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Category: Promociones

What is AirBnB and why is so polemic?

Some time ago, planning a trip consisted on a series of more or less common and obvious steps. First, you selected a couple of destinations, being within the range of your preferences, possibilities and budget. Next, you looked for the best options of transportation, hosting and local activities. Then you did numbers, to confirm that your choice will be actually affordable. And finally, you picked a destination and made your reservations in considerable advance; commonly through a travel agency.

Things have not radically changed, since travellers still search and compare options. But now the internet and several travel websites are their particular travel agents. And the range of hosting options has also broadened. For example, if you are planning a trip to Mexico City, you can go online and search for terms such as “hoteles Mexico DF”. But you can also sign up in platforms like AirBnB and find a room for rent.

If you are not aware of it yet, you should know that AirBnB is kind of the new trend among travellers, especially in the cities where the service is recently being offered. Tenants who offer a room for rent through AirBnB are neither providing the services of a hotel, nor the ones of a long term living place. So, what’s the whole business about?

AirBnB is an online platform where you can find a place to stay with locals in hundreds of cities around the Globe. You can find rooms, lofts, studios and even small apartments, for a short term rent, commonly ranking from a couple of days to a month. You don’t pay directly to the tenant but to AirBnB and you are charged a percentage of the fare in advance, as a guarantee for both, you and the tenant.

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Although the service has been widely used by tourists who want to experiment the place they are visiting in a different way, it can also be an option for students, business travellers or workers. The question is can such a service affect the income and profits of the hospitality industry?

Hotel Associations in New York, Barcelona and Berlin have argued that AirBnB may represent an unfair competition, because thanks to the platform, they say, every owner can turn his or her house into a hotel, without paying the correspondent taxes. The Hotel Association of New York has made a specific demand to the authorities; they ask them to apply a law against short-term rents, stating that owners can’t rent their apartments for less than 30 days. That would ban almost every transaction in AirBnB, since users rarely intend to rent for periods longer than a month.

AirBnB New York has answered that people advertising their rents through their platform are not pretending to turn their homes into hotels, since they don’t even offer their place every moth. Commonly, landlords only advertise when they have a space to share or when they are going on vacations. Furthermore, since rooms can be offered in any location of the city and not only within the touristic areas, services like AirBnB take visitors to less frequented spots, generating incomes for local businesses (restaurants, bars, stores).

While the polemic goes on in places like New York, others, like Mexico City, are giving a warmer and less resentful welcome to the service. As a traveller, what do you prefer? Would you rather spend your vacations in a comfortable hotel room, having all the services at your door, or to stay with locals and share a bit of their daily life?

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Entertaining things to do during flights

I think that a trip begins when one sets foot on the road outside the door, as Tolkien writes in his famous works.

Some people tell me that they hate the necessary prelaminar activities to start their journeys, like taking a taxi to the airport, checking in or waiting at the departure gate. Some others dislike the flight or the drive as well. All of them feel that the real trip starts when they arrive to their destinies and engage in the first amusing or relaxing activity.

But I agree to disagree with them… Taking a cab or bus gains a complete new meaning to me when the destination is the airport and the meaning also changes, depending on the nature of the trip (business, vacations, adventure or long terms abroad).

After traveling for a long time, I have also learned to make the best out of the “wasted hours” at airports, gates and planes. In fact, I don’t think they are wasted at all, because actually it is a precious time that can be spent in useful and entertaining activities. And I’m not just thinking about eating, shopping or sleeping.

For example, here are my favourite things to do during flights:

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  1. Reading

Actually, this is one of my favourite things to do in life, so it is not unusual for me to carry at least one printed book and many more in my tablet every time I travel. If it is a short flight, like the ones I took with VivaAerobus (the low cost airline that I discovered when I visited Mexico), I usually read newspapers or magazines. During longer, intercontinental flights, I can engage with something deeper, like novels, essays or philosophy books. Whatever you prefer, you will find that reading is ideal to relax and entertain yourself, whenever you have free time.

  1. Listening to music

That’s another of my top activities and the best part of it is that sometimes you can enjoy it while doing something else. I find that some kind of music, like classic, jazz or instrumental, can create the best environment to enjoy a good reading. Other music is excellent to induce relaxation and sleep. And in some contexts and situations, you can listen to music just because of the pure joy of it. During long flights, you can combine the three options.

  1. Learn something new

Flights lasting more than two hours are perfect to engage in learning activities. It doesn’t have to be something complicated; try to learn a few words of a foreign language; read that article that you have been saving for your free time or find something interesting about the place you are about to visit.

  1. Keep up with your business or job

Well, that’s not the best thing to do if you are on vacations. But if you are heading to a business meeting or convention, you can review your notes or improve your presentation during the flight.

  1. Practice some relaxation techniques

Given the difficult times that we are living, it has become normal that we are always under pressure. Relaxing and meditating are common advices, but when can we do it? If you are going to sit in a plane for more than two hours, use that time to relax and find some peace. Put your head phones on, play your favourite music, close your eyes and do some breathing exercises. You may find that the cabin, with all its steady movements and noises, can be a great place to clear your mind.

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Best ways of travelling to and from the airport

A common view that I find in airports all over the world is the long line of people waiting for a taxi or in front of the counters of car rentals.

Usually, those people are foreign tourists. Besides of their looks, you can tell that because the subtle feeling of distress and worries that movements or gestures express.

During my constant trips I’ve had the chance to meet many travellers and many of them have explained me why they think that the taxi is the best way of moving around in a foreign city. They think it is safer than public transportation and easier for someone who doesn’t know the city, because taxi drivers, and especially the ones serving airports, will always know every location.

But things are not always as they are supposed to be. Many taxi drivers don’t know their own city and in some places, like Mexico City, taking a taxi may imply a higher risk than public transportation.

That’s why I suggest you to look for alternative ways of transportation before your trip. Many cities all over the world have special services of buses that go to and from the airport and the most important places in the city, especially downtown. They are safe, fast and not as expensive as a taxi.

Local buses and the subway are also great choices and if you make some research in advance, you will find quickly learn how to move around. Just let your spirit of adventure awake and keep a local guide handy.

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