Skip the airport hotel: try a hostel or couchsurfing

Airfares are up, so lots of travelers are trying to find less expensive places to stay once they’re on the ground. Two options – clearly not for everyone – are hostels and couch surfing. I explore both options in my Well-Mannered Traveler column posted today on MSNBC.com.

(Photo from MSNBC.com column; from AP file)

The couch surfing alternative is especially intriguing. The 710,000 members of the free, informal, and suddenly-very-hip CouchSurfing Network use the Web to both offer up and seek out free places to stay. Hosts and ‘surfers’ create personal profiles and, like buyers and sellers on eBay, check each other out through references and feedback.

That way, surfers will know that there’s a guy in Italy who will let you stay at his house for free only if you wrestle him for who gets which couch.