Reviews from the road: Couchsurfing

This will be my last review from the road, as sadly, the road trip is over! Thanks again to everyone who posted suggestions of places to visit and sent me emails.
This review is not of a place, but a website and online community, Couchsurfing. From their website:

CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.

This trip was my first time ever trying Couchsurfing–I had never even heard of it. My travel companion had tried it though, so I trusted her judgment. Basically you set up an online profile on the site with information about yourself, and the idea is that the members will offer their homes (and couches) to surfers when they are traveling. People connect by emailing one another. There are built-in safety nets, which allow people to post reviews of one another (both the hosts and the surfers) so you can see how well-rated people are and look for any red flags.
We had a great experience couchsurfing in Asheville, NC. We connected with an awesome couple who let us stay with them, even offering us a bed in their roommate’s room and feeding us a yummy home cooked meal. There is no money exchanged, and people only bring gifts or offerings if they so desire. We bought the ingredients for the meal we shared and left them a nice note.
I highly recommend it, you can find surfers all over the country. I definitely felt more comfortable doing it with someone else (both for the awkwardness factor and for safety), but I think it’s a great way to travel on a budget and meet cool people.
Anyone else ever tried Couchsurfing?

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