As distances shrink, an increasing number of people are packing bags to travel across the globe. And then there are others who still plan the Goa trip, but never make it, owing to myriad constraints. But imagine, how cool would it be to cross countries on a shoestring budget! By lowering the expenses on accommodation, one can save a considerable amount while travelling. Bringing relief to the bootstrapped wanderers, CouchSurfing is one such online community that allows its users to avail of free stay at the locals’ homes from each part of the world. Citizens of Visakhapatnam too, opened their doors to CouchSurfing, a few years ago. With youngsters joining the tribe, the community has been slowly gaining strength in the city.
In a conversation with Yo! Vizag, Satya Madhav, one of the younger members of the Vizag CouchSurfing community shared, “Since childhood, I’ve always loved travelling. When I had visited Bangkok with my friends, I availed the Couchsurfing services there. The people in the country were really nice and hospitable. After coming back from the trip, even I’ve begun doing my part in guiding the tourists around the city. I’ve hosted five people within thirty days. I’ve observed that each of them had their preferences when it comes to sightseeing. Some wished to visit temples, while others liked to explore local food. For me, it’s always interesting to meet new people and have a cultural exchange”.
Though CouchSurfing is progressing in the city, with people joining in, the Vizag CouchSurfing community members believe that there are miles to go. Girish Jekkam, a native of Visakhapatnam, who works as a Robotics Software Engineer in Germany, said that among Indian cities, Bengaluru is globally renowned for CouchSurfing. He shared that in order to strengthen the community, there is a need to host more CouchSurfing activities in the city. “Couchsurfing has evolved in many countries, including Germany. As a part of our schedule, ice skating, hiking, movie nights and other CouchSurfing activities will be planned over the weekends. Bringing the trend to Visakhapatnam, I’ve planned to organise a hike with fellow couch surfers. I hope that someone from the group leads the way and continues to build up the community”.
In order to offer better hospitality services to foreigners, the members have decided to stay connected with each other. Speaking in this regard, Ravi Kumar Chaparala, a senior member of the Vizag CouchSurfing community, shares, “I’ve been hosting guests from Italy, Germany, Canada, Venezuela, Spain, Uzbekistan, and other countries, since 2014. Over time, a lot of people in the city began to show interest in CouchSurfing. To boost the CouchSurfing scenario in Vizag, we have recently created a group in a messaging application. At times, I might not be in town when a tourist informs me regarding his/her impending visit to Vizag. In such a case, I can suggest other CouchSurfers who are willing to host”.
Those looking to be a part of the community may contact Ravi Kumar on 9030018747