I’m on summer vacation and technically unemployed until my PhD starts in the fall, so I’m spending about a month traveling to see family and friends. I’ll be staying with my mom, my in-laws, my cousin, and three separate pairs of friends, all at their homes. As an introvert, I find that there are a few things I can do, while spending time at various homes, to make sure I’m recharged in order to enjoy the high amounts of social time for the next month…
Here in West Palm, Florida, my sister’s family and my husband and I have been co-habitating under one roof. My husband and I help out with cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, and childcare while they give us a roof over our heads while we’re looking for long-term jobs and a home. It’s working out really great! Here’s how I’ve been helping to make our Family Compound feel like a functional space….
I’ve stayed at a bunch of places through CouchSurfing and AirBnB and I think I have a few ideas on how to make my guests leave glowing reviews (and send more guests your way!). You can call my strategy Toned-Down Ned Flanders: there’s an episode of The Simpsons where Ned lets the Simpsons borrow his beach house for the weekend. He leaves a note on every square inch of the cabin explaining how to use each thing (like “Put food in me” on the fridge). Don’t go to these lengths or risk being made fun of mercilessly on the internet, but DO share more information than you think you might have to.
My boyfriend and I have been traveling together for about five years now. We’ve done hotels, hostels, and even AirBnB — but our favourite way to spend time in a city where we don’t know anyone is also the cheapest way: CouchSurfing.org. It’s a free network for travellers and hosts for free accommodation, meet-ups, or advice, and it’s been around since 2004. Imagine not only sleeping in Bologna for free, but staying with people your own age, with similar interests, who show you around town to the best spots you might otherwise miss. This is CouchSurfing.org.
In this post: learn about sister states programs and what to expect if you open your house to a stranger from another country (hint: awesomeness).