Connect with strangers

A week ago I went for a trip to Vienna with my friend, but I don’t really want to talk about the city and our sightseeing. In this post I would like to tell you something else. Maybe you already know it, but maybe you have never tried it so I want to share my experience with you to motivate you to use it.
Well, as you know, I love travelling, but there are many ways how to travel. The important things for me are to travel cheap, to meet new people and to discover different places with eyes of the locals. Two websites connect all of it – Blablacar and Couchsurfing – and that is what I would like to tell you about.

Blablacar

This website became popular in other countries and approximately one year ago it expanded to Czech republic as well (before it was known as Jízdomat). Blablacar connects the opportunity to travel cheap and to meet new people. How does it actually work? You sign up and create a profile. After that you can use it in two different ways:
  • If you own a car and you are planning to go somewhere, you can invite people to join you and you share the expenses for gas.
  • On the other hand, if you need a ride, you can book a seat in someone’s car and you simply enjoy the journey!
After every ride you can give and simultaneously get the reference. That helps other people to trust to the drivers and the passengers.
Blablacar is great because by travelling like that, you can save a lot of money. Just to give you an example – if you go to Vienna by Student agency bus, you pay 200 CZK (cca 7,5 EUR) for one way, by Blablacar you pay 200 CZK for both ways. You also save time because the car is faster than trains or buses. And the additional advantage is that you meet new people, you listen to their stories and you can have fun together during the journey. Nevertheless for sharing stories the following website is much better.
My experience with Blablacar was always very good, so I can definitely recommend it.

Couchsurfing

The three official ideas of Couchsurfing are:
  1. Discover amazing people: Couchsurfers open their homes and share their lives. Connect and be inspired.
  2. Find a host: Connect with hosts, and confirm your stay through the Couchsurfing platform. Your stay with hosts is free.
  3. Join events: Meet travelers in other cities, or in your own city! There’s always something new to join.
I suppose that you can imagine what Couchsurfing is about so I’ll just tell you my own experience.

First Couchsurfing trip

The first time I decided to use Couchsurfing was when I went to Paris. Me and my friend found a host who was willing to share his small studio with us, he was really nice, we were talking a lot and even went for a party together. During our stay we also met other guy – amazing and funny story teller who actually showed us the city in a local way. Since that time I got really enthused by this idea and it wasn’t my last experience with Couchsurfing.

Couchsurfing during Erasmus

During my Erasmus I used Couchsurfing several times. When I went to Trikala (post: Trikala), it was actually the first time I surfed alone and I didn’t really think about it if it’s safe or not. I just went there, fully trusted my host and enjoyed the time there. It was great and I will definitely repeat it!
Later on me and my friends couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Rome (post: Rome trip) and Couchsurfing made our stay unforgettable. Our host was amazing, we were even cooking together and we had so much fun. In his place we literally felt like home.
While I was in Thessaloniki, me and my friend showed the city to two Turkish guys. They were really nice, talkative, open-minded. We also went out for a dinner and we spent wonderful evening with them.

Last Couchsurfing moments

The year after Erasmus, me and my friend had to come back to Thessaloniki and we decided to use Couchsurfing again. We were lucky and we stayed in a flat with one funny guy and we also met his friends.
The last travelling with Couchsurfing was in Vienna. We found a host and we stayed there just for one night. Unfortunately, because of his night shift we didn’t have much time to get know each other and to share some stories. Nevertheless, it was a great experience because he was very nice and hospitable.
To sum up, my experience with Blablacar and Couchsurfing was always very good and I would definitely recommend you to try both. There is nothing to loose, you can save money, meet new people, share stories with them, explore new places and that opens your eyes. You will start to see the world differently. So don’t be afraid to travel by Blablacar and to use all the advantages of Couchsurfing, it’s really worth it! The whole world is full of strangers, but these strangers can easily become friends. Don’t be scared. Connect with strangers and discover the world! It’s priceless.
Wall painting in Vienna
Wall painting in Vienna

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