Couchsurfing risks closure and asks its members for financial help

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Couchsurfing is not free anymore – Starting from 14 May, the most famous platform that allows travellers to be hosted abroad for free will ask for financial help to its members, in order to keep its service open. You can contribute for only 3 euros per month, or 15 euros per year, in order to be able to use the platform features and freely communicate with its users.

For those unfamiliar with Couchsurfing, we have already talked about it in different articles.

The message from the Couchsurfing managers

If you are subscribed to the platform and you are accessing it in these days, this is the message you may come across:

Due to the impact of Covid-19, we need your immediate help to keep Couchsurfing alive

Monthly contribution

€2.39 Tax and Fees included

Annual contribution

€14.29 Tax and Fees included Save 50%

All of us who are members of Couchsurfing believe in something greater than money, possessions, and status. It took over 14 years for the Couchsurfing community to come together. Without your immediate help, this community will be lost forever.

More details:

All of us who are members of Couchsurfing believe in something greater than money, possessions, and status.

It took over 14 years for the Couchsurfing community to come together. Without your immediate help, this community will be lost forever.

Given the challenging realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Couchsurfing will soon be unable to meet our financial obligations. We have reduced the size of our team, taken pay cuts, eliminated or renegotiated all contracts, eliminated our physical office space (we are now a 100% remote workforce), and applied for COVID-19 relief funds provided by the United States Government through the CARES Act. Unfortunately, this will not be enough.

As of May 14, 2020, we are asking for member contributions of $2.39 per month, or $14.29 per year if paid upfront, to keep Couchsurfing alive. This member contribution is required to access the Couchsurfing website and mobile applications. Your member contributions will be used to support Couchsurfing through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and to keep this community safe. This is a decision of last resort, and not one taken lightly.

There is good news: All Couchsurfing members can now send unlimited messages and Couch requests. As third-party advertising is no longer supporting Couchsurfing, all third-party advertising will soon be removed from the website and mobile applications. Member contributions will allow us to significantly reduce the cost of Verification in the near future. The Couchsurfing website and mobile applications will continue to evolve and we are in the process of developing many of the exciting features requested by the community.

More details about these changes are available on our blog.

What now?

Now that the platform has freed itself from advertisements and seems to have returned to a more humble dimension – similar to the origins in which the entire organization was run by volunteers – one wonders if the CouchSurfing members will be willing to pay for membership access and whether this will bring benefits or not to the notorious platform.  The CS project will still remain a profit registered company: this only reason had made many travellers and home surfers enthusiasts turn away and unsubscribe at the time.

We remind readers and former CS members that if they are looking for a free service, there is another platform similar to Couchsurfing and completely free called TrustRoots, a site managed by nomads, backpackers and alternative travellers and hosts.

After a series of ups and downs for the Couchsurfing website (first the transition from non-profit to profit, then the additional paid services, finally the mandatory subscription fee), it seems that Trustroots is destined to become the number one of free hospitality.

For free hospitality, you can also count on our website: if you are a host and you are up to host travellers (like this host community), feel free to submit your announcement, whether you need to host volunteers or friendly travellers.


Read: interesting links and resources for travellers

Go to the Blog section



Author: Rebecca

Volunteer, photographer, and a citizen of the world. :) The world is full of opportunities: my mission is to discover them and share!

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