Q and A with Adam Staines of Global Freeloaders

All travelers have wished, at one time or another, that they had a free place to crash. With Global Freeloaders, Adam Staines has created a site that allows travelers to sleep for free all over the world – but that’s not the only thing GlobalFreeloading is about.

What is “GlobalFreeloading” and why do people do it?

GlobalFreeloading is about becoming part of a worldwide community that throw open their doors to other travelling members, offering up their spare bedrooms, beds or couches, to allow you to see different cultures from up close and personal…and you may just happen to save a few bucks on accommodation along the way.

People join GlobalFreeloaders because they realise they don’t want to be tourists – been there, done that, got the photo to prove it. They want to be travellers. They want to experience everything a different culture has to offer, and they realise that it’s difficult to do that while staying in a hotel or hostel, and not actually meeting any locals.

How do travellers use your site?

You register with the site, detailing the accommodation you can provide to other members within 6 months of registering. Then when you want to travel, you just pick a destination and date, see which members you’d like to stay with, write an introduction, and we fire off an email to the prospective hosts. You wait for replies, then sort out the finer details with the hosts.

What types of travellers use your site?

We get all sorts really. When I first launched the site, I naively thought that it may just entice younger backpackers, but the idea has been embraced by a far wider spectrum of travellers. Our members range between 18 and 80 years of age, from all walks of life. The only underlying theme that I can see is that we all enjoy meeting people.

How did you come up with the idea for Global Freeloaders?

I was once stuck for accommodation in Morocco, during a music festival. An extremely hospitable family overheard my plight and put me up for a week. I had the time of my life and learnt more about the culture in that single week, than I did in the remaining 2 months I spent in the country. I realised that during my travels I’d crashed on countless couches of people I barely knew, but shared some mutual acquaintance, and had often similarly accommodated almost complete strangers who happened to know a friend of a friend; so why not widen that circle, harnessing the power of the internet, and focus that communal travelling spirit into one portal?

Is Global Freeloaders a non-profit company? Is it a full or part-time project? How is is funded?

The site’s a non-profit. I work on it part-time. The site is funded by donations from members, and from income generated from advertising.

What makes GlobalFreeloaders different from Couchsurfers and Hospitality Club?

Out of courtesy to the creators of those sites I haven’t been past their respective homepages, so I’m probably not the person to ask. I prefer to do my own thing, and don’t want to be accused of pinching ideas from others. Power to ’em though…they can only help the idea grow.

What are the best parts about Freeloading?

The people you meet, the places you see, the things you experience – all the best parts about travelling, or life, really. GlobalFreeloading gives you a toe-hold into cultures you may only otherwise have experienced as an ‘outsider’.