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Email Author: Ellen Hopkins
Story Posted: 2/11/2005 06:55 pm

Honeymoons with a budget twist

Want a Reno/Tahoe honeymoon with a great budget twist? Or maybe you’d like to see parts of the area only locals are likely to know about? Here’s an idea that can do both for you: sign up for a free membership in a “hospitality club.”

Services such as

The Hospitality Club www.hospitalityclub.org

Global Freeloaders www.globalfreeloaders.com

Welcome Traveler Hospitality Club www.welcomtraveller.org

maintain databases of members willing to either share their homes or give guided tours of regions throughout the world.

Some of the services require small honorariums (in the United States, $10 per night) for your host’s generous hospitality. Others do not. Some require you to reciprocate — that is, play host to travelers coming through your town. You do have the option of blacking out weeks or refusing to host if you’re unavailable. And some services don’t require you to host at all.

Accommodations vary. Some hosts offer beds. Others offer floor space. Some have detached guest quarters. Some allow kids or pets. Once you join, you can do a detailed search for the types of accommodations you need, the dates you’ll need them and the cities you’d like to visit. You may have to drive a bit from your target location to find a willing host.

For instance, a search for the Lake Tahoe area shows hosts in Tahoe City, North Lake Tahoe, Reno and Mammoth Lake. Each is completely unique. One Reno listing is Anne, a retired telephone company employee and singer with the women’s choral ensemble Bella Voce, who lives approximately two miles from downtown Reno.

But the Mammoth listing is for a family of five, with two kids off at college and one in high school. Pete is a construction superintendent and Suzanne trades equities and options. All five are “lacto-ovo vegetarians” and request no meat or smoking in their home.

One Tahoe listing offers a place to stay. Another doesn’t, but does offer a guided tour of the Tahoe City area. Research is the key. But if this idea interests you, it could be a way to vacation or honeymoon inexpensively, learn insider tips about the area and perhaps make new friends.

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