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: