Dog in Istanbul

Gay Couchsurfing 101

Today’s post comes from David Brown and Auston Matta, who run the informative, funny Two Bad Tourists blog. After you read this post, please do check out their website.

The late night was quickly turning to early morning when we happened to run into our CouchSurfing host in the Munich metro station. As we stumbled back to his place, we compared stories of our nights and recounted the events of the day. Dancing terribly behind a float in the gay pride parade (Christopher Street Day as it’s called locally) as we tried to keep up. Bribing our way into the fantastically decorated after-party at the historic Rathaus City Hall only to find ourselves trapped inside with no money. Trying hopelessly to find someone to buy us a drink and dancing outside as the rain poured down. It was a day of drag-queens, day-drinking, sightseeing and parties. And while Munich pride surely brings fun to any foreigner who attends, our day was undoubtedly enhanced by our CouchSurfing host.

CouchSurfing is an exciting and budget-friendly accommodation when traveling. In fact, more than 5 millions users participate in 207 countries. If you’ve never heard of it or are hesitant to try, staying with a gay host can help you ease into the community, especially if you’re concerned about safety as an LGBT or female solo traveler. While we encourage staying with gay hosts, it’s important to point out that CouchSurfing tends to attract open-minded people so homophobic issues are unlikely when addressed in advance.

Throughout our travels, we’ve saved hundreds on otherwise paid lodging, but the best parts have been the social experiences and friends we’ve made. It has also forced us to step outside of our comfort zone and try something new. While many of the cities we’ve visited have liberal views, we still sought out gay hosts simply because of common interests. And as it turns out, they have introduced us to some of the best moments we’ve had while traveling – experiences only possible with a local as a guide.

To date, we’ve stayed with hosts in six different countries – though this doesn’t  include the debaucherous nights out when we ended up staying on unexpected couches!  Celebrating Gay Pride in Munich with our German host; attending the Lady Gaga concert in Sofia with our Bulgarian host; cooking a tapas style dinner for our Czech hosts – these unique experiences have been formed by the type of host we stay with, the city we’re in and our own ability to remain flexible and open to the opportunities that are presented. Having surfed in a variety of places, we’ve found the key aspects to CouchSurfing are finding the right host and having the right mentality.

Finding gay hosts is not straight forward since the profiles on CouchSurfing don’t state the sexual orientation of its users. So, if you want to stay with a gay host they must be filtered out of the CouchSurfing.org abyss. If you’re new to the scene, first create your profile and join LGBT specific groups. We have joined gay-friendly friendly groups like Queer CouchSurfers and Backpackers (for gay and gay friendly). In addition, just about every large city has its own group geared toward the LGBT community. Queer/LGBT Hong Kong and Gay Singapore are a couple examples that we have used recently to find hosts. After you’ve joined the desired group, find hosts by filtering and selecting to search “In My Groups”. Then only the profiles of all the relevant hosts in your groups will be shown and you can send them requests.

Having found gay hosts that way, we’ve had unforgettable times CouchSurfing. It not only saved us money but we met locals and saw places in a way not possible when staying in a hotel or hostel. Hosting is also a great a way to experience CouchSurfing in your own city if you don’t have upcoming travel plans but still want to be part of the community. Of course, you can screen potential surfers and choose only the ones you feel comfortable with. After surfing regularly ourselves, we are excited to host when we actually have a couch of our own to offer. And while staying with gay hosts has been our preference to date, this post has made us realize that even we need to step out of our comfort zone once again and stay with more diverse hosts rather than always staying safely within the LGBT community. After all, that’s what CouchSurfing is about – learning from new places, new people and new experiences. And when it starts getting too comfortable perhaps it’s time for a new challenge – so why not check out the unknown?

About The Author

is the author of 3 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. This post is a guest post. Interested in promoting your product, service or destination via Leave Your Daily Hell? Visit the Media page to learn more.

 

informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!

 
 
 

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

lasarie November 11, 2013 at 5:04 am

thanks for the help. i gotta look for lgbt hosts in spain

Robert Schrader November 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Where in Spain are you traveling?

PickyourPack January 12, 2014 at 4:41 am

I just found a page like Couchsurfing for gay community: http://www.cocksurfing.com
The name is clver as hell… lol

Robert Schrader January 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm

That’s funny, lol

Nomadic Boys February 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

Hello – my boyfriend and I are planning our trip in SE Asia starting with the Trans Siberian in June. Have you had any couch surfing experience in Russia?

Robert Schrader February 16, 2014 at 8:19 pm

I’ve never been to Russia :- But that sounds awesome.

Waegook Tom March 30, 2014 at 12:22 am

Gays are exactly what have turned me off CS now. It’s essentially a hook-up site. Too much shit to sift through to find a decent host now. Too much expectation for sex. Freeloading guests. Check out the Queer CS group for an example of how inane the site has become.

Robert Schrader March 30, 2014 at 9:25 am

Interesting perspective, Tom! In general, I find gays far too puritanical and unwilling to hook up, so it’s strange that this is flipped in the CS community.

Waegook Tom March 30, 2014 at 9:26 am

Unwilling to hook up?!? What kind of gay men do you know….definitely not the case in most places I’ve been!

Robert Schrader March 30, 2014 at 9:28 am

Well, not so much when traveling but at home in the U.S. Also certain places in Asia (unless you have $$) and a couple Latin American countries as well.

doodida September 24, 2014 at 2:55 pm

There are all kinds of gays or queers but I think I do that same critic for all queer groups actually – which queer group is not a hook up place ? Honestly, to me they’re more conservative than straight people. Just being all the time sexualizing everything it gets boring. By trying to prove the world how liberated their sexuality is, they just end up being very normative. The next Cool will be asexual !!! About CS then, one of my friends told me it wasnt safe even for him as a (gay) guy. I heard the same thing from another friend when speaking about hitch hiking. Men and women are reaching equality! yoopee! ^^

Robert Schrader September 25, 2014 at 7:36 am

Interesting perspective!

Roberto Linares March 20, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Hehe this post have really helped me! I have traveled three times but I didn’t know about this community. I’ll try to get a couch host for my upcoming trip to San Francisco, and because it’s my first time, I’ll try to get a LGBT host :D.

ilyes April 3, 2015 at 4:15 pm

hi !! i’m working with a travel agency and i can find cheaper tickets to travel, do not heesitate to contact me 😀 my facebook “ilyes mess”

José Bernabé Carranza Ruiz July 23, 2015 at 10:24 am

Not all LGBT folks want to hook up! I’m a 32 year old Mexican gay man, I’ve couch surfed, traveled around Mexico, Bali, Italy and was raised in the US, I currently live in Mexico and we are more than hooking up machines. We explore, venture, discover and learn about the amazing things our world has to offer. Greetings from Queretaro.

Robert Schrader July 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Thanks for sharing a different perspective 🙂

cocksurfing December 3, 2015 at 2:03 am

thanks! 😉

ปริทรรศน์ ไชยโชติ January 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

HI…every one i have plan go to switzerland in April-May 2016 . i
want friend for Couchsufting. Thank you

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