Is Couchsurfing Still Right For Us?

It’s no secret that we love Couchsurfing. We’ve used it for free accommodation all over the US, Europe and Asia, and likely saved hundreds of dollars in the process. Of course, one of the best parts of Couchsurfing is having the ability to meet awesome people from all walks of life. Singing French men, Italian chefs, scholars and teachers, writers and videographers—we’ve had some pretty memorable experiences with diverse and interesting people all around the world. Meet a few of our generous Couchsurfing friends who have previously welcomed us into their homes:     While we consider ourselves to be free-accommodation-snagging pros, recently we found ourselves doubting if Couchsurfing was still a good option for our travel style. Guesthouses are inexpensive in Asia, and if we’re being completely honest here, we really, really enjoy having our own space. A place where we don’t have to worry about the stench of our cycling clothes infiltrating the living area or tripping around in the dark for fear of waking someone up or coinciding our arrival time with that of our host. Even though we often have our own room when Couchsurfing, sometimes that extra bit of freedom is greatly appreciated. Especially when it comes for just $7 a night. We also have some new factors to balance with traveling, namely this whole working thing. We aren’t the first and we certainly won’t be the last travel bloggers who lament about balancing work and travel. It’s all extremely new to us though, and while we are optimistic about what the future holds, we have so much to learn about being ‘location independent’....
The No-Nonsense Travel Guide to Hong Kong

The No-Nonsense Travel Guide to Hong Kong

Why Go? Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city, featuring luxurious hotels and unsurpassed fine dining. We expected to find an overabundance of commercialization and skyscrapers, and not much more. While we certainly did find those things (is there really a need for a shopping mall at nearly every metro stop?) we were also pleased to discover Hong Kong and the rich, unique, and at times chaotic experience it offers to travelers. Vestiges of British control, traditional Chinese culture, and a large international presence mix together throughout the metropolis; the result is a strikingly unique culture that promises moments of pure delight. While at first the city might appear overwhelming and exhausting, take a moment to step back and enjoy the energy that is Hong Kong. Here are our travel tips to get you started.   Getting In: Unless you are travelling from China or Macau, you’ll probably be arriving in Hong Kong via air. Its importance as an international hub in Asia means most major and budget airlines have connections at the Hong Kong International Airport. Once you arrive, there is an Airport Express Line on the MTR (metro) that connects the airport to Central, Kowloon, and Tsing Yi. It is a bit pricy at HK $100 (one way) but extremely efficient. For budget travelers, there are numerous buses that will connect you to most major areas in and around Hong Kong. For a complete schedule and routes, see the City Bus webpage.   Getting Around:  Hong Kong has an extremely thorough public transportation system. It’s easy to use, and by far the best way for travelers to navigate...

CouchSurfing Memphis

We LOVE CouchSurfing. We love it so much that even though we have already written about it once, we feel compelled to talk about it again! We recently stayed with Aaron of Memphis, the local CouchSurfing ambassador who has provided refuge to over 250 people from around the world. He loves CouchSurfing so much that he made sure his apartment had two bedrooms—one for him, one for his surfers. We were his first honeymooners, but he has hosted everyone from Elvis obsessors to BBQ buffs. On our particular visit Aaron had just finished his semester as a teacher, so he was free to offer his valuable services as tour guide of Memphis. He brought us to all the good sites such as the river walk (with a scale replica of the whole Mississippi River), Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination site, the Peabody Hotel (home to the most pampered ducks in the world), and the most entertaining lunch I’ve ever had. We finished off our time in Memphis with the Sunset Symphony. Eight dollars for entrance to music all afternoon, the Memphis Symphony and a Bar-Kays blues performance. Nothin’ like dancing to some Otis Redding with Memphians! Although tour books and websites can be great resources for travelers, there is nothing like the accompaniment of a local to show you around. That is precisely what makes CouchSurfing so perfect. You get to stay with real people who are proud of their home and know not only how to find the #1 tourist attraction, but also the lesser known gems that you might otherwise miss out on. Plus, a lot of...
Will Cook for Couch!

Will Cook for Couch!

We want to go ahead and thank everyone once again for all of the support in all our wedding/honeymoon/travel endeavors! The wedding is officially in 21 days (gasp!) and as the countdown continues we are still looking for a couple of favors! We are currently trying to finalize our road trip honeymoon but are finding ourselves homeless in some pretty populated areas. Here’s a current list of cities where we are hoping to find somewhere to crash. If you have any connections with couches please contact us. We’d greatly appreciate it, and we will cook in return for a couch May 22: Asheville, NC May 31- June 1: Oklahoma City, OK June 2: Albuquerque, NM June 10-14: San Diego, CA June 14-15: Los Angeles, CA June 16-19: San Francisco, CA June 21: Anywhere in Oregon June 22-25: Seattle, WA July 4-6: Chicago, IL We promise we’ll...
How To: CouchSurfing

How To: CouchSurfing

One thing you’ll probably hear us mention a lot in our blog is CouchSurfing.  It’s mentioned on the page The Road Ahead and is one of the major tools we will be using on our road trip.  So what is CouchSurfing? Basically one of the best ways to travel without paying exorbitant amounts on hotels.  Even hostel prices add up quickly when you are traveling for an extended amount of time.  CouchSurfing is an awesome way to get around that by finding couches (and many times beds) where you’re going and then crashing there for free.  The best way to get started is to check out the CouchSurfing site for yourself.  It is basically a social network that connects travelers with the locals.  You start by creating an account which then enables you to search through millions of users who have a place for you to stay. Why would anyone voluntarily let you come into their home for free?  If you go to the CouchSurfing website you will see that their motto is to create accessible travel for everyone while sharing inspiring experiences.  Their big goal is to spur worldwide connections between people in an effort to really make the world a smaller place. In our personal experiences, it really varies.  Some people want to host CouchSurfers as a way to learn more about other cultures.  Others want to give travelers tips and tell them about the best things to do and see in their city.  And some have CouchSurfed themselves and simply want to repay the favor by hosting other travelers.  But regardless of why people choose to...