I get pretty idealistic whenever an extended amount of time off from school approaches. I see this span of time as a golden opportunity to tour the northern cities of the East Coast, head out West and camp in the Grand Canyons, or maybe even jump on a plane to Europe. I’ll usually find an equally unrealistic friend to map out a travel plan with and we’ll spend hours in the library googling different locations around the world. Finally, our long sought after break from school arrives, and ten times out of ten, the furthest either one of us makes it out of our house is five miles up the street to the local McDonald’s. While I can’t really pinpoint exactly why our optimistic hopes and dreams to see the world turn to dust once we get home, something tells me it might have to do with money, or the lack-there-of.
Anyways, it’s that time of year again where I’m sitting in the library looking for things to distract me from my end-of-the-semester work load, so naturally I’ve been surfing the web in hopes of making my visions of becoming the intrepid traveler a reality. I’ve gone as far as typing into Google “traveling for free” (who am I kidding) and while I have yet to find a free airplane ticket, hotel, or cruise, I did stumble across a site with a rather interesting travel concept.
Vagabondish is a site set up to offer travel advice to vagabonds (those who travel continuously without a permanent residence). What intrigued me on the site was 8 Tools to Help You Travel Forever and Live Rent Free. The article described and offered links to eight networking sites created for different types of travelers looking for rent-free places to stay. Some sites required some sort of exchange-for instance Caretaker’s Gazette is a network designed for people who care for the elderly, house sit,work on a farm, etc. to receive free lodging. Other sites such as Couch Surfing and Global Freeloaders consist of travelers and hosts, who are willing to offer up/stay in a home for no exchange.
I’m familiar with Couch Surfing and know a few people who have done it. Basically they went anywhere they wanted to go in the United States and found a person on the site who lived in the area and stayed on their couch or in a guest room. Everyone I’ve talked to who has tried this has had nothing but positive experiences but I can’t help but wonder about the trust factor involved in this. However, it is tempting because housing tends to be the most expensive aspect of traveling and couch surfing eliminates this hefty cost.
Besides the eight sites, the vagabond site had a lot of other useful articles and tips on how to travel frugally. So, for all you doers out there who actually plan on making it out of your town over break, give it a look, and let me know if you’d ever consider couch surfing.