What started in Greece in 2010 with a national debt has spread over the last three years like an insidious disease, and has since become the European debt crisis. Firstly, Ireland became infected, followed by Portugal, Italy, Spain, and more recently, France. Unfortunately, the virus of the debt crisis remains undefeated and still challenges the EU.
Spain and France also suffer from the highest youth unemployment rates in Europe – symptoms which complicate their way out of the crisis disease. According to the Guardian, the employment rates in the UK and the US, standing at 71 % and 67 %, compare favourably to the 67% employment rate in the Eurozone. However, economic forecasts state that the number of jobless people is likely to rise again in the UK.
Regarding these facts, some may look for ways how to decrease their general expenses, for instance, by shortening their holiday budget. People, who do not want to forego their holidays due to the crisis, should seek information about solutions which make traveling cheaper – the talk is not of Camping, but rather of “CouchSurfing” or “Triptrotting”. Thanks to social networks, travel-happy people are not depending on costly travel- and accommodation providers anymore. Instead, they have the opportunity to organise themselves online, to arrange private accommodation and to get tips from locals and peers.
For instance, the platform couchsurfing.com connects three million individuals worldwide who look for a private, cost-free accommodation and are willing to offer their own home to travellers – the principle is damn easy. Naturally, one cannot expect hotel-like standards. Instead of sleeping in an en-suite bedroom with breakfast and room-service included, can some possibly only offer a sofa in their living room and a coffee. Luckily, some hosts show their guests around and introduce them to their favoured places, restaurants and bars. This is a great possibility to discover authentic places and experience real tourist-locals encounters, far away from the high-status tourist attractions.
However, travellers will need money sooner or later at the chosen travel destination, at the latest when they are treating their host for a drink. Foreign exchange specialists like Axia FX may give better exchange rates than banks.
Next to couchsurfing.com – the most popular cost free travel network-, other social applications may be interesting for travellers as well. For instance, people can also look for private accommodation on airbnb.com, where individuals offer private rooms and apartments at a fair rate.
In addition, the platforms wayn.com and triptrotting.com help travellers and locals to exchange travel tips, insider knowledge and experiences. Some are using the opportunity on those networks to arrange trips with others, or a night out with locals and other travel enthusiasts of the community.
Apparently, social networks have the potential to trigger the trend for self-regulated travelling. Currently, this new way of traveling co-exist peacefully with common package holidays and all inclusive deals, but it may leave the niche and gain a bigger market share soon.