My daughter is on spring break from her university in Istanbul, Turkey, and with a friend is "couchsurfing" around Turkey.
I didn't realize until recently that couchsurfing isn't just a term for staying with friends or friends of friends, but a social networking phenomenon.
there are more than 1.8 million registered couchsurfers, including over 400,000 in the U.S. and over 150,000 each in Germany and France (the top three couchsurfing countries.)
There are even 91 in Belize.
Couchsurfing is an international non-profit network, established in 2004, that connects travelers with locals in 237 countries and territories around the world.
Hosts are not permitted to charge their couchsurfers; anyone who does will be removed from the couchsurfer site. Most couchsurfers do thank their host with a small gift or an act of kindness (such as cleaning the house or cooking a meal), but this is not required and should not be requested by a host.
Should you want to get involved, either as a host or as a traveler, the first step is to register your profile on couchsurfing.com. There are no fees. Couchsurfing survives on donations.
Should you want to investigate it, on either the travel or local side, visit www.couchsurfing.com.