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What do restless hearts do in between trips? They plan the next trip. Prior to planning an upcoming trip to Belize I happened to hear an NPR report on a website called AirBnb (www.airbnb.com). I had heard of it before but more or less ignored it. Having a little bit of trouble finding interesting hotels for less I decided to check out this website.
AirBNB is a pretty sweet little website full of entrepreneurial people renting their properties out, renting rooms to strangers, or sharing properties between people. It was created by some folks in San Francisco who decided they wanted to make some money renting their couch out to travelers. They wanted to create a site to encourage people to connect while traveling. While my couch surfing days might be over I still love the website as an alternative to traditional hotel websites and even to www.VRBO.com which has been a mainstay for me for some time.
AirBNB has wonderful search features, low to high prices, great photos of the properties, and bios of the owners. An app can be downloaded to your phone. There is a sense of community on this website that is reminiscent of Facebook or similar sites. I booked three out of my four properties on this site. The prices were very fair and the houses we are staying in seem very interesting and fun. Owners have already reached out to me with recommendations on things to do in the area, websites to visit for snorkeling tours, golf cart rental, water taxi times, etc.
Sites like AirBNB are the future of traveling. AirBNB and Uber are exciting new inexpensive and convenient ways to travel. Apparently using the code JSCHULTE26 will give you $25 off your first booking. Check it out. Even if you aren’t traveling anywhere check it out and look at some interesting properties and compare the prices to places you have traveled before.
I’ll let you know how it turns out after my first stay!
***Update*** Well, I am back from Belize and stayed at three different properties in the country. My AirBNB stays were mixed. I will start with the good. I stayed at an apartment owned by Austrians in Placencia and had a glorious stay. I wish I could have moved in with these people they were so nice and their place was so quaint and awesome. They gave wonderful advice and even let us borrow their boat to go out on the lagoon.
However, the second place we stayed at was impossible to find, had bats living in the walls, had no drinking water, and the water to the house ran out while we were there. We were forced to “dry camp” for two days while there with no shower water, water to wash dishes, or toilet flushing water! Yikes!
The third place, greeted us with roaches on the day we arrived and another on the day we left. The photos misrepresented the place entirely and it was a bit of a disappointment. It was filthy and in a terrible part of town.
Having said all of that, I think I would still book an Air BNB again. Only, I don’t think I would do it unless I am going to stay for an extended period of time. It was hard getting in touch and meeting with the owners without a cell phone to contact them. And sometimes having employees at a hotel is convenient or even coffee and breakfast at some can be nice depending on where you are staying.