| 10.5°C Dublin

Have couch, will travel -- TV pals see Europe on shoestring

A NEW travel programme will show how cash-strapped adventurers can save money by "couchsurfing" their way across Europe.

TG4 star Aine Goggins, sister of Dublin GAA star and Herald columnist Coman Goggins, spent three months crossing Europe with camerawoman Maeve Hackett.

Among the cities they visited were Amsterdam, Berlin, Warsaw, Athens and Istanbul.

The pair believe their unorthodox means of travel -- where you arrange to stay on a stranger's couch rather than in a hotel or hostel -- allowed them to get a local's perspective on some of the world's top tourist destinations.

It also came cheap.

The programme, O Tholg Go Tolg (From Couch To Couch) starts on TG4 tonight.

Not surprisingly, Maeve and Aine met some interesting characters on their journey and were astonished at how kind and trusting their hosts were.

"At the start we were really apprehensive about it because neither of us had done it before.

"The idea of staying with someone you don't know in their house, it's a bit mad.

"You question why these people let you in their houses in the first place," Aine explained.

"But you come into their house and lives and they're so interested in hearing about you and telling you all about their lives.

"We met people of all ages and from all backgrounds, some families would take you in because they think it's good for their kids, it educated them about different people and broadens their minds.

"Most of them were willing to take a day off work to show you what they like to do in their city.

"We found it unbelievable that people were so open with their houses that they would give you the keys as they were on their way out to work."

The 10-episode series starts tonight at 9.30pm on TG4.

hnews@herald.ie