Couchsurfing vs. Airbnb – pros and cons

With the cost of traveling increasing each year, many thrifty travelers have started making use of online platforms to find affordable accommodation. One that provides the comfort and convenience that most travelers are looking for when abroad. In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of booking accommodation through the two most used accommodation platforms available on your smartphone. Both platforms provide a variety of similar features that ultimately achieve the same goal – booking somewhere to stay. However, how these two platforms achieve this is very different.


Airbnb started its online journey in 2010 and became popular by 2014. Airbnb’s mission statement is “to live in the world where one day you can feel like you’re home anywhere & not in a home, but truly home, where you belong”. The major benefit of using Airbnb is its simplicity and more importantly, the time it takes to book somewhere to sleep. Many of the listings offer instant confirmation so once you have found, booked, and paid for your accommodation, it is immediately secured for you. Listings that don’t offer instant confirmation can take up to 24 hours to be confirmed. Another major benefit of Airbnb’s platform is that they offer multiple types of accommodation. For example, you can browse through private rooms, shared rooms, and even rooms that may have the host staying with you. Regardless of your preference, Airbnb offers a large database of property listings that is suitable for all budgets and sleeping requirements.

Photo: Pixabay.com


Couchsurfing is another popular solution to affordable travel. The company was founded in 2003 and designed for travelers to meet and stay with locals. The Couchsurfing platform is a great way to travel while meeting new people along the way, without the hefty cost of accommodation. Couchsurfing operates in a very user-friendly manner for the traveler, simply search Couchsurfing listings online in the city you wish to travel to. Once you have found somewhere or several potential places, contact the host and request whether you can stay there on the given dates. Couchsurfing is that simple, and best of all, the Couchsurfing platform is free for travelers.

Photo: Pixabay.com

Which is better?

Traveling is amazing and fun but with the constantly increasing costs involved to do so, many travelers have become innovative in where they stay while abroad. We have already provided you with some great benefits to booking accommodation on one of these two popular traveling platforms. However, there are some things you must be aware of before making use of these platforms. Although both these platforms offer a very similar service, they are very much aimed at different consumers. On the one hand, Airbnb is better suited to the traveler or travelers wanting some more luxury or privacy, while Couchsurfing is more of a temporary, get-what-you-can-find solution. Generally, once a booking has been confirmed on Airbnb, the accommodation is yours for your chosen dates. However, with Couchsurfing, your host may decide to cancel your stay at any time before your arrival, which can be very inconvenient. But for their very low price of free, it’s only fair to allow the host the choice to determine this at any stage.

Both these apps afford us the opportunity to meet the locals at very reasonable prices, but deciding which app is better ultimately boils down to your own preferences.