Standing up on behalf of couchsurfers and room-sharers everywhere. (Photo by Brandon Cripps.)

Cross-posted from Sightline Daily.

Tight budgets and the internet have given rise to the hottest new thing in travel accommodations: spare bedrooms.

Web-based company Airbnb has received a lot of press recently for its for-profit service that matches travelers with empty bedrooms, such as mine, in Seattle. Airbnb and other companies that create a market for guest rooms could fundamentally change the hotel industry, boost income for thousands of homeowners, and slash the ecological footprint of travel.