Global Freeloaders: For Free Accommodation You Can Be a Hippy For the Night Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The man who invented the idea of karma was smarter than a greasy weasel with an iPod for a brain. Somehow he convinced enough people that if they helped him out now, that at some vague point in the future they would be rewarded. (If you’re a business owner try to do that with your employees on payday.) Fast forward a few millennium, add a dash of the internet and a sprinkle of recession, and you have Global Freeloaders.

If you’re visiting London and don’t have the cash for even the most basic hostel then consider GF. Established ostensibly to promote a sense of global community, GF networks travelers in one country with those in another. The idea is simple: you get to stay at my place if I get to stay at your place. Oh but wait, maybe I don’t want to stay at your place, so my cousin Billy will stay at your place because I’ll stay at his place next week…and so on. You get put up and sometime in the future you put someone else up. It's like that Twilight Zone episode with the wacky box.

Sometimes people will just put you up on their couch, other times you get a bed, full meal, and tour around the city. Either way, GF seems to be geared for the backpacking under-30 crowd. You may well be expected to be the foreign entertainment at a party. Just don’t be a jackass and you’ll be all right.

Let’s be honest here: cheap accommodation in London is about as common as good pork pies. Who cares that it completely flies in the face of basic human labor exchange? Maybe we’ll start to have global freeloader markets as well, where I bring my tomatoes and “someday” you give me a T.V. Could work.