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Airbnb Alternatives – Going Down the Accommodation Rabbit Hole

2011 July 18

After I posted my review of Airbnb, readers mentioned a couple of alternatives for backpacker accommodations/vacation rentals. I decided to follow the rabbit down its hole and take a look at some other Airbnb-like services out there. Here are a few (and nowhere comprehensive) brief reviews.

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Airbnb – A New Accommodation Option for Backpackers

2011 July 5

As budget backpackers, we thrive on getting the most bang for our buck. We’ll often go to great lengths to save that dollar or two by sleeping on the beach, haggling for 15 minutes or only eating street food.

While some luxuries you can skip out on (AC, fancy meals, expensive souvenirs), accommodation is a must-have for all travelers, no matter how hardcore you think you are. Hotels, although the obvious choice, are actually not all that great for backpackers: too pricey and not very social.

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Asian Tour Groups: The Antithesis of Backpacking

2011 June 21
Asian tour groups

Asian tour groups… in Asia (Xi’an, China). Save yourself while you still can.

You’re walking down the street when, suddenly, a big bus pulls up next to you. A man carrying a little flag and a speaker phone bounds out followed by a horde of people. They’re all excitedly looking around and snapping photos with cameras both large and small. Before you can even process what just happened, the group of people has already hurried past you.

Congratulations, you just encountered an Asian tour group. Many of you have seen them, not many of you have been on one. For better or for worse, I’ve experienced both.

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Awakening the Sleeping Dragon

2011 June 3
Beijing, China

A clash of old and new: Beijing, China.

It’s no surprise that China is on everyone’s mind these days.

With a booming economy, the world’s largest population and a highly educated workforce, China is a force to be reckoned with. Since liberalizing economically in the late 80’s, the country’s cheap and highly efficient manufacturing base has made it the largest exporter and second largest economy in the world. Look around and you’ll probably see something that’s made in China: it could be the t-shirt you’re wearing, the laptop you’re using or the iPhone you’re carrying. In lockstep with it’s increasing economic clout, Chinese politics are also taking center stage as many of its governmental policies indirectly resonate throughout the rest of the world. China’s growth and modernization is the last couple of decades is nothing short of a modern day miracle.

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San Francisco to Beijing For $33.79

2011 May 18
Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square, Summer 2009.

I’ve written a couple of posts about airline mile credit card bonuses and thanks to a couple that I signed up for, I’m flying round-trip this Saturday from SFO to Beijing for $33.79.

This will now be my third international flight that I’ve flown for close to free (taxes/fees) thanks to miles.

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Consumption: The Real American Dream

2011 April 26
Make it rain

American consumer spending habits in a nutshell.

Let’s face it. We, as Americans, love stuff. Stuff like 60″ TVs, 2010 BMW’s and $3,000 Macbooks. It’s a modern day miracle that I can park a Hummer H2 in the garage of a 10,000 square feet McMansion, order a 30″ stuffed crust pizza with unlimited toppings, sit back on a La-Z-Boy and watch “The Rock” on a 7.1 Dolby surround system. As Team America so eloquently put it:¬†AMERICUHHHHHHH! FUCK YEA!

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Why I Could Never Live in New York City

2011 April 19
Rockefeller Ice Rink, New York City

The Rockefeller ice rink.

Ahhhh New York City… what a place.

A city that has been a part of America, even before the United States existed. You walk out on to the streets and it’s impossible to miss the constant hustle, the cornucopia of sights, sounds, and smells and the ever present buzz in the air. It has some of the best food, arts and museums and is the financial hub of the West, if not the world. Not to mention the great public transportation, one of the most famous parks, and enough back streets and alleys to explore for a lifetime. From the Broadway shows, the lights of Times Square and the thundering herds on Wall Street, New York is truly a one-of-a-kind city, a city in a class by itself.

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