Travelers are in luck, because there’s a sea-change afoot working in their favor. The digital age has ushered in a new mentality of collaborative consumption which hinges on the idea that you don’t have to own to have access to a lovely home or a great car. One popular website, airbnb.com, is capitalizing on the new “sharing economy.” Airbnb.com connects homeowners to “guests” who pay a fee for a short-term stay in a spare room or an entire home. The company started less than five years ago and is already estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars.
You can rent anything from a treehouse to a mansion to a spare room. The upside for travelers is considerable savings: A one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan with a full kitchen and bath is frequently less than a hotel and lets the tourist play the role of the local.