Looking for a free place to stay or to broaden your community of travel enthusiasts?
Available for: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad; Android
What it does: This app connects travelers for lodging, meet-ups, conversation and more.
What's hot: 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. The network has been around a long time so there are lots of active users. Its strength in numbers and accessibility from mobile devices were a win-win for me. I was able to find hosts and locals in every city I looked up in the U.S., Britain and Canada. Use the map view to see how many "surfers" there are all over the world.
What's not: My experience varied when I used it on different platforms. Mixed reviews on Google Play didn't give me much confidence. And when I tested it on my Android, I was annoyed because I couldn't read the page easily. I was constantly resizing the screen, scrolling to get to sections I couldn't see and having a tough time finding filters I had used on its website. 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.