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jan 27

Home sweet hotel, thanks to Airbnb

Brian Chesky of San Francisco has found a way to one-up the George Clooney character in "Up in the Air"—the movie about a businessman who spends every day in a plane and every night in a hotel.

Chesky doesn't own a home or an apartment. Instead, he moves from one vacation rental to another every three to five days.

Chesky does this for two reasons: He's in his twenties, so he can. More importantly, he's the co-founder of Airbnb, a room-renting site that he thinks represents a new stage in the evolution of travel.

He may be half-right.

Airbnb has come a long way since it's major launch in 2008, when Budget Travel first blogged about it. Travelers have booked nearly a million nights in 89 countries through the site, which makes it simple to find private homes, apartments, and even boats, to rent.

Vacation rentals aren't a new idea. But being able to book a room by the night instead of by the week—and being able to do so at the last-minute, with plenty of precautions that you're not being scammed—is all new. Since November, there's even an iPhone app. Booking a room at a person's house has become as fast as reserving a stay at a Marriott.

My main beef with AirBnB is how its rates are set. I wish AirBnB adopted a Priceline model. Why can't I bid on how much I would be willing to stay at a room, instead of merely accept the price a property owner has posted?

Maybe that would be too complicated for Chesky. It's tough enough moving to another apartment every few nights without having to add auction-style bidding to the mix.

If you're not familiar with how Airbnb could be useful to you for your next vacation, check out the following video.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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