Couch surfing can be an inexpensive way to travel;
rather than having to line up a hotel room, you get to stay on the
couch (or perhaps in a spare room or other accommodations) provided by
someone local to the area. The concept is not particularly new, but the
Internet's ability to help travelers ensure a safe experience is.
Sites such as CouchSurfing.org offer connections to millions of
prospective hosts. It can seem a little crazy to just connect with
someone online and then show up on his or her doorstep, hundreds of
miles away. Even if you can assume that most people willing to offer up a
place to stay to strangers are well-intentioned, there are many
possibilities that something will go wrong. CouchSurfing.org's user
profiles put an emphasis on bringing in reviews or references; a host
can review a visitor and vice-versa.
CouchSurfing.org also offers a
verification service where, for a $25 fee, the site will take
responsibility for checking that your address and identity are what you say they are.
To reinforce online connections with real-world connections,
CouchSurfing.org integrates Facebook; in addition to avoiding filling
out extra profiles, you can see if you have a link to a particular host
through your existing connections.
Retirees trade homes for boats, travel, sofas
Picture for illustration purposes only. By living simply,
bartering and eating from street vendors, one 64-year-old says he saved
the equivalent of US$36,000 (S$44,000) yearly (Photo: Wikimedia)
(NEW YORK) At 68, Barbara Miller Elegbede is living proof that flower children need not grow up. A self-described hippie, she attended a San Francisco college at
psychedelia's height and remembers friends constantly crashing on the
couch of her apartment, just a block away from Janis Joplin's pad in the
hip Castro neighbourhood.
Now retired from teaching and secretarial work, Elegbede, 68, has
become a full-time "couchsurfer" herself, living in other people's guest
quarters all over the world. (She has a temporary apartment in Tempe,
"I've lived in Africa. I know how to take a bath from a bucket ... I've
lived in caves in Greece and hitchhiked all over the world. Next year,
I'm off to India for two or three months."