What is CouchSuring?CouchSurfing is a non-profit organization that connects people, places and cultures around the world.How does CouchSurfing work?It’s simple. If you have a couch anywhere in the world, that you are willing to share with foreign travelers, you pretty much a have a place to stay in every corner of the planet!My experience as a CouchSurfer.As soon as I got my own house in Chania (Greece), I started hosting people that I’ve never seen/met before. In just a few months I hosted more than 20 people, who I never will forget. I made very good friends and very meaningful connections with some of them by having only one thing in common. A never ending love for traveling and exploring. CouchSurfing is a life changing experience. TRUST. TRUTH. LOVE. UNITY. Things that society is missing, survive in the hearts of CouchSurfers and travelers.Is CouchSurfing safe?Sharing your life with someone you have never met before sounds risky to many people. CouchSurfing has a security system that is based on references. Which means if I meet someone and have a positive experience with him/her, I will write a reference saying that “yes, you can trust this person, we had a great time together yada yada yada…” so that other people know that this person is trustworthy. Then there is a “higher level of security” called “the vouches”. Which means, if you highly trust someone you can vouch for him. But you have the right to vouch for someone, only if you already have 3 vouches your self. Another thing that people misunderstand is that, of course you can choose not to host or not to meet someone. And obviously you get to choose who you are going to be hosted by.Anyway, this is a legit system, but once you become a CouchSurfer you will understand that this is not the most important thing. It’s all about connections, tearing down stereotypes, getting rid of your fears and interacting with new people openly and with respect to each other. Some people tend to say: “CouchSurfers are good people by definition.” …my experience so far proves it.CouchSurfing as a way of traveling.CouchSurfing is indeed a cheap/free way to travel. Although as I explained earlier there is a lot more to it. I definitely suggest to anyone in the world to take advantage of it, as long as you are willing to share experiences, feelings, adventures, food, sleeping surface, thoughts and dreams. The world is beautiful indeed if you open your eyes and listen to what other people have to say. “Love the universe and it will love you back.”
Some travelers choose to go backpacking to travel within a tight budget. They also believe that going off the beaten track will give them the opportunity to experience the true culture and ways of the country that they are visiting.However, going off the beaten track may expose backpackers to certain risks that the normal tourist does not encounter. As such, it is crucial that backpackers take up travel insurance for backpackers to protect themselves against unforeseen circumstances.Here are five useful tips to help you choose the best travel insurance plan for backpackers:1) Make Sure You Are Covered For Trip Cancellation Sometimes, you may need to cancel your trip due to bad weather or riots. You’ll want to be covered when you have to cancel a trip through no fault of yours.2) Coverage For Travel Delays Industrial strikes or bad weather will definitely cause travel delays. Insurance will pay for any additional expenses that you incur due to travel delays.3) Choose An Insurer Who Offers A 24-Hour Worldwide Emergency HelplineChoose a policy from an insurance provider that has a 24-hour worldwide emergency helpline that you can contact 365 days a year. This will help you to set your matters straight right away should you encounter any difficulty during your backpacking trip.4) Get Covered For Emergency Medical CareMedical costs in a foreign country may be much higher than what you normally encounter at home. Emergency medical care will cover you for any medical costs incurred for illness or injury while backpacking.5) Coverage For Lost Or Stolen ItemsWhen you backpack, you are likely to hang out at train stations, bus terminal and remote areas. There is a chance your items may be lost or stolen. You’ll need protection against any financial loss stemming from lost or stolen items.
What is the best gear to travel with if you’re planning to backpack through Thailand (or travel on a budget)? Well, it depends of course on where you’re heading. If you go north, then pack for cool nights and mountain climbing. If you head south, then prepare for magnificent ocean adventures.Firstly, if your plans include Chiang Mai or north then keep in mind it gets kind of chilly and you’ll need warm gear and the right kit (ie. strong walk boots) for doing some trekking or exploring. However if you’re going to hit the oceans on your Thai journey, then let’s look at what you’ll need.OK, first up, the ever trusty waterproof ‘sea’ bag. These colorful little creatures will save your bacon in more ways than one, especially if you’re a water baby and you love to be immersed in the sea all day. With your essential belongings safely enclosed in one of these you can explore ANY remote beach and still pull out a camera to capture the fun. An essential piece of ocean travel kit.Next up is the go-anywhere sea sandals. You know the type – they embrace your feet and let you walk on sharp rocks and swim without worrying about what’s down there. Then wear them down the street to get your Pad Thai. A good quality pair of these will last you forever and are essential for a good and safe Thailand adventure.You’ll need a quality jacket too, for the odd storm that steals in out of nowhere. Heaps of choices available, so get something that’s lightweight and strong that’ll cope with the wear and tear of being stuffed in your backpack and used frequently. It’s Thailand, so it won’t need to be too warm. In fact, the more breathable, the better.Well, that’s it in a nutshell. There’s other gear that’ll you want to bring but having those three pieces of kit will keep a smile on your face as you backpack through Thailand and have the adventure of your life!