Alternatives to Couchsurfing
Somewhat similarly to Friendship Force (www.friendshipforec.org which I wrote about in the last post, there are several Websites which allow you to connect with people in other cities where you will be visiting, or to host visitors yourself.
The best known is www.couchsurfing.com, but it has been getting some bad publicity lately for being in some cases mainly a hook-up site. If this is a concern, there are two other similar sites. www.hospitalityclub.org and www.bewelcome.org. Both are sites that permit you to correspond with people in other places with the aim of meeting and possibly staying with them. Hospitality Club was started by a young German man, while Be Welcome is based in France. Couchsurfing is U.S. based.
Unfortunately all these sites require you to join before you can find out very much about other members. Since I am not willling to join any of them, I can't say much about how well they work. However, the idea is certainly intriguing.
I personally prefer groups like Friendship Force because there is more structure to them, and while you stay with locals there is always someone to run interference in the unlikely event of problems..