5 best couchsurfing apps for your summer vacations

Don't break the bank — use someone else's house.

Couch surfing is a pretty radical and new concept — especially since everyone has been scared they'll meet some ax murderer off the Internet. Makes sense, since couch surfing is like hitchhiking at someone's house.

However, with the release of such programs as Airbnb and HomeAway, more people are warming up to the idea of staying at someone else's home. It's certainly cheaper than a hotel, and you get the comfort of a home rather than a hotel room.

My friends and I certainly couch surf when we want to vacation, but funds are low — here are five apps we check before we plan.

1. Couchsurfing

The OG app is certainly "Couchsurfing" — find cool people who are willing to open up their homes to you, and your entire stay is free! This app isn't just for finding a place to stay though; it's also to make friends and travel like a local.

Safety is also pretty crucial to Couchsurfing so you can message and verify Hosts or Surfers yourself, including reading profiles and reviews. You can also meet up with other travelers in your city or the city you're traveling to. It's a really great way to make international friends.

2. AirBnB

Airbnb, of course, is known more for its house rentals and now, activities you can do in different cities — but many people don't know that you can rent individual rooms for cheap or even just beds in a house. For a couple of dollars a night, you can stay in a whole new city.

Airbnb verifies all of their hosts and lets you communicate with them as much as you want. Each host has their own rules, check-in's and amenities, so you can be as picky or chill as you want.

3. HomeAway

HomeAway is very similar to AirBnB — or cheaper, some say — and has the same benefits. You can choose what kind of housing you want and what amenities you need — you can even choose to bring your pet! Your puppy will certainly help when you're traveling alone.

4. HomeStay

Like Couchsurfing, you can experience your destination like the locals with HomeStay. Hosts will rent out a spare room in their house for guests that want to travel cheaply while gaining extra income themselves — it's a win-win!

People of all ages can travel with HomeStay, and each guest experiences a one-on-one relationship with the host. Rather than just being a place to stay, you get an experience.

5. Tripping

Unlike other sites, Tripping allows you to sift through millions of available bookings from sites such as HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and more. Due to this extensive list of properties, you can filter in as many ways as you like to find something you're comfortable with.

Whichever site you use, safety is always number one — if the host seems sketchy or weird, be sure to learn more about them before you make your decision. Common sense is always a good rule to follow when traveling by yourself or with friends!

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