North-America

A 6-month, 20,000km hitchhiking adventure across North America spreading the Podstel word, assessing the North American backpacker market and learning more about hospitality through CouchSurfing.

Aims:

  • To research the North American hostel and backpacker market.
  • To raise awareness for the Podstel concept and build Podstel's network in North America for future hostels.
  • Learn more about hospitality and hosting guests by using the CouchSurfing platform.

Story:

In May 2014, we embarked on what turned out to be a 20,000km hitchhiking adventure across the entire width of Canada and USA. We started in Montreal, headed west to Vancouver, south to Los Angeles and finally east, finishing in New York City.

1. Finishing picture in NYC

In that time, we hitchhiked 175 times and CouchSurfed 82 times. The main purpose of this trip was to build Podstel's network in North America while assessing the backpacker market for future Podstel hostels.

During the journey we conducted 24 video interviews with long-term nomads, CouchSurfers and hostel owners to understand what people think makes a great hostel.

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We also spent 1 month volunteering in a hostel/retreat in Canada gaining practical experience running a hostel (logistics, business, administration, legal).

Overall, it was a successful adventure for Podstel and an excellent opportunity to spread the Podstel word. As well as finding potential partners and locations for future Podstels, we learned a lot about personalised hospitality through our experiences CouchSurfing.