If you are over 50 or just signed up for the newfangled invention called the internet, go ahead and Google “Airbnb” and then come back…
For the rest of us, you’ve no doubt heard of the “Uber for your house”. Airbnb has come to dominate the “vacation rental” market. In just seven short years the tech start up boasts more than 1.5 million listings in 190 countries. It is the undisputed king of the rental world. I’m certainly no expert on saving money using Airbnb or listing my own place and making money off of Airbnb (the tourist market for small villages on the Canadian Prairies isn’t exactly thriving). That being said, even I know what Airbnb is and why it is so widely used. It seems like a pretty great idea by and large (with the usual small risk associated with staying anywhere while travelling).
The market dominance of Airbnb is so great, that to a neophyte like myself, I wasn’t even aware that there were any real competitors. To me, the brand name was essentially synonymous with the concept of vacation rentals (much the same way the term “Google it” means to use a search engine).
Save Money By NOT Going All-Inclusive
That’s why it caught my attention a couple of months ago when my cousin saved money while coming to our destination wedding in Mexico using a service called FlipKey. He hadn’t really researched it at the time and had no idea how it compared to AirBnb, he had just heard a good review from a co-worker and decided to try it out. His three-room condo that he rented for the week in Mexico was beautiful. It was right in the gated tourist community that was anchored by several large all-inclusive resorts, and had access to all the usual tourist stuff that one would expect in such an area.
Related: Exotic doesn’t Always Mean Expensive
I personally still like the pampered luxury of a well-priced all-inclusive resort if you’re going the Mexico route. On the other hand, being able to stay 3x or 4x as long for the same price has some allure as well. I thought the condo was an insanely good value for what he paid. He had access to a full kitchen if he wanted to cut costs that way, and beer really isn’t all that expensive if you don’t mind drinking the Mexican domestic stuff (my preferred taste anyway).
That being said, I wasn’t really sure if this was typical of the FlipKey experience, or how it compared to Airbnb, so I did a little research and asked some friends who are more worldly than myself. Continue Reading