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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Couchsurfing works if.....

    Quote Originally Posted by gorillabay View Post
    ... Couchsurfing (if it works, I have my doubts), and staying with family. In all I will probably stay with family about 40% of the nights.
    Couchsurfing works very well, so long as you take it as a two way thing. I have hosted many and been a guest just as often. Most were great experiences.

    A few questions:
    1. How long have you been a member?
    2. How many and how often do you attend couchsurfing functions or host?
    3. Have you applied to be verified?
    4. Do you have a number of positive refernces?
    If your response is positive to all those, then you will find it a very rewarding experience. Few will host a member who has not been verified.

    Other things to consider are.... don't treat it like a *free* night. Be prepared to reward your host, e.g. offer to cook a meal, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, or anything else you see you could do. Some very busy folk appreciate the vacuuming to be done. You'll see if that is appropriate. Alternatively you could bring your host a gift. Maybe something from home (ask what they would like), or, as I always do, take them out to dinner. As I said, it cuts both ways. Those who arrive late, crash, and then leave earely next morning are often not referenced well. Most hosts like to meet their guests and learn something about them. It is for that reason that I mostly contact the person well ahead of time, and establish a rapport with them. Contact several, and then choose the one with whom you think you will get on best.

    Quote Originally Posted by gorillabay View Post
    Inspirations:[/B] Blue Highways, Travels With Charley, and a host of other, more recent cross country memoirs (such as Turn Left at the Trojan Horse and Wild).
    If you check out the Roadtrip Field Reports Forum you will find an endless supply of inspiration from those who have gone before you. Often mentioning places which you may not have heard of. For me, I have driven from coast to coast almost a dozen times, some of which are recorded on this site, and many others have recorded their cross country trips in detail. You are bound to find inspiration there for a trip which could keep you on the road for a year...... or more!

    Lifey

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gorillabay View Post
    Transport: By car. Which car is still TBD. I own a Honda Civic Hybrid with about 140K miles on it, has been very reliable since purchasing used in 2011. The primary issue there is space. I did a “dry pack” and things did not entirely fit; but even if I whittle it down some it leaves me very little wiggle room, and one objective of the trip is to add to my license plate collection by going to junkyards.
    What are you bringing that is taking up so much space?

    Being that you are a solo traveler, I'm quite surprised you'd have any trouble packing up everything you need into really any sized car - certainly a moderately sized car like a civic. If you were planning to camp, and had a bunch of camping gear to consider, then maybe I could see where you'd be a little tight, but I'm just having a hard time seeing what you'd be bringing that would not easily fit into your car.

    Just for comparison, I've gone on 2-person camping trips and been able to fit everything into an even smaller Nissan Versa. Now it was only for a week or two, not a month or two, but there's not much more I would bring if I was going to be gone on a longer trip.

    At the very least, you've got the entire back seat area available. Certainly, you don't want to be putting a lot of valuables there, but that's a lot of additional space to put something like a cooler or any license plates you pick up along the way.

  3. Default

    Thank you for the advice on Couchsurfing. My thing with it was I posted questions on the site and received hardly a reply, and noticed that the same was the case with other people. Also I've heard that it mostly caters to young people and big cities. I'm not verified only because I wanted to get a sense of its legitimacy before I put down money. I will probably go through that process before too long, certainly before the trip, as there's not much to lose. They have functions in SF, but because of my work schedule it is nearly impossible for me to attend them. I do not have the capability to host.

    I will look into the Field Reports and also look again into Couchsurfing.

  4. Default

    I'm monitoring responses on about 7 forums and so far there's been an overwhelming consensus that I am bonkers for not being able to fit all my stuff into the Civic. Obviously, I will have to try it again and re-think what to pack! When I did the trial pack I did not use the back seat at all. The idea is that traveling solo, even if I bring things in for the night, there will be lots of stops during the day and I couldn't bring that stuff with me. In general I'm a very trusting person when it comes to this issue, but after having my camera stolen on a train a couple of years ago and then last year being a victim of a smash-and-grab while parked in a lit parking lot, I'm just hesitant. However, the reliability and familiarity with my Civic is a big plus. We'll see...

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Think again

    Quote Originally Posted by gorillabay View Post
    Also I've heard that it mostly caters to young people and big cities.
    As a septuagenarian, I generally look for hosts over 50, in the same way as most of my guests have been older. Although I have had some lovely young folk stay. Unfortunately I have not been in a position for a while to host and not needed accommodation for some time either.

    I don't like the new search functions. The old one was much better. It showed more accurately where folk are. It showed a map, with the city and the surrounding areas, and how many there were in each area. There even are couchsurfers at the Grand Canyon.

    I have loved it when I have stayed with strangers and when travellers have shared their adventures with me.

    I don't bother with the forums.... not sure many do. I email people directly from their profile.

    Lifey

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