Would you ever seek or share free accomodations?

In my opening blog, titled “No Vacancy,” I discuss hospitality exchange services such as couchsurfing.com that involve accommodation sharing through home stay networks, also referred to at times as hospex. After more in-depth thought and review of a very comprehensive blog: http://allthatiswrong.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/a-criticism-of-couchsurfing-and-review-of-alternatives/, I am a bit torn with this concept.

While hospitality exchange services provide a social network for world travelers to save money on lodging and the perfect opportunity to interface with different cultures worldwide, it appears, as happens to many things in life, to have become a target of scams, misrepresentation, and corruption. This is in addition to the obvious concern for personal safety and the potential predator – prey threat that accompanies this activity. The blog by allthatiswrong.com criticizes the content, fee-based services, staff members and management of couchsurfing.com, but not the activity itself. While this may sound like a personal vendetta from a dissatisfied customer, it ultimately proves to be a very thorough examination of the entire concept.

As I attempt to construct a comprehensive traveler’s connection site, I want to hear what others feel and think. Many of us would be willing to brave the obvious concerns with this activity for the opportunity to experience the world and its wonders on a meager budget or welcome someone in, just to share their adventure. Some sites, like homeexchange50plus.com advocate exactly what their title infers, no personal social interaction, only a temporary living site exchange.  Whatever the case may be, give me your thoughts. Should I stay focused on connecting RV’ers to homeowners willing to share a space on their property or include both, regardless of the potential dangers and controversy?

Partial list of Hospitality Exchange Service Sites mentioned in the allthatiswrong.com blog:

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2 thoughts on “Would you ever seek or share free accomodations?

  1. Hi, Catherine!
    I’ve only read this one blog, yet you’ve peaked my interest. I’m an RVer and would love to know about people who have places I could park my rig while in their neck of the woods. I’ve not heard much about hospitality exchange services, however, I’m going to have a look at the list you provided.

    I understand some of the safety and privacy concerns about the housing exchange, and would like to know about what these services provide, expectations, and if or how they vet potential exchange users. Traveling I have used bed and breakfast places, although never when I’ve traveled alone because of security concerns.

    I’m going to read your other posts, yet one thing bothers me about the theme template or perhaps the tabs used to access other posts; I got lost and it took considerable effort to find the original post as I think a couple are dated 10/12/2011 or I forgot the date!

    Keep up the great work.
    Sharon, Blogging classmate

    • Hi Sharon. Thanks for reading and commenting on this one, but I really would like your comment on my opener, No Vacancies!. Email me separately at cland4043@mysvc.skagit.edu if you would please and I will do the same for you before the end of the weekend. I may never actually develop this site (concerning RV site hosting), but I hope it inspires someone to jump in and make it a reality. I really am tired of finding out all my favorite campgrounds are full, unless you reserve them several months ahead of time. I would gladly play host to a wandering traveler, passing through. What a great opportunity to meet people and pay-ahead. What do you think?
      Respectfully, Catherina

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