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Your Escape Blueprint

Looking for a pad? Save money, avoid hassle!

Some of you have asked how we find the places we stay at…….. the truth is it is acombination of internet research, reading guide books and checking out some of the online booking sites.For instance I had heard about airbnb odd name, the idea being that it is a place for home owners from around the world who wish to rent out a spare room or the whole house. The advantage for the prospective tenant or guest is that the rent is paid directly to Airbnb upon booking. This money is then held by them, it is not paid out to the owner until 24 hours after your arrival…….. therefore giving you the security of knowing that your money is protected if all is not as promised!

Sounds great doesn’t it? That’s what we thought and had contacted several places listed in Belize and Honduras, the majority of the owners replied promptly, answered my questions and quoted rates etc. These can be negotiable by the way, especially if visiting off season……….

I had found what appeared to be a perfect spot at a great rate the owner seemed willing to accommodate us and offered us a larger two bedroom unit for the same price as a smaller one bed unit…. (the catch was that she was currently adding a bathroom to this second bedroom…… hhmmm visions of workmen wandering in and out of our pad). This set off some alarm bells, so I decided to do a little more research. Her house name was included in her listing so I was able to “google” the place (Airbnb does not allow people to post website links etc.) Surprise, surprise she did indeed have her own website with posted rates ………. Which were lower than the total rates I had been quoted!!!!!!

This of course is a bit of a shock; however I do know that many of these booking sites charge the owner a hefty percentage for using their services.  Upon further investigation Airbnb do not charge the owner, at least according to the FAQ, they make their money by charging you an additional 6 to 12% of the rental rate all paid up front!

What this added up to was that I was being quoted the price for a one bedroom unit, plus being charged an additional 11% by Airbnb, add in a what appeared to be a slightly inflated US$ exchange rate……… not so much of a good deal after all.

I do have a tendency of being rather direct about these type of things and therefore contacted the owner via her own site and asked for clarification on the discrepancy…….. needless to say there was no logical answer, however I did get a somewhat terse email from Airbnb saying that I was breaking their rules by contacting the owner directly and circumventing them!

Hey! I am not saying don’t use them or any other similar site, just do your homework beforehand and know exactly what any additional costs are. You might also want to double check whether any of those neat places have an online presence of their own before you contact them through these sites.

You never know, it might just save you a ton of money and a whole lot of hassle! Happy hunting!



About the author: Born in the UK, with what must be more than a dash of Romany blood in her veins, Yvonne loved to travel even before she met Michael. Yvonne has a varied career history, which includes several laborious years as a laboratory manager, followed by a fun few years as a scuba instructor and crew in the British Virgin Islands, and then many boring years in financial services. Her discontent along with the passing of a dear friend was the prod that led to the realisation that there was a lot more do in life. It has taken almost 40 years to come full circle to realize what Yvonne’s English teacher saw all those years ago……… Yvonne’s true passion (apart from travel) is writing and now finds herself fortunate to have the time to follow her bliss and combine the two as a blogger and travel writer. Yvonne loves to tell stories and talk to lots of strangers (the best way to get the real scoop on the place). Yvonne is a “rainmaker” and makes things happen!

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