Monday, June 23, 2014

How to take a two-week vacation with only $150

By Emma Phan, Humber Stduent & International Centre Student Ambassador

Summer has arrived and many vacations and adventure are about to start! But when you're a student on a budget, travelling in Canada can be a challenge and we have to be creative. That's how I discovered Couchsurfing!

So, what is Couchsurfing?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, [couch-surf]: stay temporarily in other people’s homes, typically making use of improvised sleeping arrangements.

From backpackers’ perspective, Couchsurfing connects everyone on the globe by having hosts share their couch with strangers, encouraging travelers to share their culture and making communities stronger through language exchanges, dance classes or hikes.

That’s so dangerous! How can you trust a stranger?

We cannot deny that everything around the world is surprisingly connected. Couch-surfers call strangers friends you haven’t met yet.  Couchsurfing has provided many tools to help travelers protect themselves.

1. Everyone must create a detailed profile where they introduce themselves, places they have visited, talk about their hobbies and habits, such as smoking or sleepwalking. The writing style of the hosts can give surfers a lot of hints about their characteristics!
Couchsurfing hosts in Quebec. 

2. Experienced hosts will have tons of references written by other people. We all have different beliefs and have different likes and dislikes. Therefore, to ensure a happy couch-surfing experience, you should read all references to find the right fit for you.  

3. If you are still worried, send e-mails to people who have provided their references.

4. Your safety comes first. If you are a solo female traveler, it may be better to stay with other women or families. Also, GoogleMap the host’s address first to know how far it is to the city/town centre, the nearest bus station or grocery store.  

5. Nothing is perfect. If you find something wrong with your host or you just feel insecure, leave the house right away. Remember not to express your anxiety; keep calm, pack your belongings, call the taxi and be ready to leave. 

In my next post, I will share my unforgettable backpacking and couchsurfing experiences to Kingston,  Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City - stay tuned!

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