Couchsurfing is definitely not a thing you hear of every day.
To couchsurf is "to stay overnight in someone else's home while traveling."
Now, a lot of people aren't privy to the idea of opening your door to a total stranger for a multitude of reasons, the top ones being along the lines of a serial killer or sociopath. And, while these are great points to be concerned about, luckily you get to pick who you want staying with you or if you're doing the surfing, who you want to stay with. It has to be a mutual agreement. You don't need a spare room or an empty apartment for them, all you need is a couch or cot for them to sleep on.
This is a website, https://www.couchsurfing.com/ that many backpackers find themselves on while traveling for the simple reason that it saves them money on accommodation as well as, you get a cultural experience out of it if you're living with the people from the country that you're visiting. It's pretty rewarding on both ends as you get to meet people from around the world in your own home.
It could be scary to think about, letting a stranger into your own home but I did it and it was one of the best experiences for me personally. At first, I was worried about my safety even though the girl who stayed with me seemed totally normal and interesting, but, obviously, in the back of my mind I couldn't help but think what if it goes wrong.
Luckily for me, she was exceptional and gave me a really good vibe about couchsurfing because it really isn't all that frightening. You have more in common with the world than you think. Connection is all over the place. As Americans, we seem to have a skewed view compared to many other countries about traveling (maybe that's why just 30 percent of Americans even have a passport and only nine percent study abroad).
I've heard of many different forms of travel, but this one is definitely worth looking into. Obviously, common sense has to play a role here as you can't just let anybody in. But the world isn't as big and bad as the media portrays it. I've heard of a couple situations where the host was weird or gave off creepy vibes, but just like with anything, you need to be smart about it. I talked to the person I was hosting a couple of months before and up until she arrived; she even brought me a little gift from Australia, which was very cute and sweet. My friends and family met her and we even spent Easter together. She even stayed a few days longer than expected as well because we were having a good time.
I would recommend couchsurfing as long as you're smart and safe about it because there's nothing like meeting new people and welcoming them into your home. I may sound crazy, but saying that you let a complete stranger into your home and shared meals with them, laughs and, by the end of the week, sharing a bed because of how comfortable we became was incredible.
I thought of her as my little sister; this friendship was nothing like I ever made before. And now, I have a place to stay in Australia.
Bottom line: the world isn't as bad and scary as you think it is. There are many, many more good people in this world than there are bad.