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Maybe you’re a backpacker, looking for modest lodgings in some remote location in the far reaches of Cambodia; maybe you’re on a last-minute flight to Bali without a hotel reservation, in the middle of the holiday season; or maybe you’re simply looking for a unique place to stay during your trip away from home. Whichever scenario you’re facing, you might be looking at hours of Googling, looking up info on traveller forums, or wishing you had relatives or friends living at your destination. If that sounds more trouble than it’s worth, you might want to take a look at this website I stumbled upon:  Airbnb (www.airbnb.co.uk)

Airbnb is basically a community marketplace where you can find lodgings just about anywhere on earth. You can find apartments in Jakarta, villas in Bali, rooms in Los Angeles, and flats in Paris—all available for rent. Need something more exotic or unique? Well, you can also find a Scottish castle, a mushroom-shaped cabin in California, and a whole collection of tree-houses.

Since this is a community-based website, you can see ratings and comments from past visitors for each entry. And yes, you can also put up your own home, villa, or apartment for rent on the site—especially if you live somewhere that usually attracts tourists. They can even send out photographers to take pictures of whatever it is you’re renting out. Most importantly, though, it’s a trustworthy website that takes security issues pretty seriously.

Unfortunately, it would seem that my next long-vacation is quite far off in the future. But I’m pretty certain that I’ll look for room and board on this site instead of going the traditional route of booking a room at a hotel… :)

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