Where the Hospitality Is Priceless

Short on cash? Online travel networks are helping tourists find a place to sleep free of charge

Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty

Online travel networks are helping tourist find a place to sleep free of charge.

Forget the falling dollar. All that penny-pinching tourists need to travel the globe is a willingness to try something different and access to a new breed of travel website.

Some of these electronic bulletin boards, known as hospitality-exchange sites, hook up travelers with locals who don't mind having someone stay in an extra room, crash on an empty couch or even pitch a tent in the yard. Many allow people to take turns hosting one another in their homes. And others arrange work for temporary room and board. A few charge nominal fees, but most are free. "What used to be...

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