For those of us who travel a lot, the most enduring memories are often of the people we meet along the way. Remember that hilarious waiter in Rome? Or Mary Murphy, the owner of the B&B in Ireland? The best way to connect easily with locals is to stay in their homes or arange to meet them before you leave home. If you would like to host international guests in your home, for a meal or a tour, check out USServas. Here are resources to help you meet the locals.
- Free Homestays. www.tripping.com for couches to castles. Join their global community and meet locals for coffee, conversation, parties and homestays in over 175 countries.
- U.S. Servas www.usservas.org members are hosts and travelers of all ages, abilities and walks of life. More than 1500 hosts cover the whole spectrum of diversity. Through Servas’ enlightening visits, participants come face to face with new peoples and cultures to further their understanding of the lives and concerns of others. Your participation and the friendships you’ll discover can make a difference in your life and the world you live in.In addition to the benefits of traveling and hosting, Servas also provides volunteer opportunities, hosts local gatherings and dinners, and sponsors national and international conferences, and summer universities. USSERVAS.org
- CouchSurfing helps you make new friends all over the world. And you may even get your own bed and bedroom! www.couchsurfing.org
- A free network of people around the world who offer free accommodation, advice and help when they are traveling – hospitality exchange is the Hospitality Club. Free membership.www.hospitatityclub.org
- meetup.com is for neighbors or travelers to meet others with a common interest ranging from sailing meet-ups to to French conversation.
- Meet others through your local walking tour guide. www.contexttravel.com offers scholar-led tours of the world’s cultural capitals. Context provides an in-depth alternative to traditional tours. We are of architects, historians, art historians, and other specialists who organize walks in 21 cities around the world—and counting.
- Stay in someone’s home. Check out to rent from people in 34,183 cities and 192 countries.