An Online Primer for Budget Exploration
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I have been holding out on you, saving the best for last. There are a few organizations that arrange homestays for travelers. Members can visit complete strangers in other lands, who willingly offer to take them in for a few nights. Is this a great world, or what?
Servas International is one such interesting organization in which members open their homes to travelers for a couple of days of hospitality in the interest of world understanding and peace. The organization is active in 130 countries and there is a variable membership fee. (In the US, for example there is a fee of $85, and the directory of members requires a $25 deposit; students pay $25 and $15, respectively.) (http://www.servas.org/indexen.html)
Similar to Servas, the Hospitality Club brings travelers and hosts together for homestays or a guided tour through town. Members can look at each other's profiles, send messages and post comments about their experience on the website. (http://www.hospitalityclub.org/)
There are more formal exchange organizations such as World Learning (http://www.usexperiment.org/themes/europe.html) that offer group travel with homestays and language training.
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