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:
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 :
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!
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.
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!