Exploring the Travel Sharing Economy with Airbnb

 Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

I like to mix up accommodation types when I travel because I think it helps me gain a fuller appreciation of the places I visit. This month, I'll be discussing everything from National Park campsites to suites in five-star hotels. Each style of travel has afforded me the opportunity to meet new people, but none of them have been as interesting as booking with the peer-to-peer accommodation booking platform Airbnb.

 Naples and Milan, Italy

Naples and Milan, Italy

If youre not familiar with the Airbnb concept, it's essentially a website and mobile app that connects people willing to host travelers in their own home. I use the term “home" loosely because there’s an amazing variety of places to stay on the Airbnb platform including riverboats, city lofts, and even tree houses. I always recommend trying an Airbnb for a night or two when talking to friends about their travels due to its affordability and the opportunity to meet locals.

 Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida

I was convinced my first time renting with Airbnb would be my last before I had even arrived to the destination. It was a quaint looking fisherman's shack, furnished with all the essentials, on the Delaware shoreline. Upon closer inspection of the map, I realized it was located on Slaughter Beach, near the Murderkill River. How appealing! Despite my initial hesitation, it turned out to be exactly the quiet beach escape we were looking for (and the host was great, too). Since then, I've stayed at Airbnb properties in Halifax, Montreal, Naples, Miami, and several other cities.

 Bowers Beach, Delaware

Bowers Beach, Delaware

Last week, Airbnb welcomed over 1,000 Cuba hosts to their website. These small business owners (and the third party managing their listings) might profit in the short-term, however, early studies show millennial travelers prefer traditional accommodation styles, like hotels and guesthouses. In San Francisco, hotels are as busy as ever, despite the competition they face from the vacation rental boom. In an emerging tourist destination such as Cuba, with a developing hospitality infrastructure, it will be interesting to see what develops.

How about you? Have you used Airbnb? What was your experience like? I'd love to hear!