It’s always nice to get that local touch when visiting a foreign city. Tours can be cost-prohibitive, so what if you could meet a local and get shown around for free? The Daily Mail’s website of the week provides just this service. The Global Greeter Network is a network of volunteers in a limited number of cities around the world who make themselves available to show a visitor around town for a couple of hours. The concept began in 1992 in New York with the first official program, Big Apple Greeter, founded by Lynn Brooks.
The idea took hold in many other cities around the world who began their own volunteer greeting programs (e.g. Berlin Greeters, London Greeters). The Global Greeter Network is a convenient hub to search for volunteers based on your destination and to find some details about the programs they offer. Some of the programs require advanced notice, for example the Big Apple Greeter requests that your forms be sent in four weeks in advance.
Personally, I prefer Couchsurfing as a means to tap into the local culture and scene. Even if the host isn’t able or willing to personally walk me around, they are always reliable to offer inside advice and tips. And it’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends.
If you’re interested in Couchsurfing but are hesitant to give it a go, read my post Overcome Your Fear: How to Practice Safe Couchsurfing.
[Image: Smart Destinations / Flickr]