If you yearn to see a new city through the eyes of a local, instead of staying in a hotel, consider CouchSurfing.com. The site connects travelers with hosts offering free accommodations, according to a recent NY Times story.
Couch Surfing is not just “about finding free accommodations around the world- it’s about participating in creating a better world,” the site says. “We strive to make a better world by opening our homes, our hearts, and our lives.”
Couch Surfing was started in 2003 by a guy named Casey Fenton, who liked seeing foreign cities through the eyes of a local better than those of a guidebook. Now, six years later, the site has more than 1 million members. It is supported by member donations and volunteers.
To deal with safety concerns, Couch Surfing members can vouch for other members, hosts can have their address verified, and members are rated through positive and negative feedback.
There are hosts in 56,966 cities in 231 countries across the globe. Joining is free. For more about the site, read their About page.