One of the ways that I explain Airbnb is I will ask someone if they have heard of Airbnb. If they say no, then I ask if they have heard of Couch Surfing. Most people say yes, so then I say that Airbnb is kind of like Couch Surfing except that it is not free.
Honestly, some people might be more comfortable using Airbnb than Couch Surfing. Here in the US, it is unusual to get anything for free, especially a night on a stranger’s couch! We can be a naturally suspicious bunch, and sometimes it feels better to pay for a night on a stranger’s couch (or in their guest room, or renting their whole home, etc.) then it does to take something for free.
Couchsurfing is a community much like Airbnb with guest and host reviews, where travelers can stay for free with someone from the community. You can read about the host’s home and contact them and ask questions, and even make reservations through the Couchsurfing website. In exchange, the guests may want to offer services like washing dishes, making dinner, providing pet care services, or even simply sharing stories from their travel. However, there is no requirement to provide anything in return for a night on a stranger’s couch.
With Airbnb, you pay a set price and you know for sure what you are getting. You may be staying in a room, you may have an entire basement to yourself, or maybe even the whole house. You will know if you have access to a shared kitchen or laundry facilities, and which bathroom to use. For some of us, myself included, it feels a lot better to know we are paying for a service that we are using.
Sign up as an Airbnb host, what are you waiting for?
Image by Tomwsulcer – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53534446