Travel Like a Human: Hotels Be Gone


Travel The New York Times has an interesting piece about traveling the ‘human way’ – in other words, find houses, apartments and various other dwelling variations rather than stay in a hotel.

I learn about a short-term rental service called, their tagline btw is: travel like a human. Called the “Ebay for space” by Time Magazine, Airbnb is an online marketplace allowing anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out their extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, and secure online transactions. Listings include vacation rentals, private rooms, entire apartments, bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, castles, treehouses, and many other traditional and non-traditional accommodations.

I have to admit, a treehouse definitely sounds more compelling than a cold, lifeless motel room providing there’s mosquito nets if in more tropical areas. Then again, I doubt I’d get wifi in a treehouse or a hot shower with great water pressure, but you most certainly would have ambience and surrounded by nature on all sounds.

You can find a studio apartment for as low as 65 Euros a night in Paris only ten minutes away from the Louvre. Other sites such as and offer similar offerings. In other words, travel like a human and get the comforts of home for much less than you’d pay for a hotel.

Couchsurfing has become more popular in recent years, which is essentially a service in which members offer a spare couch — or bed, or floor space — to fellow Couchsurfers, at no charge. When I was at SXSW last year in Austin, I ran into several people who were couchsurfing there (smart given how ridiculously high the hotels were that week). The same applied to people I talked to at CES last year in Las Vegas. Apparently it is growing so fast that the phenomena has two million people in 238 countries as members. that’s because travel is broken and service at hotels is often an afterthought.

Like airlines, hotels are going after every nickel. There are so many extra charges, it’s hard to keep track: the often ridiculous amount for daily wifi access (more than half the time it isn’t even reliable), overpriced canned soda, $30 room service bills for a very basic breakfast, luggage storage, bellmen tips, 5 different kinds of taxes – the list goes on. They even charge you to RECEIVE a fax. Soon, like restaurants have started doing, we’ll be paying for employee’s medical insurance as well, as if that should be the ‘guests’ responsibility. Restaurants are getting away with it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if hotels adopted a similar obnoxious policy. Bottom line, travelers will get fed up and go where service works – other consumers with rooms to rent, many of whom have felt similar travel pains.

Social networking at its best, these services tap into the power of other ‘trusted sources’ and reviews from their community. Other sites will emerge to make it even more targeted based on similar interests and tastes.

Other more traditional options are also emerging in popularity. There’s Home Away, Transitions Abroad, and VRBO (which I have had decent luck using for both Hawaii and Mexico).

Photo Credit: Ed Alcock

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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