Posts Tagged ‘accommodation’

Using Airbnb On a Career Break
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

When I took my first career break to New Zealand in 2003, a frayed Let’s Go, a pre-paid phone card, and word-of-mouth recommendations were my go-to resources for finding and booking budget accommodations on the road.

Oh, how the world has changed

Ten years later, my iPhone and the Airbnb app were my digital lifelines as I hopscotched around South America. During three months of travel in Brazil and Argentina between August-November 2013, roughly half of my nights were spent sleeping in Airbnb-booked apartments, homes, and even boats (yes boats!).

If you’re not already familiar with Airbnb, it’s Web-based service that makes it possible for travelers to rent out accommodations in the homes of everyday people, all around the world.

As a college student and even into my 30s, I was game to be scrappy and stay in 20-person-deep hostel dorm rooms. Those days are over. As a 40-something solo female traveler, I now value safety, quiet, a room of my own, and a delicious breakfast. I’m also more interested in meeting locals than consorting with other travelers. Airbnb helped me find all of these things in a one-stop shop.

Tips for using Airbnb

Getting up to speed with using Airbnb took some trial and error. As I navigated my way through the innards of researching and booking Airbnb accommodations, I adopted some hard-won strategies. Here’s my five cents:

All those satisfied customers can’t be wrong – Airbnb listings include the number and quality of reviews for each property. Pay attention. If dozens of people are saying “Run, don’t walk, and book this mountain yurt pronto. Avail yourself of host Yuri’s home-cooked breakfast sourced with eggs from his backyard hen house,” then do not delay.

I placed a premium on choosing places that many, many other travelers had liked. I learned this lesson after a few mediocre stays that were newer to the Airbnb marketplace. I encountered other travelers who’d adopted the opposite strategy. They were like Airbnb versions of urban pioneers who sought out listings with little to no reviews. They used this as a leveraging point for negotiating the listings rate which brings me to my second tip…

Yes, you can negotiate – If you see a place that’s out of your budgetary reach, consider inquiring with the host about a discount. It didn’t occur to me to do this until I actually met an Airbnb host who’d negotiated a steep discount on a newly-listed Airbnb apartment in Rio with a rooftop pool. The Rio host was more than amenable to reducing his rate and making what’s called a “special offer” in Airbnb parlance, so that he could attract more guests and slowly build a cache of positive reviews.

As my own travels progressed (and my travel budget slunk lower), I negotiated discounts with hosts on occasion. If you’re planning to stay in a particular Airbnb location for a week or longer (and the host hasn’t posted a weekly or monthly rate on the listings page), definitely inquire about a reduced rate for your longer-term stay.  

Airbnb reviews – It’s not like Amazon – Reviews are at the core of Airbnb. As a guest, you have the opportunity to pen a review during the 30 day window after you check out. Likewise, hosts can review you as a guest in this same window. So if you track in a pile of beach sand or dye your hair in the kitchen sink, you might see something about that in the host’s review of you.

My prior experience with reviews had been of the unidirectional Amazon variety where customers essentially have a platform to voice their love or loathing of particular product. It took me a little while to get accustomed to this dual review system. Also remember that you’re not just reviewing bricks and mortar. Your Airbnb review should be as much about the host (friendly, responsive, invited me out for dinner, showed me the best place to go tango dancing) as about the qualities of the room or apartment (quiet, comfortable bed, gorgeous views).

Look for experience-based accommodations – As my travels progressed, I sought out Airbnb listings that were a portal into unique adventures, above and beyond a place to sleep. In Paraty, Brazil, I spent two nights on a sailing yacht owned by a retired French expatriate (pictured above). This is the kind of experience that would have been cost prohibitive if I’d tried to arrange it independently. But thanks to Airbnb, it was accessible to me as a backpacker traveler. Moral of the story: as you check out different listings, consider the kinds of one-of-a-kind experiences they can offer.

More than a bed – Don’t just treat Airbnb as a bed and a roof over your head. When you stay with an Airbnb host (as opposed to renting your own private place through the service), a cross-cultural homestay experience is built into the DNA of the booking. If your host invites you to check out a local play or go to a music festival, do it! One of my hosts invited me to her capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) practice. That same day, we bought fish at a local market and made a delicious lunch (see picture at top of my Airbnb hosts). You can’t put a price tag on those encounters. It’s why I travel.

Nancy Rosenbaum is a ‘connector of people, stories, and ideas’ and a burgeoning a career break evangelist. In 2013, she decided to take a three month career break to Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay where she pursued three of her great passions – dance, food, and talking to strangers. Prior to her career break, Nancy produced interviews and features at Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nancy’s blog, “This Meantime Place” chronicles stories about career and life transition and those periods in life when we’re figuring things out and don’t necessarily have ‘a plan.’ 

To read more about accommodation options during your travels, check out the following:

Housesitting: The Last Frontier in Budget Travel
Monday, November 5th, 2012

MeetPlan….Go ahead and extend your travels for a few months longer.

