CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — Benjamin Sanders of Cambridge has traveled through Europe, Africa and Asia, staying for free on people’s couches.
“I love couch surfing,” he says. “It’s a great way to travel. Not only do you stay with someone for free, but you’ve already got someone who knows the area and can show you around.”
Sanders is one of more than two million members of couchsurfing.org, the online network that connects travelers with hosts and their couches.
“These are travelers, outgoing trusting individuals, and it attracts a class of people who are wonderful and respectable individuals,” he said.
But the worldwide couch surfing phenomenon is raising questions about safety. Last year a couch surfer reported she was raped in England by her host.
Harvard University is now banning couch surfing. The University says, “The guest policy in our Houses allows for overnight guests, but the assumption is always that these guests are known well by the students…”
Sanders says he is disappointed by the move, because he says couchsurfing.org has created a network where people can check on other members.
“Everyone I’ve ever talked with about couch surfing has had nothing but great experiences.”