The latest luxury travel craze of glouchsurfing – staying in the homes of the rich and famous for free!
You’ve probably already heard of the term ‘glamping’, used to refer to camping in relative luxury – a merging of the terms ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’. But have you heard about glouchsurfing? Probably not. This is the new craze that’s been taking the luxury travel industry by storm – and with good reason.
Now, in case you didn’t already know… couchsurfing has been around for some time. It’s a community of like-minded travellers and hosts who open up their homes to one another, allowing them to sleep in the spare room, on the floor or, of course, on the couch, usually just for a few days at a time before they move on to the next place. With a free bed for the night assured, this allows people operating on modest budgets to travel for an extended period.
Typically, the accommodation is often basic at best, but that looks set to change with glamorous couchsurfing, or ‘glouchsurfing’ as it is better known. A new wave of uber-wealthy homeowners are opening up their grand mansions, luxury penthouse apartments, historic chateaux and fine palaces all over the world.
Staying in the homes of the rich and famous for free might sound like a dream come true. For many, though, it is set to become a reality. Billionaire heiress Avril Le Fou opened the doors of her palatial abode on the outskirts of Paris to me only last week so that I could see what glouchsurfing was all about and sample it for myself.
Or rather, her butler opened the door. I had been met at Paris CDG airport by Avril’s chauffeur and driven in a Phantom Rolls Royce through vineyards and beautiful French countryside before reaching the private wrought-iron gated entrance of Avril’s 12,000-acre estate. As we travelled up the driveway, I was presented with a beautiful property with a 17th Century French facade and greeted by the butler with a glass of the finest Champagne. My bags were taken to my room with a beautiful four poster bed built of late Medieval oak.
You might well ask why the wealthy are doing this and the reasons can be multi-faceted. One common reason is loneliness. Hosts might have grand homes but sometimes have nobody to share them with. Inviting travellers through the doors gives them company. Another reason is that the owners often have multiple abodes and like to keep the domestic staff busy when they are not home. There’s often a skilled team of kitchen staff, for instance, that would be left ‘twiddling their thumbs’ if they didn’t have dishes to prepare (and – oh yes – with glouchsurfing gourmet meals to rival even the finest Michelin-starred restaurants are invariably included). Keeping staff occupied ensures they remain ‘on the ball’ with their respective duties and continue to hone their skills for when the owner returns.
Luxury hotels all over the world will no doubt be worried about the potential impact that glouchsurfing is likely to have upon their businesses… what do you think the impact will be? Please tell us in the comments!
Also, if you want to know more about glouchsurfing and how you can travel in luxury at no cost, then please make sure you leave a comment below detailing why you think you should be eligible to have access to the all-new glouchsurfing database of the world’s finest homes that are opening their doors, and you too could be travelling the world in style… for free!