Cheap Travel tip: Couch surfing

    Hello from the Philippines my friends! Today I am going to give you one of my favorite cheap travel tips, which is couch surfing! Couch surfing is the cheapest way to find shared housing on the road, in fact it is absolutely free! It works a little bit like Air B&B and hostel world, except you are asking a person that lives in the destination if they are willing to host you. The video at the bottom of this post will show you how to get on couch surfing and starting hosting or searching for hosts today! So without going into that, I want to tell you the absolute best part about staying with locals. The housing can be basic, you might be on the couch in the living room (if they have one…a living room I mean), sharing a mattress or blow up mattress with them or other travelers and sometimes just sleeping on a camp mattress, but there are certainly couch surfers with extra air conditioned bedrooms, private bathrooms and the works! The beauty of it, is you really get to experience how people in other cultures live, you eat where and how they eat, you shower how they shower, and you attend the same events that they do.

My host JP is on the far left, the rest are close family friends that invited us over for birthday dinner of the man sitting next to him.

    Couch surfing also opens the door to places that are less than touristic. You might be staying in a little village that may never have seen a 6’2” white man with a red beard in their entire lives. Of course this leads to them calling you Yao Ming, and saying “Hey Yo!” and “what’s your name” after you walk by paired whatever other basic english terms they may know. Atleast in the Philippines I have found the people to be particularly shy when they aren't used to speaking english (or atleast not to a giant white guy). On the other hand there is the occasional “hey baby”, “hey darling” and “take me with you” as you pass which adds to the hilarity of the whole experience. I definitely get a lot of inquisitive looks,but I find that everyone is disarmed by a friendly smile, a peace sign, or a head nod, and they are simultaneously surprised and excited when you give them that much personal attention. People are for the most part extremely friendly. Especially in the Philippines they greet you with hello sir, the kids swarm for high fives and to ask you to dunk a basketball for them (which I failed to do twice.. but I was barefoot!), and if the locals know your host they may invite you for dinner or offer you a front seat at whatever is going on in town that night. I was even interviewed on the only radio station in the city!

Some of the kids, the "Hey Yo'ers" and fearless palm tree climbers.,

local transport.. we tried to both fit in this and paddle.. no success. Not made for two

    As a traveler with US dollars the Philippines are already super cheap, as low as $10 a day with a bed in an air-conditioned dorm and 3 meals from street vendors/unlimited purified water refills. With couch surfing, I’m spending more like $0-$4 a day (sometimes less), depending on how much transportation I am taking. So cheap travel is possible! For vacation goers, this may not be your dream, but for those of you who have saved a little bit of money and want to travel for an extended period of time, this is the way to do it! Pair couch surfing along with a cheap flight from www.secretflying.com or www.skyscanner.net and for less than $500 you can spend a month in the Philippines with return flights! BOOM! Now get on there and make a profile so I can come sleep on your couch! Make sure to watch the videos below, one of how to make a profile, and one detailing my experience in Cataingan and Ticao Island!

Sunrise from the deck at JP's aunt's house

Thanks for tuning in, be sure to invite your friends or share the videos as well! For all of my Filipino friends out there, Salamat and sorry for the nose bleed!

Stay Wild

-Joe