When I ushered in my new life a couple of years ago, it accompanied a decision to live in a warm sun-soaked climate. So far it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I started off in Panama, and my first inclination was to hire a real estate agent to secure a rental unit. I ended up signing a one-year lease agreement for a condo near to the city center. Fast-forward a few months later and I was unhappy in Panama, to say the least (maybe it had to do with their lack of waste management infrastructure). With a strong desire to leave ASAP, I tried to exit my lease without penalties, but ultimately I lost my four-figure security deposit.
I left Panama for Brazil and ended up dealing with a property owner, but I still signed a lease. I had come across Airbnb, but nothing stuck, so I didn’t think much of its value proposition. A year later, I wanted to move which prompted me to search Airbnb and similar sites again. To my delight, Airbnb quickly became a shining star as I secured not one, but two places that I would live.
Airbnb is an online rental exchange that brings together “hosts” and travelers in need of accommodations. Airbnb hosts share their spaces in 190 countries and more than 34,000 cities. All you have to do is enter your destination and travel dates into their search bar to discover places to stay. There are many great deals and options, from the searches I’ve conducted. Additionally, I use Airbnb as a proxy to understand the rental possibilities in a given place without being there in person (this is extremely helpful).
From the comfort of my home, and without any agents or long-term leases, I could now see how Airbnb could benefit travelers. I, probably like you, don’t want to waste money on expensive hotels, and I’m passed the point of hostels, so Airbnb’s marketplace fills these gaps.
Airbnb horror stories surface from time to time, but bookings are automatically insured, and this hasn’t stopped many property owners from generating hundreds of thousands in income. There are even several books on how to make big bucks using Airbnb.
My only regret is that I didn’t discover Airbnb sooner (they launched in 2008). I no longer experience hassles, agents, or leases, I just select and book online. You can visit their top picks for your next destination, and you can save $20 USD on your first booking with this coupon code.