NBC12 Investigates: Couch surfing around the world - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

NBC12 Investigates: Couch surfing around the world

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Cash strapped, but need a vacation? There's a new way people are finding cheap digs on the road, over seas, and even here in Richmond. It's called couch surfing.

This is where you crash on the couch or in the extra bedroom of a complete stranger for free. Sounds nuts...right? Is it even safe? We sat down with a Richmond couch surfer who says it's the only way she travels.  

Traveling anytime soon? Move over hotel room- how about a comfy couch…at no cost.  

"I'm gone back to school. I have student loans that I will die before I pay back," said Richmond couch surfer D'anne Graham. 

D'anne Graham has been surfing the internet for a good place to stay for years. She's surfed her way through Canada and Ireland, even surfed at a home with an RV in the living room.  

For most the idea of stepping through the door of a stranger for the night seems out there. But Graham says it's, "Adventure! Very much so! And the adventure starts when you get on the site. And you put in where you're going." 

Couch surfing.org started in 2004. It connects surfers with couches around the world.  

"Most people do actually have an extra room with a bed. Some of the younger ones it's probably a beer stained couch," she said. 

There are more than 420 people opening up their homes in Richmond. On the site surfers create profiles, they post pictures of the place you can stay, and as a small comfort to travelers, the host even pays a fee to the website to have their home and personal information verified.  

Graham only stays with females or mixed groups.  

"There will be some women who say men only and I'm like... Ok... Not staying there! If they don't put up any pictures, kind of stay away from those," Graham said. 

She also tells friends and family exactly where she's crashing. 

"Some of them sound dodgy and you just don't go there! It's a lot of common sense," Graham added. "Something can happen in the West End of Richmond. I'm not going to stay home because of that." 

She has a friend in Richmond who offered up her couch and did have a bad experience.  

"Unfortunately somebody stole her very nice camera, and she reported it to couch surfing and they pulled his profile," she said. 

Graham recommends reading everything in the profile, especially the references from other people who have stayed there. She says couch surfing is much more than just a cheap place to stay.  

"It really is about getting to know local people. They tell you the local spots. Many of them if they have the time will take you around," said Graham. 

Graham says obviously couch surfing is not for everyone. She says you have to be really open minded, and above all - use your common sense and be careful.    

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

  • Latest news from NBC12.comNEWSMore>>

  • FIRST ALERT WEATHER: Cooler Weather Arrives This Week

    FIRST ALERT WEATHER: Cooler Weather Arrives This Week

    Sunday, July 23 2017 9:30 PM EDT2017-07-24 01:30:21 GMT

    *Hit or miss showers and storms possible tonight, most miss out *Mid 90s tomorrow, just isolated PM showers and storms *Less humid Tuesday, cooler by Wednesday with highs dipping into the 80s! TONIGHT: Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms into the night, but many areas likely to miss out. Lows in the low to mid 70s. (Rain Chance: 40%, decreasing after midnight) MONDAY: Partly sunny and hot with an isolated storm possible. Highs in the mid 90s. (Rain Chance: 20%)...

    More >>

    *Hit or miss showers and storms possible tonight, most miss out *Mid 90s tomorrow, just isolated PM showers and storms *Less humid Tuesday, cooler by Wednesday with highs dipping into the 80s! TONIGHT: Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms into the night, but many areas likely to miss out. Lows in the low to mid 70s. (Rain Chance: 40%, decreasing after midnight) MONDAY: Partly sunny and hot with an isolated storm possible. Highs in the mid 90s. (Rain Chance: 20%)...

    More >>
  • Victim identified in deadly triple stabbing in Richmond

    Victim identified in deadly triple stabbing in Richmond

    Sunday, July 23 2017 12:33 PM EDT2017-07-23 16:33:05 GMT

           Richmond police are working a death investigation after three women are stabbed overnight in the city's northside.        The stabbing happened just after midnight in the 3500 block of North Avenue.        Police aren't telling us much -- but can confirm three women were stabbed, and one of them died from their injuries.       As for the other two victims -- on...

    More >>

           Richmond police are working a death investigation after three women are stabbed overnight in the city's northside.        The stabbing happened just after midnight in the 3500 block of North Avenue.        Police aren't telling us much -- but can confirm three women were stabbed, and one of them died from their injuries.       As for the other two victims -- on...

    More >>
  • Man shot to death in Petersburg

    Man shot to death in Petersburg

    Sunday, July 23 2017 11:09 AM EDT2017-07-23 15:09:48 GMT
    Police are in the beginning stages of a homicide investigation, after a man is found shot to death in Petersburg Sunday morning. Officers say they were called to the 2700 block of South Crater Road, around 2 a.m. When they got to the scene, police say they found a man, who had been shot multiple times. That man, 53-year-old Samuel Gee, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police continue to investigate, and say they're speaking to witnesses who were present during the shooting. If...More >>
    Police are in the beginning stages of a homicide investigation, after a man is found shot to death in Petersburg Sunday morning. Officers say they were called to the 2700 block of South Crater Road, around 2 a.m. When they got to the scene, police say they found a man, who had been shot multiple times. That man, 53-year-old Samuel Gee, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police continue to investigate, and say they're speaking to witnesses who were present during the shooting. If...More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Bush's Baked Beans announces voluntary recall

    Bush's Baked Beans announces voluntary recall

    Sunday, July 23 2017 7:14 PM EDT2017-07-23 23:14:18 GMT
    Sunday, July 23 2017 7:14 PM EDT2017-07-23 23:14:18 GMT

    Bush Brothers & Co.Saturday announced a voluntary recall of certain 28-ounce cans of three varieties of its baked beans.  

    More >>

    Bush Brothers & Co.Saturday announced a voluntary recall of certain 28-ounce cans of three varieties of its baked beans.  

    More >>
  • After Craigslist scam, man can't enter his own home

    After Craigslist scam, man can't enter his own home

    Saturday, July 22 2017 8:29 PM EDT2017-07-23 00:29:14 GMT
    Saturday, July 22 2017 8:29 PM EDT2017-07-23 00:29:14 GMT

    The people inside rented the home from a mystery person on Craiglist. As the law stands, because they refuse to leave, Keith Mills now has to go to court to prove he’s the rightful owner.

    More >>

    The people inside rented the home from a mystery person on Craiglist while owner Keith Mills was on vacation.. As the law stands, because the renters refuse to leave, Mills now has to go to court to prove he’s the rightful owner.

    More >>
  • Police: Parents gave newborn drugs to cover up addiction

    Police: Parents gave newborn drugs to cover up addiction

    Sunday, July 23 2017 1:52 AM EDT2017-07-23 05:52:55 GMT
    Sunday, July 23 2017 1:52 AM EDT2017-07-23 05:52:55 GMT
    Colby Wilde, 29, and Lacey Christenson, 26, face four counts each of child endangerment and felony drug charges. (Source: Utah County Sherriff’s Office/KUTV/CNN)Colby Wilde, 29, and Lacey Christenson, 26, face four counts each of child endangerment and felony drug charges. (Source: Utah County Sherriff’s Office/KUTV/CNN)

    The baby’s mother used heroin and prescription pain medication during her pregnancy, and the baby was born addicted to drugs, police say.

    More >>

    The baby’s mother used heroin and prescription pain medication during her pregnancy, and the baby was born addicted to drugs, police say.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly