2014 at 4:22 AM

      True! It was not bad for a first time and being alone 🙂 It’s more of a backpacker’s way to meet new friends and get virtually free accommodation. Glad I tried it 🙂

  • Reply
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