If you haven't heard of couchsurfing then you are in for a treat! Couchsurfing is by far the best way find a place to sleep while also getting a personal tour guide all for FREE! That's right, free.
You see, couchsurfing is an online community where people with couches (or beds, air mattresses, or carpets) will let you sleep on said couches (or beds, air mattresses, or carpets) for a few days while you're visiting the area. In exchange, most will ask for your company in return while you explore the area.
I know what you're thinking. Sounds super sketchy, right? This sounds like a website for serial killers to trap in their victims! Well, not quite. You see, couchsurfing has a pretty great system for showing that you're not a serial killer. If you stay with them for a night, then you can rate them. Give them a positive rating if you at least got a good night's sleep and give them a negative rating if they kept sharpening their knife in front of you and kept asking you what color your underwear was. Then in return they give you a positive or negative rating. That way you're getting the thumbs up or not from other people as to how well this person was as a host.
This rating isn't perfect: Most of my hosts have been absolutely fantastic but a few have been nonexistent or unreliable. They were still good hosts since I had a couch to sleep on and I wasn't bothered with staying with them, but if I could give a “meh” rating, they would have earned it.
All in all, though, couchsurfing is a fantastic way to visit a new area without spending a dime on hotel costs and is even better at connecting you to a wonderful network of amazing people that live in the world. To this day I have never met a boring couchsurfer.
Books to Try: Sleeping Around: A Couch Surfing Tour of the Globe