The site has 285,000 registered users, and so far 98.8 percent have given positive ratings to their couch-surfing experiences. Members can sign up and offer their couches, and in exchange they have the right to search for available space, and hit the road after contacting their hosts. "It makes the world a smaller place," said Erin Benoit, who recently hosted three visitors in Massachusetts.
"CouchSurfing would seem to appeal to the postcollegiate backpacker set," said Matt Gross in The New York Times (free registration required), "but families dig it, too." The site's members don't have to hit the road themselves to get a taste of faraway places. Couples who find it hard to travel with kids can open their doors to fellow couch surfers, and get a vicarious thrill by listening to tales from "touring rock bands, teenage Canadian motorcyclists, and other frugal travelers."
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