FlipKey vs Airbnb Review

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.

FlipKey vs Airbnb ReviewRelated: 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

Boracay on a Budget

Boracay (yes I took this picture myself!) is considered one of the world’s top destinations for tropical white sand beaches and is comparable to destinations such as the Carribean and the South Pacific.  Boracay is a tiny little island in the Philippines, one of 7000 islands i the Philippines.  It is not a very large island… It is 7km long and 1km at its narrowest. Boracay is mainly famous for its long stretch of pure white sand beach and beautiful azure and tropical blue water.  One of my friends who visited Boracay said it was the most beautiful beach she had ever seen (mind you, she had not been to the Maldives yet so perhaps if she saw that she would change your mind… I wouldn’t know because I have never been there myself.. it’s on the travel bucket list though!), so of course I had to check it out.

As many of you know, I’m not one to travel frivolously.  I enjoy staying in $6 a night accommodation (for example, in Chang Mai, that’s exactly what I did).  This time though, I was a little more upscale than that.

White BeachBoracay is pretty expensive to be honest… a lot of the accommodation was similar in pricing to Hawaii.  There are a lot of international tourists from Russia, Korea, Taiwan, and China.

Here are a few ways to save when heading to Boracay for its white sand beaches.

Getting There

Getting to Boracay, I went through Caticlan airport via Cebu Pacific Air, which is a discounted airline and it is part of the One World group now.  Arriving at Caticlan airport, you take a ferry to Boracay, then a tricycle (motorbike attached to a side-car, pretty much) to your hotel.  The whole trip after the the airport cost about 600 pesos (about $15) for two people. The hotel you book with may charge you 1000 pesos per person, or if you book directly at the airport, it will be 600 pesos per person.  The cheapest way (as per usual) is to DIY and seek transportation yourself.  Be wary of porters who help you carry your luggage only a few meters, they may demand a tip. Continue Reading

Using the new CRTC Rules to your Advantage with The Big Three

As many of you may know, starting June 3, 2015 the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) implemented a wireless code where effectively, any cell phone contracts that you already had for three years, automatically become two years and you are free as a bird and do not have any consequences to pay any contract break fees.

Here is a summary of the new Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission wireless code, courtesy of the Government of Canada website.

  • If you were in a three year contract with any cellular service provider (namely, the big three as known as Telus, Bell, and Rogers) you are no longer in a three year contract after June 3.  Meaning you are no longer in a contract!
  • You are free as a bird to switch to another provider if you signed on for three years before the June 3 date
  • All cell phone contracts are now a maximum of two years
  • Extra data charges are maxed at $50 a month and international roaming charges are capped at $100 a month
  • You can call to unlock your cell phone after 90 days
  • Return your cell phone within 15 days if you are not happy with it
  • Accept or decline changes (e.g. have more power) with your 2 year contracts

PROS to the new CRTC Changes

new CRTC Rules to your AdvantageThis is great for people who held three year contracts (ahem, like me) because it means you will have more flexibility now to choose a different service provider or to negotiate a new monthly plan that might be more economical for you.

For those that got a three year term and paid a three year term price for your device, you will get the remaining costs of the phone waived (which means the cellular phone company is taking a big hit) even though you technically should have been paying for that phone for another year. Continue Reading

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