Couchsurfing is popular for travellers who want to sleep on someones couch (and for hosts who like meeting travellers on their couch!). But you can also use it if travelling and you want to meet up with people. It can be a great source of meetups and finding like-minded people to meet when travelling!
Couchsurfing is a website that is primarily aimed at people who either want to sleep on couches, or people who have couches to offer.
To some people this might sound really weird – especially the people offering their couch to strangers. But it is a big community of (often, but not always) like-minded people who like to meet people from different places and walks of life.
But the ‘sleeping on a couch’ isn’t the only thing that Couchsurfing is good for. It is also good for just meeting people (and no sleeping involved at all!)
You don’t need to sleep on a sofa (or offer your sofa) to meet people on Couchsurfing.
What kind of meetups are there?
In most big cities there are people who organise regular meetups. These are not organised by the actual Couchsurfing staff, but by local members who like to organise things like this.
These are posted on the city ‘Events’ page. For example, the Edinburgh International events page.
These meetups can be from a very small group (maybe 5) to over 100. It really depends on the city. Places like London will attract much larger numbers than less popular tourist destinations.
How to find the regular, organised weekly meetups
Often they will be in a pub or bar. It is often quite obvious where the couchsurfing group is. Sometimes they will have some kind of sign (or paper on a table) with the Couchsurfing logo. You can also often find it just by listening for foreigners speaking (almost always in English).
What to expect at the meetups
Often it is a mix of locals that live in the city (both expats and native locals – often in non-English speaking countries they use it as a way to practise English) and of course travellers. People hosting Couchsurfers Edinburgh will often accompany them to these meetups too.
In some (most of the larger meetups) they will be in a bar (or club) and have a discount for drinks. But check on the International events page.
Go on Facebook and search for “EDINBURGH couchsurfing”, most bigger cities have their own Facebook group or page. They will often have a Facebook event for the meetup, which will often have more accurate numbers of who will be attending when compared to the event page on couchsurfing.com.
Be friendly! People are there to socialise. If you arrive and don’t know what to do, just ask someone if they are here for the Couchsurfing group. If they are foreign (or speaking English in a non-English speaking country) then chances are if you are in the right bar at the right time, they will be there for Couchsurfing.
These are message threads posted by travellers in Edinburgh. You can see people who want to meet up for a picnic, to go to the beach at Edinburgh, hiking and more.
Just post a message either on the day or a few days before, asking if anyone wants to meet up for a drink or go for a wander.
Tip: When contacting someone to meet up, leave your telephone number and get their number. The Couchsurfing website seems to go down quite a bit (or they seem to reset the database and lose messages), so always have a backup phone number to rely upon!