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Airbnb’s Burglary Disaster and 5 Ways To Fix It

2011 July 29

Could this be Airbnb’s Hindenburg moment?

Wow. Shortly after I wrote my review of Airbnb and my summary of Airbnb alternatives, a burglary on Airbnb resulted in a PR crisis of epic proportions.

A woman in San Francisco, using Airbnb, had her apartment trashed, valuables stolen, and life turned-upside over the course of a week. The incident actually occurred nearly a month ago but didn’t get attention until it was posted on TechCrunch.

So far, Airbnb’s response has been tepid, at best, and even contradictory to what the woman has experienced. All this has resulted in a media maelstrom for Airbnb, including coverage by mainstream media. read more…

The Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an

2011 July 28
Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an

The main pit of the Terracotta Warriors.

In 1974, farmers in the outskirts of Xi’an, China were digging up a water well when they happened to come across one of the most important discoveries in China’s history: The Terracotta Warriors, thousands of uniquely made, life size sculptures which served to protect the final resting place of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

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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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