The 7 Best Couchsurfing Alternatives
  • Post author:

I used to be a great fan of Couchsurfing and often recommended it to every traveler I met on my way.

But since Couchsurfing locked out millions of users out of their profiles overnight and implemented a paywall in May 2020, many members of the community lost trust. Many feel deceived by the lack of transparency and communication that Couchsurfing showed over the past years.

Therefore, part of the community decided to move to several Couchsurfing alternatives, principally on TrustRoots and BeWelcome. I decided to search and summarize all the options in one article.

The result? The list of the 7 Best Couchsurfing Alternatives complete & updated:

Free
50.000 Members
2015

TrustRoots is a platform created in 2015. It is registered as a non-profit foundation in the UK.

TrustRoots has currently more than 50.000 members. It’s growing steadily with about 10.000 new members who signed up in 2020, a huge growth probably due to the Couchsurfing paywall.

There are quite open about their statistics and after talking with some members of their staff, I do not doubt that TrustRoots will stay forever free and honest to its original values.

Hitchhiker, vegan and dumpster-diver-friendly. If you have an alternative mentality, you’ll have a great time on TrustRoots.

I’ve been using this website since 2016 and I found hosts in France, Switzerland as well as Japan. I believe TrustRoots is a great option in Europe, especially Western Europe as hosts are plentiful. It’s my favorite Couchsurfing alternative.

Free and open-source
Trustworthy team involved in many free projects

Not so many hosts outside of Europe
No reference system

Feel free to head to their website and sign up! TrustRoots currently don’t accept donations, but if you want to help the project, they are looking for volunteers!

Free
140.000 Members
2007

BeWelcome.org was founded in 2007 by the BeVolunteer association registered in France as a non-profit.

Out of this list of Couchsurfing alternatives, BeWelcome is the most similar to Couchsurfing.

As of December 2020, there are 140.000 members, making BeWelcome the most popular totally free Couchsurfing alternative.

The website supports its costs through voluntary donation. There are quite transparent about their needs and even publish their yearly financial statements. As of 2020 they needed only 1300€ for the whole year and received more than 3200€.

And they have just released a beta version of their Android app!

More members than other alternative websites
Transparent team about their needs
Free and open-source

Not as many potential hosts as Couchsurfing

One-time 30$
160.000 Members
1993

WarmShowers was founded in 1993 by a couple of Canadian cyclists and currently, it has almost 160.000 members.

It used to work only with donations, but now, members who sign up after April 2020 will  have to pay a one-time upfront fee of $30.

WarmShowers is mostly directed at travelers cycling long-distances. They have a pretty active community.

Some hosts will give you a place to sleep in their house, but some offer only a patch of grass to pitch your tent.

They have over 90.000 members in Europe, check out the WarmShowers website for more details about their members and various statistics.

The best option for cyclists
A good amount of hosts

One-time 30$ fee when you sign up.

Free
120.000+ Members
2019

Host A Sister started as a Facebook group and the community is quite active on this social network.

They recently created a website and might migrate there soon.

You can meet and get hosted by fellow sisters through this Facebook group.

This is how they describe themselves :

We are a global community of women, a place where sisters can connect to form friendships around the world during their travels or even share their homes for free as part of a cultural exchange.
Host A Sister welcomes all females age 18 or older to join regardless of which gender was assigned at birth.

Very active and show a lot of solidarity
Fast growth
Seems the safest option for women

Quite exclusive as half (and more if you're a mixed-gender couple or traveling with a man) of the world population can't use it
You need to have Facebook to use it

Free
4.000 Members
August 2020

It’s also a Facebook group and it was inspired by Host A Sister, with the aim to make it more inclusive.

The main goal of this group is to promote alternatives to Couchsurfing such as TrustRoots and BeWelcome while using Facebook’s huge member base.

It’s a side group of the NOMADS – a life of alternative travel group. This group has 170.000 members. It’s a great place to find tips and ask questions about alternative travel. I’m also currently a moderator of the Nomads group, so see you there!

It was launched during the pandemic so we chose not to promote it yet, resulting in a total of 4.000 members so far.

Up-and-coming project

Low amount of members
You need to have Facebook to use it

Free
15.000 Members
1948
Servas was created in 1949 in Denmark, which makes it the oldest network on this list.
 
Servas means “we serve” in Esperanto, and aim at promoting peace and social justice.
 
According to their website, 15.000 potential households can host in more than 100 countries.
 
You need to go through an interview to join the network first and pay a membership fee (varies depending on the country).

Probably the safest hospitality exchange website

Complicated process to join
Many rules to follow

Free
300.000+ Members
2000

Hospitality Club used to be quite active, unfortunately, it appears to be now defunct.

It was once the most active hospitality exchange website, but Hospitality Club started to decline around 2007.

Membership is free

Not active anymore

Bonus: More Hospitality Exchange Websites

Welcome to My Garden (recently created and only in Belgium)

Pasporta Servo (directed to Esperanto speakers)

Global FreeLoaders (doesn’t seem to work anymore)

LGHEI or Lesbian & Gay Hospitality Exchange International is for LGBTQ+ travelers.

Looking for other Couchsurfing alternatives?

We really enjoy volunteering on websites such as Helpx, Workaway or WWOOF. Check our 3 volunteering experiences on HelpX as a family in Switzerland. We’d definitely recommend it as it is a great Couchsurfing alternative and allows you to travel at a much slower pace!

We also made an article on how to find a free and alternative volunteering position without using one of the main websites!

Still not convinced? You could also try to house-sit your way around the world!

What about YOU? Any experience on any of these Couchsurfing alternatives? Any other recommendations? Share with us!

0 0 vote
Article Rating

Maxime

A young father following his dream of travelling the world, now joined by HiuYing, his wife, and Darian, their first son.
Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments