Skip to main content
The largest online newspaper archive
A Publisher Extra® Newspaper

Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota • Page G3

Star Tribunei
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2007 STAR TRIBUNE TRAVEL G3 Traveling abroad, with rooms to spare That week Bampasaki also introduced me to a friend of hers, a third-generation sandalmaker who custom- made me a pair of sandals for a bargain price. When I told friends and family I intended to my way through Europe for three weeks, forgoing cheap hotels and hostels in favor of sleeping in the homes of strangers, I witnessed a full range of reactions, from fear to envy. Most were unfamiliar with the concept of couchsurfing, which matches hosts with travelers via the website. A global community The site operates much like eBay; users create profiles that can include photos, personal information and reviews posted by other users. In the Twin Cities metro area alone, there are more than 291 couchsurf- ers and hosts, and numbers are growing.

To date, the proj- ect has nearly 134,000 couch- surfers in more than 200 countries, and boasts more than 38,000 successful couchsurf- ing experiences. Couchsurfing is more than free lodging: more like having the best guidebook money buy. Hosts take pride in sharing their knowledge of their hometowns great restaurants tucked into hidden alleys, artists who create one- of-a-kind treasures and cultural diversions you might not ever encounter on your own. Couchsurfing offers a firsthand experience of how locals live. Susan Purcell, a widowed mother of nine grown children who lives in London, England, gave me a hug when she greeted me at the door, then kissed me on both cheeks.

She helped me plan my days over coffee and breakfast, and she did my laundry. While I stayed with her she exposed me to a feast of English foods. To this day I feel like I have my own in London. In Amsterdam, host Anna Sanders led me around the city for two days. While hiking through town we passed a tour group.

got a private tour Sanders bragged to the passersby, who looked on with envy. Shared advantages Hosts expect no payment in return for their kindness, though couchsurfers often bring gifts from their native countries. For my hosts in England, Greece and the Netherlands I brought bags filled with goodies. Purcell had asked me to bring a local specialty ingredient to make a dish for her. I chose Minnesota wild rice, and cooked up some soup for her and my fellow couchsurfers.

They were astounded by the dark color of the rice, and the dish was a hit. Couchsurfers show their appreciation in other ways too. Some help clean house, run errands or assist with small remodeling projects. On occasion, buy coffee or dinner for my hosts, though it was more common for them to treat me, as if I were an honored guest rather than someone just crashing on their couch. I say that couchsurf- ing was always comfortable.

Sometimes my hosts stayed up much later than dictated by my Midwestern sensibilities. All of them smoked, and as a nonsmoker I sometimes struggled for clean air. Their homes were modest, and personal space was at a premium. Two of them cooked on glorified hot plates, none had a clothes dryer, one washed all of her laundry by hand. I count these as snapshots into their way of life, experiences I would never have had if aimed for comfort rather than couchsurfing.

Charish Badzinski, a native of Brainerd, is a freelance writer in La Crosse, Wis. COUCH FROM G1 HOSTS TAKE PRIDE IN SHARING THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR HOMETOWNS GREAT RESTAURANTS TUCKED INTO HIDDEN ALLEYS, ARTISTS WHO CREATE ONE-OF-A-KIND TREASURES AND CULTURAL DIVERSIONS YOU MIGHT NOT EVER ENCOUNTER ON YOUR OWN. For home delivery, 612.673.7999 Scene is filled with things to occupy your time. Like movies, clubs, concerts, theater, art, TV, videos and CDs. Hang out with it every Friday.

get out, or stay in 15Days From From 2,078 00 COMPLETE occ 800-729-6729 FreeBrochures WeeklyDeparturesnow availablefrom Minneapoli Includesroundtripairfare, HAWAII 2,228 00 dollars.Allitinerariesandpricesarecurrentattimeofprintingandsubjecttochangewithoutnotice.©2007RoyalCaribbeanCruisesLtd.ShipsregisteredintheBahamas. WA NT AV AC AT ION THATREALLYROCKS? TALKTOYOURTRAVELAGENT. EUROPE FROM 699 FROM 749 FROM 949 CRUISESDEPARTINGFROMLOSANGELES FROM 249 FROM 549 FL YW ITHUSFROMMSPTOEUROPE TERMSANDCONDITIONSFROMMSP. Packagesubjecttoavailabilityandpricechange.Validfordepartures Apr17-May9 and Sep16-Oct30, 2007 Extranightsavailableatadditionalcostandmayberequiredbasedondateoftravelandgateway.A$25perpersonweekendsurchargeapplieseach beinhotelsbookedthroughIcelandair.Allfeesareperperson.Personaltravelinsurancenotincluded.Packagepricedoesnotreflectdiscount. Airfares validforoutboundtravel trippurchaseperperson.Noadv.purchase;mustbeticketedwithin48hours;requiremembershipinIcelandairCustomerClub–signuppossibleat LastTicketDate: SecurityFee.

ICE LAN GETAWAY ICELANDGETAWAY call(877)435-7940or ONEWAYAIRFARES (BASEDONROUNDTRIPTRAVEL) REYKJAVIK 199 pp AMSTERDAM 243 pp COPENHAGEN 281 pp FRANKFURT 302 pp GLASGOW 281 pp LONDON 281 pp OSLO 359 pp PARIS 246 pp STOCKHOLM 318 pp WWW.ICELANDAIR.COM 729 per persondoubleoccupancy $50 OFFTHISPACKAGEFORAPRILANDMAYTRAVEL! 70 YE AR SO FA VIA TIO Travel WISCONSIN 8004328747 Australia AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND Fiji, Tahiti Papua New Guinea Flights-Tours-Custom Itineraries Contact our experts for a quote Call us toll free 1-877-7 ASPIRE Florida TIMESHARE RESALES OFF Retail! Best Resorts Seasons Call for FREE Timeshare Magazine! 1-800-634-0831 Hawaii MAUI BEACHFRONT Great selection of oceanview rental condos. discounts. FREE color brochure: 800-822-4409 Or take a virtual tour at: Advertise in the Travel Guide. It runs Sunday and Wednesday for less than $35.00 per line. Please call Becky Gilreath at (612) 673-7014 or Please call by 5pm Monday.

CANCUN Choosefrom39hotels RadissonHacienda 2 Wed, 7n ts, May 2-30 428 BeachHotel 3 All-Inclusive! 739 Wed, 7n ts, May 2, 0 LASVEGAS Choosefrom38hotels StratosphereCasino, 3 229 99 CircusCircus 3 289 99 RIVIERAMAYA Choose from 38 hotels Real PlayadelCarmen 2 All-Inclusive! 658 MoonPalace 4 All-Inclusive! 1,383 From Contactyourprofessionaltravelagent,, orcallusat1-888-225-5658. Allflightsandpricesareroundtripfrom andmayonlybeavailableoncertaindepartures.PricesdonotincludePassengerFacilityCharge, receive OurContractWithYou containingcompletecharterprograminformation.Asignedcontract mustaccompanythefirstpaymenttoMLTVacations.Cancellationpoliciesandrestrictionsmay apply.Refertoourbrochuresorwebsiteforfurtherexplanationofhotelratings 4 ANDOVER ATLASTRAVEL 763-767-1650 BLAINE CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 763-792-1199 NORTHTOWNTRAVEL 763-780-1620 CHANHASSEN CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 952-934-0151 CHASKA NORSEMENTRAVEL952-448-3434 CRYSTAL CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 763-231-8886 EDENPRAIRIE CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 952-767-8817 EDINA A-1TRAVEL952-925-2551 CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 952-929-6444 ELKRIVER CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 763-441-6830 FRIDLEY TIMETOTRAVEL 763-574-1660 GOLDENVALLEY CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 763-546-8823 LAKEVILLE CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 952-226-9129 LINOLAKES BREAKAWAYTRAVEL651-784-0120 MAPLEGROVE CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 763-231-8883 LINDBERGTRAVEL763-424-3975 MINNEAPOLIS CAREFREETRAVEL 612-521-0130 CARLSONWAGONLITMPLS NEWULM NEWULMTRAVEL800-657-0151 PLYMOUTH CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 763-557-0060 MSPTRAVELGROUP651-256-8050 PRIORLAKE 952-445-6463 SAVAGE CARLSONWAGONLITTRAVEL 952-447-6020 RICHFIELD 612-866-2503 WACONIA TRAVELEASYWACONIA 952-442-4443 OpenSaturday OpenSunday OpenSaturdayandSunday 612-338-8880 OpenSaturdayandSunday Visityourlocalbranchoffice Call1-800-222-1333 (952)927-2525 1-800-871-7352 OpenSaturdayandSunday OpenSaturdays 1-866-337-9183 Save on Airfare! Make ar un to the sun and Mexicowhenyoupurchase aq ualifying air and hotel packagebyApril14.Plus when staying at select hotels. 4 662 withinwalkingdistanceofshoppingandnightlife. RoundtripAirfaretoLasVegasfrom 129 99 FeeltheexcitementoftheCityofEntertainmentandcombinethisgreatairfarewith yourchoiceof38fabulousLasVegashotelsforanirresistibleairandhotelpackage. Rocky Point Resort Walleye Reef Fishing Small Boat Charter Fishing Sandy Beaches Family Fun Fine Dining 1-800-535-7585 LAKE OF THE WOODS MINNESOTA.

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 300+ newspapers from the 1700's - 2000's
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Star Tribune
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

About Star Tribune Archive

Pages Available:
Years Available: