I come from a small town, so I’m used to the idea that it’s a small world–everyone is connected to each other in some way, and I love that. It makes me feel safe and comfortable because there are far fewer real strangers out there. Chances are I know someone that this person knows, or vice versa, and there is that connection already there. I had heard it said that the internet has made the world even smaller, and I guess I could totally see that. It is possible to go online and look up businesses that are halfway across the world from where one is sitting, learn about them, and even use them (if they have a U.S. website, of course). And with social media, it is possible to connect with and socialize with people from anywhere in the world also. Well, I was introduced recently to a website that makes the world even smaller, and it is so amazing that I have to share it. It’s called airbnb.com, which stands for “Air Bed and Breakfast.” And it just may be one of the coolest websites I’ve ever visited.
First of all, let me just start by saying that the website itself is absolutely gorgeous. I am a sucker for big, beautiful photos on websites (for example, check out this one or this one, a couple of my personal favorite FreshySites that are all about beautiful photography on the home page). The look of airbnb.com gets you from the first second you arrive there, because the photos draw you in and make you want to learn more.
Airbnb.com is a site where you can find a place to stay in hundreds of locations worldwide. Only these aren’t hotels, and they’re not even technically bed and breakfasts. They are people’s homes, or perhaps second homes in some cases, that they open up for other people to stay in (and pay them to do so, of course). Before you get kind of freaked out, let me explain further. There is an extensive user profile aspect to the website, so if you want to learn more about the potential host of a site where you might want to stay, or a guest that might be staying in your home, you can check out their profile which includes pictures, phone numbers, email addresses, and social media connections. Also, if you’re a host, airbnb.com will cover up to $50,000 worth of loss or damage to your home if something gets stolen or vandalized by an airbnb guest. To learn more about their security features, check out this page on their site. It certainly put my mind at ease.
This is how you use the site: You type in where you want to go, and a ton of results come up with lots of pictures. There is a wide range of prices, so you can limit your search according to that if you so choose. One thing that really shocked me is the quality of accommodations you can get for a fairly low price. The space you could stay in for, say, $70 a night is of a much higher quality than most $70/night hotel rooms! And you most likely have much more privacy and more space than you would have in a hotel also. I actually know a few people who have used airbnb.com for trips that they’ve gone on, and they have been very pleased with the service from beginning to end. It’s so much fun to browse on the site and dream up amazing trips that one could take for a fairly reasonable price.
Airbnb.com has made the world an even smaller place by allowing people to have access to each other’s actual living spaces. This connects people at a much deeper level than social media ever could, and it also provides a much more authentic travel experience if one is visiting a new place. They really get to experience it as if they are a local resident. And it also opens up a lot of opportunities for people to stay in places that they might have otherwise avoided because of overly-priced or sparse accommodations.
I am so excited about what they are doing on their site, and very impressed so far. It is making the world smaller, and travel much easier (and more fun, too). Now I just have to come up with an excuse to use it myself! Hmm….;o)