Or, Go ahead and cut your travel budget in half.

Either way, we’re about to make your travels a whole lot better.

Picture this: Living for several months in a beach-side bungalow on a Caribbean island, filling your days with scuba diving and sipping cocktails on your patio while the fresh ocean breeze washes over you. Or how about spending a few months bouncing around Europe, wandering mouth agape through the streets of Rome and then cycling through the quaint French countryside, returning each night to a cozy residence filled with all the comforts of home.

Now, imagine doing this all for free.

It’s called house-sitting, and it may just be the last frontier in budget travel. House-sitting is essentially an exchange of services – you take care of a property (and often pets) in exchange for free accommodations while the home-owner is away.

Not only can you travel on a much slimmer budget (or, enjoy a much longer period of travel), but you can gain an experience like none other. Forget racing on and off tourist buses to see the big sights – instead, immerse yourself in a local neighborhood and really get a feel for life in another land. Enjoy a slower pace of travel and your own space to relax in after a long day of exploring.

We’re currently on our eleventh house-sitting job in three years, and it is our favorite way to see the world!

We’ve been able to explore nine different countries from one week to six months, and have easily saved over $30,000 in the process. We’ve strolled on that Caribbean island, taken care of a 10th century manor in Ireland, and immersed ourselves in a remote corner of Turkey. And even though there are moments when it isn’t all that glamorous – when we’re chasing other people’s pets through muddy fields or cleaning up after a tropical storm – it has given us authentic local experiences that are impossible to beat.

From taking a two week vacation, to a year long career break, to a perpetual life of travel, there are house-sits for everyone, and they are all guaranteed to give you a truly unique travel experience.

Learn how to get started today!

We’ve put our extensive house-sitting experience into How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World – an eBook jam-packed with information on how to become a house-sitter. It includes:

♦ A thorough analysis of the house-sitting websites to help you decide which to join;

Recommendations on how to write a successful profile and application letter, including examples;

Tips on how to be a good house-sitter;

Plenty of resources to help you plan for your house-sitting gig;

A discount to one of the major house-sitting sites that almost covers the cost of the book!

And much more!

Click here to buy How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World for just $19.99.

Dalene and Pete Heck are a Canadian couple who sold everything in 2009 to travel the world. They have spent over half of the last three years house-sitting in places like Ireland, Belgium, Turkey, Spain, Honduras, Canada, London and New York.You can follow their travels at hecktictravels.com, and find them on Facebook  and Twitter.

The Modern Hostel Experience
Monday, November 7th, 2011

Traveling is about the journey, and not reaching the destination; from the moment you start packing until you have returned. Think about how long you have planned to conquer this journey, and how fulfilling it is to participate in this traveling phenomenon; whether you’re a career breaker or a backpacker. Your travel experience is unique; shaped by the travelers you interact with. Shouldn’t the way you book your travel be the same?

The GoMio Service

Top HostelsTravelers love to talk; we share information about how awesome the Salar de Uyuni was in Bolivia, or where to find budget accommodation in Amsterdam. The Gomio team does exactly this; booking hostels and connecting travelers at your convenience.

Gomio.com is an online resource for travelers, tourists, backpackers, students, families – anyone who needs to find a hostel. GoMio tries to offer an alternative solution for both customers and hostels and hopes to match people to places in a way that works for everybody.

Little did you know that hostels have gotten a huge face lift; they are not only for 20-something backpackers! Find comfort in choosing the right place you will enjoy, as a career breaker, a traveling couple or a career break couple! More hostels are catering to every traveler; providing private rooms, quiet areas or a separate bar for the party animals!

With hostels all over the globe, you can not only book your hostel efficiently, but enjoy your stay at a unique place. Check out the top 10 hostel picks for popular rated places in cities you just might be visiting. Real reviews from travelers all around the world just like you are here to talk about how much they enjoyed that cozy little hostel in Barcelona.

Introducing the GoMio Dashboard

With the help of the Let’s go dashboard; it makes the hostel experience even more enriching. Imagine the social media world combining with your travels; to produce a modern day travel experience.

TravAmigo will be your virtual friend; showing you who will be staying in your hostel or city before you arrive while you book on GoMio. If you’re bored in Buenos Aires, see who else is traveling to find a tango partner!

Go beyond the role of a tourist and interact with locals! Use the “GoLocal” took to find locals who want to share their city with you! Your best travel memories will resonate from an intimate experience that goes beyond the tourist attractions.

How the GoMio dashboard makes traveling easier

Realize that the travel experience is not only growing, but changing to a realm of individuals ready for a new journey. To understand a traveler is to know travelers and the skilled GoMio team wants every travel experience to be the best it can be.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s Go!

This post was written by our 2011 National Event Sponsor GoMio. We are proud to be a partner with GoMio and you can now book all your hostel needs through our very own GoMio Dashboard.

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go