These online communities link travelers with people offering free lodging. They require registration for access. Keep personal safety in mind: The sites below offer tips and say they monitor both hosts and travelers, but you're pretty much on your own in someone else's home.
· CouchSurfing, http://www.couchsurfing.com. Pick and choose places to crash. When you can, host fellow couch surfers.
· GlobalFreeloaders.com, http://www.globalfreeloaders.com. A free accommodation network. You're expected to reciprocate as a host.
· Hospitality Club, http://www.hospitalityclub.org. A way to connect travelers with locals. You don't have to host anyone, but a roof or a guided tour is appreciated.
· Stay4Free, http://www.stay4free.com. For those who like to meet people from other cultures and countries.
And not free:
· HomeExchange.com, http://www.homeexchange.com. Connects vacation home-swappers, who pay $99.95 a year to be listed. Similar sites include Home for Exchange ( http://www.homeforexchange.com, from $59.50 a year) and Digsville Home Exchange Club ( http://www.digsville.com, $44.95 a year). -- S.K.S.