This is how I scored free accommodation in New York City

We love how much our Friend Theory community is growing, so we want to celebrate the stories of fellow friends & travelers who have stories to tell. So we are going to start having guest writers on our blog – We’ll let Max speak for himself…

Wheels touched the tarmac as the sunset was eaten by the Manhattan skyline…Once the Orlando – New York flight landed, I had my first and only taste of the infamously unkind locals. That singular taste came from a man who obnoxiously disagreed with my right to skateboard in Newark airport. Apart from him, I only met the loveliest people, who helped me even when I was in need of a place to stay.

To set the scene, I only had a singular friend living in New York at the time, Sara, who I’d met in Bulgaria the previous year. She had promised me a couch when I was planning my trip of the States, but due to relationship problems and sharing rent I found myself abruptly empty handed in the city of dreams. To make things worse, my flight had been delayed a day because of a hurricane, so the backup hostel I’d booked had re-booked my room, which I wasn’t aware of.

There I was, at 9pm, sitting in front of a booked-out hostel in Brooklyn with my 20kg pack and skateboard. At that point, I found out New York fashion week had concurrently landed as I had because I looked back on hostelworld and Airbnb to rebook. Everything was booked apart from that 1.2 star hostel in woop woop, that has bedbug reviews. Then I tried to couchsurfing, but guess what? Not even one reply.

Damn. 😦

Suvi saved me from the notorious streets that night, at the same time risking her spot at a prestigious school of design. My first night in New York, I had to crash on a couch at an art school whilst being monitored suspiciously by the campus security. Suvi kept her promise, and she manually asked her friends if anyone was keen to host me.

I woke up and was greeted by some fine arts students smiling at me and surprisingly, 5 or 6 couches/sofa beds, within an hour of Manhattan. All couches belonged to Suvi’s friends. After a day of exploring and getting in contact with these generous people, I ventured to Brooklyn to redeem a couch offer and was greeted by one of the most generous, beautiful people I’d ever come across, Kat – my Friend Theory host.

She showed off her gorgeous sharehouse and the tour ended on the rooftop of my free accommodation, overlooking the most famous skyline in the world. I had one of those ‘I’ve made it’ moments and how much one person could influence my experience of a city with a singular connection. We got to know each other and had the necessary administrative conversations (“have I just let a terrorist into my house?”) on that rooftop as we watched day turn into night. But because we had a friend in common and it wasn’t the typical couchsurfing.com experience, we trusted each other before we’d met. I spent the next few nights exploring the nightlife with a chaperone in the city that never sleeps. I made so many good memories of awesome bars and awesome people I’d met along the way.

Even if I hadn’t had free accommodation to offer, the speak-easy secret spots and bars and the great friends of friends I had met through Kat, gave me a completely different experience to Manhattan hostel living. Although most travelers are more organised than I am and won’t have an allusion to christmas eve as a travel story, Friend Theory is a platform that doesn’t make you have to post an SOS on Facebook. It allows you to see what mutual friends you have, wherever you are. Get on board with Friend Theory so you can seamlessly connect, host and stay with mutual friends you haven’t made yet.

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