Jet Setting Frugality

Jet setting and frugality may seem like something of an oxymoron because traveling costs money. Not only do you need the vacay time from work but if you work for yourself as I do, it means that whatever time and money you spend away hits you double cause it’s time you aren’t working ergo money you aren’t making. Fortunately, innovative travel sites like AirBnB and lesser known Roomorama have made jet setting a little more tangible for those whose pockets aren’t so deep. In fact AirBnB started from a similar premise.

In 2007, Joe Gebbia (1 of 3 founders of airbnb) and roommates found themselves strapped for cash and looking for a way to bring in some extra income. The combination of an upcoming design conference,  sold out hotels and their unused airbed provided the eureka moment. By the end of the conference they had made $1000 and the genesis of AirBnB began in earnest.

Today with listings in 1120 cities and 82 countries, AirBnB has grown beyond Joe’s living room. In fact even I use them on a regular basis and so far the experience has been great. The process is simple – tidy up, throw up the shades to light the apartment and shoot some decent pictures to create a profile and a listing for your space and let the the website work its dissemination magic. You determine the rental cost and AirBnB charges an additional 10% to the renter. Money is held in escrow as soon as the reservation is accepted and upon guest check in gets put in your paypal account.

I’ve rented my shoebox of an apartment about half a dozen times and get inquiries daily. Each time has gone really smoothly and I’ve even met some really interesting people. You can usually get a pretty good feel about the person based on their profile and the kinds of questions they ask. Asking what their plans are in your home city is a good starting point as well.

Roomorama, while much smaller in scale offering their service to only Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington DC, works on the same premise with a couple of distinct differences. Roomorama, which just got a face lift a few days ago, allows you to set a weekly and monthly rate, which is better for those who actually have a second home or apartment and the payment process works differently. Once the booking has been accepted the renter is given a code which they give to you upon arrival. Once you input that code money is sent to your account.

I use both services, though am more often on AirBnB, one- because the design of the site is better (though that gap has lessened tremendously with Roomorama’s redesign), and two- with more cities they obviously get more internet traffic.

So with Missadventures planned for Kauai’s Napali coast, Mexico’s version of the French Riviera and backpacking through India, well I think jet setting frugality is as aptly coined a term as jumbo shrimp.