Where Shall We Stay?
Social networking has opened up new trends in travel that create opportunities for making new friends while discovering new places, including Puerto Vallarta.
VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) purportedly started the movement in 1995 with the first gig in a ski condo. Since acquired by HomeAway, it is still a main source for travelers looking for short-term rental of properties by their owners and has been joined by an abundance of online rental sites.
We recently met a couple in Puerto Vallarta who is purchasing their home with the entire focus on renting out an extra room to meet their mortgage obligations. It makes sense for them and for you, too. Why spend hundreds of dollars for clean sheets and tiny soap when you can get the same thing for a whole lot less and meet the locals as a bonus?
The two most popular sites are AIRBNB and FLIPKEY, doing a healthy competition to get your attention and travel budget. AIRBNB, founded in 2008 with a diverse group of investors that includes Jeff Bezos and Ashton Kutcher, connects travelers seeking unique experiences in over 33,000 cities and 192 countries. Your choice of a villa, castle or bedroom in a private home is as far away as an app on your cell phone. You can literally rent a tent. FLIPKEY was acquired a year after startup, in 2008, by Trip Advisor, with a focus on detailed reviews from real guests. They have the only closed review system that limits comments to confirmed guests, both negative and positive, to facilitate a straightforward dialog relating to the quality of individual rentals and services provided.
CouchSurfing was established in 2003 and their motto is “You have friends all over the world, you just haven’t met them yet.” They connect over 9 million members in more than 120,000 cities, including Puerto Vallarta. The originator emailed over 1500 university students in Iceland, looking for a place to crash while he visited Reykjavík, got over 50 responses and a new idea was born. It doesn’t cost anything but you are encouraged to share your knowledge, talents or whatever you have to offer. Meditative breathing, hiking, computer programming, and cooking are among the skills members are willing to share. A great plus is their social networking announcements of events, such as the recent Classic Rock Festival that took place in Puerto Vallarta.
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