Traveling will expose you to the amazing stories of thousands of other people who are also discovering the world by any means they can. Airplane, cars, trains, motorcycles, boats, bicycles, skates, buses, trucks, hitchhiking, or backpacking. They may travel alone, with someone they love, their families, or in small groups. Some have a comfortable budget allowing them plenty of comfort, while others travel on a shoestring budget, or no budget at all.
To be the most effective and useful web site for couch surfers, we are designing search features that encompass all these factors. Travellers want simple and effective ways to express how they are traveling, what they need, and where they are going to be at what times. Hosts need effective ways to gauge the trustworthiness of their guests, and the tools to plan and prepare their hosting experience.
Since 2012 thousands of people gradually migrated from the usual couch surfing web sites to other social networks such as Facebook. They are reaching out that way because the tools currently available are not simple and effective enough.
We want to streamline the way couch requests are handled. In social networks people just post a question out in the open asking for a couch. That can be annoying and it happens often, it also used to happen in location groups on Couchsurfing.org. Then in sites that have couch requesting systems users end up searching for hosts, and using copy and paste to send requests to each one of them. That results in annoying impersonal requests and a lot of guess work from the hosts.
In our system the user creates a travel plan, and adds to it whomever is going to travel with them. They also specify what kind of accommodations they would like. It is important to show all the languages they are capable of communicating in, what kind of gear they have (sleeping bag? none?), and an indication of their interests during the visit.
Where it gets more exciting is with time, the system will be able to compile a comprehensive report of the experience and habits of the guests. Before hosting or visiting someone, you will be able to see how they have been participating.
For instance, if a young man hosted 50 times, 100% females, and has just 28 reviews, that tells you about the kind of host he is. Also, being able to see professional profiles, presence in social networks, in addition to reviews, helps make your decision process much easier.
Clicking the name of a participant will bring up the persons complete profile.
The travel plan will be visible to everyone, with the exception of contact information and other items depending on privacy options. The user can then look at a list of possible hosts, created from a selection. Clicking on the names will show the full profile of the host, and they can then send a couch request of a simple message and a personal note with a link to their travel plan.