Travel Tip: Use airbnb.com!

Joanna Goddard is in the midst of Travel Week on her blog, and you could probably say the same for me. This week, I've posted about my trip to DC in December and Colorado earlier this month, and am leaving for New Orleans this weekend! (Plus have some long overdue posts on my November trip to St. Petersburg, FL in the que.)

Anyway, today Joanna posted about renting houses on vacations (as opposed to hotels, timeshares, etc) and I felt compelled to get on my soapbox and preach about how much love I have for this concept (and airbnb in particular)!

airbnb is a vacation rental site with homes, apartments, individual rooms, even boats! The cool thing about it is that you're renting from a local. You're living like a local. You're not shut up in a Hampton somewhere. Booking is more personal, the trip is more authentic (in my opinion at least).

I first found out about airbnb from Joanna's blog actually. I had just bought an impromptu plane ticket to Tampa only to find out my parents had cancelled their timeshare in the area. I grew up going on timeshare vacations (through RCI mostly) staying in condos, cabins and townhomes. So when I found out our Florida timeshare had been cancelled, I was not about to book a cramped hotel room! [Call me high maintenence.]

I had remembered Joanna blogging about home sharing websites, found the post, and was immediately browsing VBRO and airbnb.com for places to stay.

We settled on a stay on the 'Full Moon' in St. Petersburg. Why stay in a hotel when you can stay on a sailboat?!
At 44 ft, the space wasn't huge, but... it's a boat. If you've ever stayed in an RV or camper, this is pretty much the same. Perfect for a couple or 2-6 friends. We were across the street from the Vinoy Hotel for pool, spa, larger bathrooms, restaurants + walking distance to restaurants, bars and shops in downtown St. Pete's.

Besides the convenience, we had amazing service from the renters. They answered tons of questions from me beforehand, showed us around when we got there and even left us a phone number if we needed anything. Would definitely do it again and recommend it to others. See the listing on airbnb.com.

I used airbnb again to help Atomicdust find a place to stay in Colorado, and we ended up in this gorgeous house up in the mountains (for way less than if we had tried to book hotels rooms probably).
It easily fit all 17 of us with beds, couches and a couple air mattresses. It had a big kitchen, two living rooms, lots of deck space and a hut tub. Plus, the views. Sigh.

And side note, I just used VBRO to book a trip to New Orleans, and while I have no problems with the site, I just don't think it's as easy to use / pretty to look at as airbnb. I'll let you know how to house in NOLA turned out next week when I get back!

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