Since 2004, CouchSurfing.com assisted travellers with budget lodging and cultural connections, changing to a for-profit entity in 2011, raising $23M. However, attempts to introduce fees in 2016, followed by locking millions of profiles and a paywall in 2020, marred its reputation, prompting users to seek alternatives.
Couchers is a free Couchsurfing alternative addressing paywalls, safety, and technical issues. Pros include no membership fee and an active forum. Cons are a less feature-rich beta version and slow customer support. Mixed reviews highlight slow response times and the hosting experience. It doesn't draw the same response as Couchsurfing.
BeWelcome, a not-for-profit Couchsurfing alternative with 200,000+ global members. Pros: user-friendly, easy sign-up process, and free. Cons: flawed customer support and no blocking feature. Trustpilot reviews highlight support and safety issues, profile deletion complaints.
Trustroots creates a community for travellers to connect and share experiences. They offer mobile support, free access, and a trusted core team. However, they have limited members and options outside Europe. Reviews note the platform's prevalence in Europe.
Servas, an early hospitality exchange platform, fosters understanding via travel, connecting different regions and ethnicities globally. It's a safe platform with verified hosts and numerous global hosting options. However, the platform has a strict application process and isn't free. Reviews confirm its safety and community experiences. Joining fee depends on country of residence.
"WWOOF, originally 'Working Weekends On Organic Farms' now stands for 'World-Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms'. Volunteers, or WWOOFers, work 4-6 hours daily on host farms for accommodation, food and learning opportunities. After registration, volunteers can directly connect with hosts. However, membership fees apply, and visa support is not provided by WWOOF hosts or organisation."