Have you heard about the sharing economy? It’s the latest and greatest phenomenon spawned by the internet, and is all the rage now that social media is old hat. Sharing economy businesses all have a common thread in that they allow users to make use of some excess in their life. Want to rent out a seat at your dining table every time you cook an extravagant meal? You can do that. Got an empty closet that someone can use for storage? It’s now rentable with a few mouse clicks. Have a guest house and live in San Diego? Say hello to your new vacation rental. While none of these activities were technically impossible before, but thanks to the web and the presence of companies that aggregate the things to be shared and ensure accountability for the sharer and the borrower, it’s now realistic for everyone to participate. We jumped into our first foray into the sharing economy with great success.
We decided to give AirBnB a whirl, which is one of the most popular and well developed companies in this new sharing economy. As a user, you’re greeted with an extremely well crafted interface that allows you to move a map around and use filters to find your preferred rental, where the total price is then neatly displayed for your time window. This is in contrast to a typical hotel, which you now must go on Priceline to bid on until you’re blue in the face if you want a good deal, to still be slapped with a bunch of hidden fees after it’s all said and done. It really makes you shake your head at the establishment.
The best part of AirBnB isn’t this transparent and simple booking, believe it or not. It’s the type of places you can stay. Our find for our recent trip to Sequoia National Park was a beautiful guest house cabin perched on a mountainside overlooking the town of Three Rivers. Attached to a larger vacation home, the cabin was cozy and featured the huge deck pictured above. We enjoyed slow breakfasts in the mornings on the deck, and evenings relaxing in the cabin listening to the river below. To make matters even more exciting, the rental included access to a section of the river accessible only by the property – so you have a defacto private river just a few minutes hike away!
Needless to say, this isn’t stuff you can find at a hotel – at any price. But the price of our AirBnB rental was great, cheaper than the hotels in the area. And the list of the advantages to not being in a hotel goes on and on. The fridge and microwave included helped us to save money and time while enjoying breakfast on the beautiful deck. The location of the property was the closest thing available to the National Park, and the customer service was great – our hosts gave us hike recommendations and dropped off some fresh strawberries!
We’d highly recommend you check out what’s available on AirBnB for your next trip. You’ll definitely end up with something five times as interesting as the local Best Western, and there’s a good chance you’ll end up saving a chunk of change as well.
If you decide to try it out, use this link: www.airbnb.com/c/jcarlson39?s=8 . You’ll get $25 off your first stay, as will Kendall and I on our next!