Pauper Travel

A blog dedicated to ultra-cheap travel. Based on my book "Travel Cheap-Travel Well!- Confessions Of A Travleing Pauper. You can learn how a Pauper travels like a King---all the time!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Free Lodging? Nice Resource For Paupers

I came across a really neat idea. This website is something I thought you might want to explore for yourself, dear Pauper. is a network of people willing to accommodate travellers completely at their own convenience, in any way that they can. Completely free of charge. Whether its just a spare mattress or a spare bedroom or even a granny flat. Most budget travellers aren't too picky. :) Think about it...on average approximately one third of a budget traveller's costs are spent on accommodation. Imagine if you could dramatically lower, if not completely eliminate, that cost by being able to stay for free in people's homes all over the world. That means more money in your pocket to spend on having a great time on your travels. Not only do you get free accommodation but you also get the inside knowledge, experience and culture that comes with staying with a local that you'd never be exposed to staying in a hotel or hostel.

So what's the catch?
There are two sides to being a GlobalFreeloader. The Host and the Guest. This site is about give and take. Therefore, you can't be one without the other. By registering as a GlobalFreeloader, you can become a Guest and gain access to this network of free accommodation and friendly people. All that is asked in return is that you also become a GlobalFreeloader Host, willing to accommodate other travellers, completely free of charge, whenever it is convenient for you. I also ask to give back to the site whatever you take from it. If you visit 20 other members then you're expected to accommodate 20 other members, over whatever period your comfortable with.

How often/When/Where do I host travellers?
GlobalFreeloaders can accommodate other members wherever, whenever and as often as they like. Whether its only for one night or for a hundred. Whether its before, after or during your own travels. Some people enjoy the company and cultural exchange that comes with hosting. Others will find it less enjoyable. It is completely up to each GlobalFreeloader to decide how accommodating they want to be. There's an interactive calendar so that you can select when people will be able to stay with you. For instance say, if you just don't feel like having guests in November, then you can block out that month. Or if a friend is visiting for the first 2 weeks in December, then again, you just block out those 2 weeks, and the search engine will automatically look over your residence. I also understand that you may not want to host travellers for the rest of your life, which is why you register with the site in 12 month blocks.

So I let just anyone into my house?
No. Privacy and security are of the utmost concern at All addresses and even Hosts' email addresses are kept strictly confidential. It is up to the Host to reveal their address to a potential Guest. We just do the introductions. Hosts can acquaint themselves with potential Guests for as long as they like, before agreeing to accommodate them. You are not obligated in any way to accommodate anyone. At you are in control.

So how's the whole process work?
Ok, so you're ready to head off on your travels. Say you'd like to visit Sydney, Australia at the end of November. You simply enter your chosen destination (Sydney) and dates(say November 20th) into the GlobalFreeloaders directory and it gives you all of the Hosts that may be willing to accommodate you in that area. The listings will be general information about potential hosts .

Visit the website for more details. This apears to be for younger Paupers, but who knows? We definetly want to finf FREE whenever we's a Paupers favorite price point!

What's The Big Deal About Hiking Boots?

I'm going to cover an area that Traveling Paupers are always talking about. The fine art of hiking. In a series of blogs over the upcoming weeks I'll use this topic as a base for those who love nothing more than 'walking' the earth and using it as their main means of transportation.

It's really the best, you know. You get a real, slow, deliberate view of the landscape, the townships, the people, the rawness of nature, when you hoof it!

Let me start with the basics:

Hiking Boots

What’s the big deal about hiking boots? Aside from the fact that they’re expensive, that is. But do you really need to buy such an expensive item when you’re only starting out?

The answer is “Yes.”

Your hiking boots, in fact, are the most important item in your whole hiking gear. In hiking, you’ll be using your feet more often than any other part of your body, so all the more reason for you to provide them with ample protection. Hiking boots that are built sturdy can protect your feet from rough trails.

Follow the guide below for a list of things to look for when buying hiking boots:

That “Solid” Feeling

This is what hiking boots are all about. The good ones have that “solid” feeling on the bottom, which means that you should not be able to feel rocks or stones through the soles. What if you can? Well, then sooner or later after many miles on the trail, there is a very good likelihood that your feet are going to start hurting, and that’s no good, especially if you still have a couple of miles to go before breaking camp.

When buying a pair of hiking boots, test its solidity. Try pressing the sole of your thumb in the bottom. If it feels soft, then those boots cannot give your feet the protection they need. You can also try twisting the soles of the boot. If you can, then it’s also probably too soft for hiking.

Always remember that trails are not like the pavement in front of your home. They are most certainly rocky and if you are not wearing a good pair of hiking boots, they can also be a huge pain.

Side Protection

The bottom part of your hiking boots is not the only thing important. Good boots are also expected to provide you with protection on the sides. In fact, the reason they are called “heavy” hiking boots is that they have extra padding to protect your foot from stones, rocks, and branches you may step on which could gouge into the side of the boot.

If you’ve chosen to pick fabric boots, be sure to get those with protective “welts.” They’re found about ½-inch or more up from the soles to give added protection.

Ankle Support

Achilles obviously didn’t know the first thing about boots, so he had nothing to protect himself when Paris hit him with an arrow on the ankle. Don’t follow in Achilles’ footsteps. ( I know, that's corny!) Pick good hiking boots with good ankle support.

Here’s how to pick them:

Grab the top of the boot.
Try to bend it sideways.
If it bends easily, it’s probably not going to provide the level of protection needed on the trail.

The top of the boot should be stiff enough to hold the ankle in place. That’s how you determine a pair of hiking boots with good support.

Don’t Let the Water In

Wet feet cause blisters. Blisters are painful. Blisters are evil. Avoid blisters at all costs. Get hiking boots that are waterproof. If you've found hiking boots that aren’t waterproof, at least make sure that they are capable of being waterproofed. Fabric boots may be waterproofed with special waterproofing solutions, such as liquid silicone. However, these solutions generally do not waterproof enough to make the boots useful.

Just some ideas about a subject that gives me ....(ready?)...a real kick!