Having the money to fly to places and to see them doesn’t always guarantee that you really see them. Staying at a hotel in the tourist zone of any town can be lots of fun but not always fulfilling. The irony here is that due to having insufficient funds you may find yourself having a much more fulfilling experience than the above traveler. I have just come across CouchSurfing.com through a recommendation of a fellow traveler who has been using this site around Mexico. “Couch surfing” is a choice for the budget traveler who is seeking free lodging and the chance to meet local people. This launched in 2004 and how has 50,000 plus members from 226 countries.
So how does it work? Create a profile and then start connecting with people either by offering your couch or your time for a cup of coffee OR by accepting the offer of either of these two options. Now the obvious question is safety and this one that has been thought through by this on-for profit organisation with verification levels built into the system. However, like anything in life the ultimate decision to connect with strangers in this way lies with you. This is something I will be looking at as I travel for the next few months.