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BuzzWord: couch surfing

www.wordle.netCouch surfing is this week’s BuzzWord from our online English dictionary here at Macmillan. This noun is used to describe staying the night at the home of another person, especially a stranger, for free. The term first appeared on and has been popularised by, a free and non-profit accommodation network, also called a hospitality network, which connects people in the ‘sofasphere’ in over 200 countries around the world. Those active in couch surfing are referred to as couch surfers and their bed for the night … well, the couch.

The choice of word for labelling – what I’d consider – a more alternative form of travel is a bit unfortunate, and perhaps not coincidental, with couch potato jumping to mind immediately. Couch surfers spend little time on a couch however, and most definitely most of that time is not on their own couch either.

Are you tempted by this form of accommodation at your next holiday destination? Here are a few tips and further reading/viewing for you:

Background to hospitality networks

Hospitality networks organising couch surfing:

Couch surfing in Bangkok

Safety First!

Here’s an example of a couch surfing exchange in Japan and the UK:

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Kati Sule


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