Our Mission and Values

Our Mission

Couchers.org exists to create genuine real-world connections and community. By engaging with people from different cultures and backgrounds, we push people to grow into being more open, empathetic, and tolerant and to build safe, inclusive community.

Our Values


Profit will not be extracted from our organization, platform or community by any individual or organization. All funds, efforts, and decisions will be directed towards the mission.


Couch surfing provides social and societal value, not monetary value, as it is based on genuine connections between people. It is impossible to extract this value as profit without introducing conflicting incentives between the organization and the community. To sustainably deliver on our mission, we must be non-profit.

Free forever

No one should have to pay money to sign up and use Couchers.org.


Requiring payment for use is an untenable barrier to entry. By involving money in couch surfing, people may build wrong expectations.


We strive to build effective tools to help you have sincere experiences in the real world by spending minimal time looking for them in the digital world. We do not build to increase empty engagement.


We believe the abstraction of human experience into the digital world and its orphaning from real human connection is unhealthy and detrimental. We actively strive for a sense of real community and belonging in a world that is moving in the opposite direction.


Decision makers and volunteers should be a part of and drawn from the community; decisions should be made transparently and in consultation with the community; and the organization should actively solicit feedback. The responsibility of maintaining the platform should be borne by the community.


Maintaining a healthy organization and platform requires active participation from the community that we serve, and divorcing the community from the rest of the project stops us from really building for our people. The community can only participate if they have visibility into the organization.

Open source

The platform and tools we build are freely available for use, modification, and distribution, with the foundation not having unique rights to it. We strive to contribute back to the open source community.


We want others to benefit from the tools we build to the fullest extent possible. Distributing them freely gives our community a stronger guarantee that what we build together will be usable in the future.


People do not pay each other in money or in kind to participate in activities or the community. By surfing, you are not obligated to host in the future.

Note: people may pool together to cover external costs.


It is fundamentally incompatible with having genuine interactions. It is healthy to only give or only receive and we should learn to be more comfortable with it.

Inclusive and Accessible

Anyone should be able to participate in couch surfing provided that they act in a way that is beneficial to the rest of the community, and we strive to remove barriers that may exist due to culture, race, sexuality, gender, age, physical ability, or any other reason.


It is unjust and wrong to exclude anyone from genuine interactions, community, and opportunities for personal growth. Furthermore, we need diversity and breadth of experience to build a truly inclusive and healthy community.

We build for casual users

We serve everyone in our community regardless of their couch surfing experience, and we tailor our platform for the casual users, making it easy to get started and enter the community. We accept and welcome that most users will be apathetic towards the organization and the deeper reasons why we personally believe couch surfing is important. This does not mean we condone misuse or freeloading.


We believe that it's the participation and experiences that are important and make this project worthwhile, and that we need to continuously appeal to and welcome newcomers in order to thrive and remain healthy. Our ideology and purpose, though important for guiding the organization, is not necessary to be engaged with for that reason; and it is important to accept that and communicate that to community leaders.

We make the world a better place

We align ourselves with the betterment of the world. Travel should be accessible and low-impact, in terms of both preserving destinations as they are and on the planet. We strive to be environmentally friendly and ethical.


It's the right thing to do.