Potential Dangers You Need To Be Aware About When Couchsurfing
Many people have tried couch surfing when traveling. Couch surfing can be a great way to save money and meet new people. However, there are also some dangers as well.
You should make sure that you understand the risks of couch surfing and decide whether or not you want to take them.
What Are the Dangers of Couch Surfing?
Couch surfers rely on the hospitality of complete strangers when they travel. Most of the people who try it have had good experiences, but not everybody is trustworthy.
One man in the United Kingdom opened his home up to couch surfers. A young woman from Hong Kong visited him at his house where he sexually assaulted her. Other tourists have said that they have been in uncomfortable situations. One woman said that a man contacted her on the internet about participating in a naked sleepers group. She felt that there were a couple of red flags and decided not to go on the trip.
You never know who you are going to run into when you use the Internet.
Are There Any Safeguards?Couch surfing websites try to protect their users. They require people to put their names and addresses on the website and try to have real people verify their details. They also have feedback sections for the people staying there.
However, they can’t guarantee your safety. People can manipulate their information. Also, they may only prey on certain types of travelers, so you shouldn’t be entirely assuaged by positive reviews on their profile page. You will need to be responsible for protecting your own safety.
Couch surfing websites aren’t the best place to do background checks on potential hosts. Tom Casady, a police officer in Nebraska, looked into the names of several of the people who were hosting through couch surfing sites. He found that one of them was a registered sex offender and one had been arrested numerous times for abusing drugs.
Another man had been through the mental health system after threatening to commit suicide. Casady also found that many of the hosts were having people stay in areas that were known for dangerous activity.
Should You Go Couch Surfing?
I don’t believe couch surfing is inherently bad, but there are certainly risks that you need to take into consideration. You will need to take the initiative to keep yourself safe. There are always some risks when traveling, but the risks can be higher in some areas than others.
You should research all the hosts before you decide to go couch surfing. You will also need to consider the type of city that you will be staying in. Although there can be bad apples anywhere, there are some areas where substance abuse, human trafficking and other dangerous activities are more common. You may want to seriously reconsider couch surfing in an area that you wouldn’t otherwise feel safe.
About the Author: Kalen is an avid traveler who stayed at the Quality Inn Hotel & Suites in Youngstown Ohio when he visited Ohio, rather than entering a risky situation couch surfing.