Booking a room, an entire apartment, a house or a chic condo at budget prices just got easier. Many of you budget-minded travellers have caught wind over the past year or so of the Airbnb controversy in New York City. Major hotels, feeling threatened, have tried their darndest to shut the budget-accommodation finder out of the Big Apple. I'm a big fan of budget accommodation providers such as Airbnb. Not only can they save you dollars, but they can often land you smack in the middle of neighbourhoods, enabling you get the real, local flavour of your destination. So good news for readers who've got San Francisco on their radar: Airbnb is now legal in San Francisco. After much deliberation, saner minds (unlike those in New York) have prevailed and the mayor of California's largest city just this week has given Airbnb the green light.
( The iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Visit California.)I've booked myself into Airbnb accommodations a few times. My most memorable (and economical) budget booking was in London, England last Christmas when I lucked out on a canal boat rental. Granted, there was the novelty of staying in a boat right in the middle of London on Regent's Canal, but I instantly became part of the local community of canal-boat-dwellers. They gave me tips on where to buy fire wood (yes, there was a wood stove), pointed me toward the friendliest neighbourhood pubs for a hot meal, and shared their experiences with me while sitting on top of their year-round homes on the river. So do check out www.airbnb.ca when planning your next trip. And if you do make it to San Francisco, my talented colleague Daniela Payne shares her five great tips for eating out in San Francisco – which is all the more affordable if you've saved on accommodation. Happy travels!