I have been doing a bit of research into various forms of Collaborative Consumption, and have been wondering about what happens to Couchsurfers when they grow up.

Now, I can see some of you scratching your head, as you might not have heard about Couchsurfing, nor Collaborative Consumption.  So we’ll start with definitions:

Couchsurfing

A network of people around the world who make available their couch for someone to sleep on, and in return someone else will offer you their couch.  It’s all free and people get to meet other people all over the world.

Collaborative consumption

Is where people share or rent out things they have in excess to either make or save money. Think of it as the next generation lending library.  Instead of merely borrowing books, you can rent bikes, swap homes for holidays or get house-sitters to look after their homes.  It doesn’t stop here, the list goes on and on.  Think of sharing power tools, storage, spare bedrooms, cars and more.

The risks and rewards

The risks are often more focused on than the rewards.  Although I have not been couchsurfing, we do often get in house sitters to look after our cat.  We’ve also used home exchange websites to swap homes with other others, mostly in Europe.  This has taken us to Paris, the Cognac region and in June when we’re off to Portugal.

There are risks, but many of the risks can be mitigated:  contracts, background checks, references, social media checks, neighbours often popping in and spy cameras.  Okay, I lied about the spy cameras!  I would imagine that to be one step too far.

The rewards:  extra cash or at least substantial cash savings, your house isn’t left empty, pets and plants are looked after, and generally you stay connected well beyond your exchange.

Type of person that becomes involved

I have become very curious to find out whether people who were Couchsurfers in their younger days generally become Collaborative Consumers when they grow up, which has led to some research into the phenomenon.

Are you a couch surfer?  Or collaborative consumer?  Or are you too afraid to try it?
I would love to hear your experiences and opinions.  Please get in touch! 

Twitter – @LiezlHesketh
Email – liezl.hesketh@btopenworld.com
Or comment below….