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No matter the destination, travelers want their trip to evoke an exceptional experience. Every major city has a multi-faceted personality, one that draws shopaholics and foodies alike. With limited time in a new city, you want to hit as many of the landmarks and touchstones as possible. One of the most effective ways of molding your ideal vacation is staying in a section of the city that best aligns with your passions. But pouring through reviews and recommendations can eat up precious time, especially if your stay is expected to be brief.
Airbnb has offered travelers a way to find unique respites for some time now. However, the company has expanded its scope by adding a bevy of new features. Some perks include meet-ups and activities to bring together other deal-minded users. But the most significant addition is Airbnb Neighborhoods. Users looking to stay in areas catering to their specific interests can select among several filters that best match their needs. The site offers 10 such filters, such as “touristy” and “great transit,” to help travelers get the most out of their itinerary. Want to browse San Francisco’s art scene? Just select the “artsy” filter. Looking for New York’s hottest nightclubs? Click the “nightlife” filter. There’s even an option for those looking for an authentic experience with the “Loved By” filter, which pegs spots adored by locals.
While the travel industry is still sorting itself out from the mess left by superstorm Sandy, which wreaked havoc on flights and flooded rental car companies, travelers fortunate not to be caught up in the delays and frustration can help out with relief efforts.
While there are several ways to lend a hand – check the Twitter feed of the Red Cross for latest updates on volunteering or giving blood, or buy a Groupon to assist small businesses – American and United airlines are also providing an incentive through their websites by offering miles for monetary donations.
Both airlines will give passengers 250 miles for donating at least $50; contribute $100 or more, and you’ll rack up 500 miles. Read more
London has so many good free attractions and experiences, suggests the appropriately free Lonely Planet eBook, Recession-busting Britain, that you can “forget all those stories about how expensive London is.”
It’s hard to forget those stories, though. There are so many of them. But while chatting the other day with Lonely Planet U.S. Editor Robert Reid, he noted that on-the-ground expenses in London “can be easily less than what you’d spend in New York,” which had never occurred to me. But Reid, a New Yorker who once spent about a year and a half living like a local in London, has given it some thought, because he loves London and wants other travelers to love it, too – and not overpay while they’re there.
Good news for vacation renters everywhere: Following vandalism to one of its renters’ properties and the ensuing media storm, vacation rental site Airbnb.com has made some big changes to its safety and security policies – including insuring clients up to $50,000 for damages incurred during a rental.
The ordeal began at the end of June when San Francisco resident EJ returned from a business trip to find her apartment pillaged and ransacked by her Airbnb guests – they allegedly stole a camera, iPod, old laptop, and even a back-up drive filled with personal photos; used her Mastercard for an online shopping spree; and set logs ablaze in the fireplace without opening the flue, which spewed ash throughout the entire apartment. EJ detailed the destruction on her blog, and the news went viral about a month later.
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