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sep 26 2011

Has your trip ever been saved by a stranger?

As all seasoned travelers know, it's the people just as much as the place that makes a trip exceptional. Whether it's a cabbie divulging the best hole-in-the-wall dim-sum joint in town or, simply, a hotel receptionist who's particularly kind after you arrive four hours later than scheduled because of flight delays, more often than not, locals are the key element that can make a good vacation fantastic.

And sometimes, the people you meet don't just enhance your trip—they make it possible, a point that was proven in a recent news story.

A 24-year-old woman named Catherine Li has spent the last seven months traveling by herself across America—on foot!—with little more than the clothes on her back, a direction guide printed off of Google maps, and a tent. She hauls her belongings in a shopping cart that was given to her by a sympathetic mall security guard at a Sears store in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Already Li has trekked some 3,000 miles on her way to New York City—a real-life Forrest Gump!—but what makes her story really interesting, I think, is how much other people have aided her on her journey. From the concerned cop who checks in on her weekly by phone to the guy who let her crash on his couch and the mall security guard who let her take that shopping cart, countless strangers she met along the way have helped make her dream trip a reality.

Watch an interview clip with Li, during her short stay in Philadelphia:

All of this got us thinking: How have your trips benefited from the help of locals? We'd love to hear your stories!



MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL:

What Is the Most Memorable Place You've Ever Visited?

Sightsee with Locals—for Free!

5 Surefire Ways to Offend the Locals

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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