CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network, conceived by Casey Fenton and launched in 2004, that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Today, over a million people who might otherwise never meet are able to share hospitality and cultural understanding. Couchsurfing’s mission is to create inspiring experiences: cross-cultural encounters that are fun, engaging, and illuminating. CouchSurfing's initial focus was on hosting and 'surfing' (staying with a local as a guest in their home). Alongside these core experiences, Couchsurfing also facilitates a growing array of activities and events.
CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. After registering, which is free, members have the option of providing very detailed information and pictures of themselves and of the sleeping accommodation being offered, if any. Members looking for accommodation can search for hosts using several parameters such as age, location, gender and activity level. Home stays are entirely consensual between the host and guest, and the duration, nature, and terms of the guest's stay are generally worked out in advance to the convenience of both parties. No monetary exchange takes place except under certain circumstances (e.g. the guest may compensate the host for food).