By now the secret is out. The evolution of budget travel has gone from $5 for a crappy dorm bed to a free private room. With the explosion of sites like CouchSurfing.org a new generation of penny pinching backpackers are able to travel further for cheaper. As a CS Ambassador, i'm always finding myself caught up in the philosophical (and moral) discussion of CouchSurfing being more than merely a free place to stay. It is instead an opportunity to share cultural experiences with locals (or quite often ex-pats) giving you an inside scoop. While you aren't paying for the room/bed/couch/floor space, a token gesture of a cooked meal or bottle of wine is always a welcome thank-you from the surfer. But regardless of your intentions, CS is a valuable tool every traveller should be packing.