I have organized my last trips through Airbnb and so far I have not had bad experiences. I find it cheaper than a hotel and in certain cities the apartments cost as much as a hostel but they are much more private and independent. But before this popular tourist rental platform there were already others for budget travelers.
I speak of Couchsurfing, of course, but over time other similar sites have emerged such as Staydu, Hospitality Club, Global Freeloaders or Hitchhikers. They are all foreign sites and each one has its positive and negative points. Have you tried one yet? If not yet and you feel like travel without spending so much money are good options. Let's see which one suits your trip.
The idea of this social network is to be used by travelers on a budget who want to stay, travel and spend time with people from all over the world. Be it for work, money or free. It is motivated by the spirit of cultural exchange and it is a small community. You register and the adventure begins.
The site offers various types of accommodation so you can choose to stay for free, stay volunteering in some job or organization or drop in and stay one night. It does not have a very large database and records some complaints about the time it takes to respond to inquiries. The website is colorful and looks easy but in reality when you start browsing you realize that the information is not too clear and lacks elements that at this point are essential when conducting a web search.
I speak of filtros to perform our search by number of guests or by host, for example. The search then becomes somewhat heavy because you must directly read the profiles and note, either on paper or in mind, the advantages or limitations of each one. If you like it, you sign up and you have some privileges to be part of the community, and those privileges increase if you actively participate by leaving comments, reviews or posting articles for others.
It is impossible that at this point we do not know this social network because it was revolutionary when it emerged in the web market. It has had more publicity than the others so it has a very large database (about five million members), and comments and reviews by the dozens. It is an advantage and it is impossible to hide the negative points.
And which are they? Well here too they take a long time to respond and it seems as if the whole system is relaxed by others. But those that are well oiled in the machinery work wonders. Also, although the name refers us to a sofa in the living room many hosts offer their guests much more than a sofa: meetings, group outings, great cultural exchanges and of course, potential travel companions. It is also useful to obtain information to plan well your or your future trips, receive comments and recommendations.
But does something that is so big work just as well as it did in the beginning? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. But rather than malfunction, I believe that it works differently and that as it is one of the most famous cheap or free accommodation options in the world there are many people, many guests looking for a roof and not all find why the number of hosts is not the same. There is disparity between the two groups.
And what about the website and our user experience? Well it's more user friendlyIt has more filters that speed up the search, it works with a map and although you spend your good time searching, everything flows.
The community is very committed to the project and the hosts are very open people who is always ready to help. The idea is help travelers in everything, accommodation, sightseeing, plans, etc. One can join for free and members can visit each other's profiles, communicate with each other, and post comments and experiences.
The list of countries is quite large and the vast majority of the comments are positive, although one would not give a single euro when visiting the website. Has a crappy web design That repels you a bit and makes you doubt what you are going to find when someone opens you on the other side of the door. Seriously, I find it awful.
Here too web design fails. Who takes care of these things, please? In the XXI century! Nothing, not even an image that arouses your interest in taking a plane or writing to someone. It's basically about getting a place to land as a parachutist. And when it is, sadly, they take their time to respond. That just tells me trouble.
How does it work? It is a fast system because you do not have to communicate personally or individually with each host that interests you. Not only you write a general message explaining what you need to many hosts at the same time and wait for their responses. Quick, but obviously somewhat impersonal. And that is why I do not recommend it because it seems that the number of active members has dropped a lot. It's still working? Yes almost.
Is a collaborative site run by a community of hitchhikers, hitchhiking, all over the world. Knowledge and experiences of the world's routes are shared so if you like this type of adventure I seriously believe that you should give it a visit. The world is quite complicated nowadays to do this type of tourism so all advice is useful.
Advice on how to hitch a ride in each country, how to get around, where to move, which routes are the best, where they lift the most people and that kind of things that when hitchhiking travel are essential. There are articles in several languages, Spanish included, and you open tabs by categories: General Information, Best Tips, First Time, Safety, Where to hitchhike and contact others hicthhikers, so these travelers are told in English.
These are some options, not the only ones, to continue traveling the world with little money.