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 list of the 7 Best Couchsurfing Alternatives complete & updated in 2022:
TrustRoots is a platform created in 2015. It is registered as a non-profit foundation in the UK.
TrustRoots has currently more than 70.000 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 2022, there are 165.000 members, making BeWelcome the most popular entirely 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. Regarding 2022, BeWelcome had an objective of raising 600€ to support the website for the whole year (meaning less than one cent per member!) and they have already received this amount.
Couchers was created right after Couchsurfing introduced their paywall. It’s a non-profit and free platform seemingly trying to recreate that good ol’ Couchsurfing vibe on a new website.
It’s a growing platform, and most of the users are located in North America thus far. They are actively looking for volunteers to join their team and help their community to grow.
I enjoy the presence of a forum where members can communicate and share info between each other. The forum seems to have become more active lately.
WarmShowers was founded in 1993 by a couple of Canadian cyclists and currently, it has more than 165.000 members.
Similarly to Couchsurfing, WarmShowers used to be free, but they recently switched course and started to require new members to pay a one-time upfront fee of $30 when signing up. You’ll also need to pay a hefty fee to use the app. These actions prompted numerous original members to leave the platform.
WarmShowers has a pretty active community of bicycle tourists. While cycling in Southern France with my 5-year-old son, we had the chance to use the platform with positive results.
Some hosts will give you a place to sleep in their house, but some offer only a patch of grass to pitch your tent. Read the profile carefully to avoid surprises.
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!
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 such as Workaway, or WWOOFING!
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!
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bad news for WS
now you need to pay 20 euros EVERY year is you want the app 🙁 how to ruin and kill this brillant community …
So sad that Coucsurfing is now a cash machine.
CS (12mlns users before 2020) made it easy to connect with people all around the world from the US to Asia…
I don’t see any other website coming any close in terms of community and engagement .
I didn’t have much luck with the platforms mentioned in the article. Hospitality club is unusable. I haven’t been able to login since I created my profile 1,5y ago. It won’t even load the website properly. I don’t think people are using it. BeWelcome is the biggest platform after CS yet I rarely get any requests there. Also not many active members in my area so no events possible. I am still giving it a chance though… Trustroots– people using this platform differ from people I used to host on CouchSurfing- a lot of “free spirits” for my taste. I… Read more »
Cool! I’ve heard about Couchers, but since the website is only in beta mode I didn’t think people where actually hosting one another there. I’ll sign up and try it out, before adding it there. I’m surprised by your experience on TrustRoots, we didn’t get the chance to meet the free spirits you’re talking about, but more an old Couchsurfing vibe so far. Good luck with your future hosting experiences, and see you maybe on Couchers!
Well that can be a bad thing as well. I’m on Couchers.org right now and getting the same level of instant rejection as I always did on Couchsurfing. Can’t go anywhere “while Black” apparently.