WHAT: The free Couchsurfing app connects travelers for lodging, meet-ups and conversation.

HITS: I always thought staying on someone's couch was only for broke backpackers. Not so. The Couchsurfing network spans all demographics. I value the safety features that let you fine-tune your search results to specify gender, profiles with pictures, and profiles that have been vetted. This really helped my trust factor because I want only female "hosts" if it's just me and my daughter traveling. I was able to find hosts and locals in every city I looked up in the U.S., Britain and Canada.

MISSES: My experience varied when I used it on different platforms. Mixed reviews on Google Play didn't give me much confidence. When I tested it on my Android, I was annoyed because I couldn't read the page easily. When I used the app on my iPad, it said I could log in with Facebook, but when I tried it said the mobile app couldn't link my Facebook and Couchsurfing accounts.

-- Jen Leo, Los Angeles Times



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