Ever since Couchsurfing announced that they will start asking for members to contribute with a monthly, or annual fee paid upfront, the news provoked a ton of negative reactions in the alternative travel community…
Like we mentioned earlier in our How to travel Europe for free article, Couchsurfing is not your only option, and since many will now start migrating and searching for alternatives, there are two websites (communities) worth mentioning. Yes, they don’t have nowhere near members compared to CS, but this is maybe a good moment to consider these two options – if you’re not okay with paying for using CS, of course.
We’re talking about:
Trustroots, with its very cool Tribes option – where you’ll find likeminded Trustroots members – guys who are into hitchhiking, vegans and vegeterians, nomads, musicians, punks, hackers, cyclists…
BeWelcome – a non-profit, open source network, exclusively run by members in a transparent and democratic way.
So, let’s take a closer look:
How does Trustroots work?
In their own words: “Travel anywhere and easily find great people who want to meet you as well. See where other travellers are and help each other out, whether through welcoming them to your home, sharing your stories or becoming friends. ” (source)
How big is it: 36k members
Manifesto: “We want a world that encourages trust, adventure and intercultural connections. Our willingness to help each other is universal. Trustroots is completely free to use and will remain so forever. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We emphasize community.” (source)
About: “Trustroots is being built by a small team of activists who felt that the world of sharing is being taken over by corporations trying to monetize people’s willingness to help each other. Same team brought you also Hitchwiki, Trashwiki and Nomadwiki.” (source)
Also, don’t forget to check out their Tribes option that helps you find likeminded Trustroots members!
BeWelcome will always be a free, open source, non for profit, democratic community
In their own words: “Bewelcome lets you share a place to stay, connect with travellers, meet up and find accommodation on your journey. It is and will always be a free, open source, non for profit, democratic community.” (source)
How big is it: 128k+ members
The concept: “Imagine arriving in a city like Paris or Mumbai and somebody is already waiting for you. Imagine that instead of going to eat at the place recommended by the guidebook, someone shows you their favourite restaurant. Imagine the experience staying as a personal guest of your new friend rather than sleeping in an impersonal hotel room. BeWelcome makes it possible.” (source)
How is it organized? “Dreaming alone is not enough. That’s why we have founded BeVolunteer, a non-profit organisation registered in Rennes, France. Through BeVolunteer’s official statutes, we provide a basis for democratic decision making, financial transparency and information security so that we can protect our members and manage the project BeWelcome effectively.” (source)
Also, it’s worth mentioning that BeWelcome is present in 217 countries (and teritorries), works in 305 languages and has 20k+ positive comments.
Now, it’s important to add that many people will probably continue to use Couchsurfing, despite these new circumstances. And that’s understandable. After all, the network has a global community of 14 million people in 200k cities…
As for me, I’ll end this with a quote I saw on Facebook that in one short sentence says a lot about this whole situation:
“Even if you pay to stay in, you will find there only other people who paid.”