The Ultimate Airbnb is an Entire Country – Welcome to Sweden!

Sweden is nothing if not an enterprising country that really gets social media and this whole internet thing. After all, it’s the nation that brought us the Curators of Sweden, a project which in part handed over the official Swedish Twitter account to a different citizen for a week. It was very cool for a few months, then suddenly, it wasn’t. link :

Source: Airbnb

That’s not to say that the idea of the project wasn’t amazing; after all, Sweden is a beautiful and unique Scandinavian country with a fantastic culture. That’s why Sweden recently listed itself, the whole country, on Airbnb! They’re inviting the whole world to come to the nation and explore freely, an experience called “allemansrätten,” or “the freedom to roam.”

Source: Airbnb
Source: Airbnb

The listing reads, “Allemansrätten… is a principle protected by Swedish law that gives all people the right to be free in Swedish nature. In other words, Swedish nature isn’t just a piece of land with trees and lakes and cliffs – it’s a home with all the necessities and amenities that any great home should have.” Not the least of which is spectacular views, by the way. The photos on the listing are breathtakingly beautiful, and the listing provides info on nine separate regions of the country, to get your journey off the ground.

Source: Airbnb

We’re already backing our bags, and the listing has only been up for a few days! But with promises of warm hospitality and boundless natural wonders, we’re kicking ourselves that we haven’t visited sooner! As the ad says, “It’s a place where you can eat berries from the ground, sleep under the stars, swim in the lakes and roam freely.” Count us in!

Source: Airbnb

AirBnb Stays True to Their Word About Exacerbating Housing Shortages

In late 2015, revolutionary home-rental service Airbnb promised to work with cities who claimed that the online platform was exacerbating housing shortages in their neighborhoods. Over a year later, it appears that Airbnb has taken steps towards that end, most notably in Europe.

Source: EBL News

In major European cities like London and Amsterdam, the housing shortage is a real concern, with demand driving the price of rentals higher every month. Home-share companies like Airbnb have been accused of making that problem worse because property owners are renting to short-term tourists instead of long-term residents. Those two cities actually have laws limiting the amount of time a homeowner can rent their property per year to short-term customers – 90 and 60 days, respectively.

Though those laws have been in place for a while, city officials were finding it hard to enforce them without the aid of Airbnb, who had previously been reluctant to join forces with them. However, recently the company has changed it’s tune, and is now pledging to bar renters on their site from exceeding those limits in London and Amsterdam. This is seen as a major victory for those in charge of meeting housing challenges head on in Europe.

Source: Stats, Maps n Pix

“This action should help ensure London gains the economic benefits of tourism that Airbnb creates without putting pressure on our housing supply,” said Tom Copley, a London politician. While hotels might continue to grumble about the volume of business Airbnb steals from them each year, it is undeniable that the cheaper, homier travel options the company provides has encouraged tourism like never before. Now that Airbnb has is actively working with city governments, that boom can only continue to grow.

 

The Coolest Houses in the World

If you’re stoked about your home, prepare to rethink that when you see what The Richest is calling the coolest houses in the world!

Who made the cool cut? Take a look for yourself

  1. Flintstones House. Live like your favorite stone age family for just a cool 3.25 million. Of course you won’t have to time travel to step foot into this sprawling stone home, it’s located over in Malibu, CA and comes with its own beach!
  2. Wooden Skyscraper House aka a giant fire hazard. What started out as a plan to build just a two story home quickly escalated. It’s amazing what can happen when your both your budget and disappointment are sky high. The structure ended up towering in at 13 stories, over 144 high! We really hope he had an elevator installed, those stairs must be brutal. Unfortunately, the structure is no longer standing.

    IMAGE SOURCE: SIGHTBYWALK
  3. Bubble House. That’s right BUBBLES. The Bubble House was designed and built in 70’s in France. The Bubbles are so damn cool that the French Ministry of Culture considers the Bubble house to be a historic monument.  

    IMAGE SOURCE: DESIGNRULZ
  4. Eliphante and Hippodome House home to artists Michael Kahn and his wife Leda Livant. The home was built using materials the couple found over 28 years. The name comes from some animals the house resembles.  

    IMAGE SOURCE: APARTMENT THERAPY
  5. Upside-Down House. Travel to Szymbark Poland to take in this topsy turvy marvel. When they say upside down, they mean upside down! Even the furniture is mounted to the floor/ceiling.

    IMAGE SOURCE: INSPIRED ARCHITECTURE
  6. Foam House. The house is made entirely from polyurethane foam and basically screams 70s!

    IMAGE SOURCE: STAR TRIBUNE
  7. Fallingwater House. Now this is a Frank Lloyd Wright classic. It doesn’t get any more serene than this. In fact the property is so stunning, that the Smithsonian has listed it on the 28 places to visit before you die. With windows all around, you can’t help but feel one with nature.

    IMAGE SOURCE: FALLINGWATER
  8. The Hobbit House. Don’t worry you won’t have to walk all the way to Bag End to glimpse this beauty. Just hop the next flight to Wales and you’ll be in this hobbit house just in time for second breakfast. Plus, at just $5,200 this humble hobbit home is sure to be the most affordable house on the list.

    IMAGE SOURCE: MY MODERN MET
  9. Exploding Houses. A bungalow that was set to be destroyed was turned into a vortex of epic proportions.
    IMAGE SOURCE: WONDERSTODAY

 

What to Look For When Booking an AirBnb

Most people know what AirBnb is, but a lot have yet to book their first stay on the site that has revolutionized the travel industry. For those of you who aren’t aware, AirBnb allows guests to book rooms (or houses) to stay in from actual people with real, non-hotel-related jobs. It’s a short term, rent-a-room service that allows for cheap stays and a unique look into the daily lives of the place you’re visiting. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re planning on going somewhere on a budget – just follow these five rules to make your first trip go smoothly!

IMAGE SOURCE: AIRBNB

  1. Think about what you need from your stay. If money is your top concern and you don’t mind sharing a room with a stranger, look for roomshare. If you want a whole house to yourself, double check to make sure the places you’re looking at won’t be shared by your host. Know what you want and have a list of priorities to look for.
  2. Check out reviews. All the reviews on AirBnb are provided from people who stayed at the property, so they’re pretty trustworthy. Also look for information about how your host approaches their position. Are they friendly or hands off? Do they invite their guests along to things or give them space? And which do you want?
  3. Reach out to the host before sending a booking. It may be standard practice to just make a decision about a hotel and try to book it, but this is someone’s home. Reach out to them with a little message, give them a chance to have an impression of you, and then decide after that interaction (however small!) if you want to try and book their place.
  4. Ask questions and build a rapport with your host. This builds off #3, but it bears repeating. Tell the host why you want to visit the city, if you’ll have guests, ask how big the bed is, etc… Giving your host an idea of what you want is a good way of helping them figure out if their home is a good fit for you.
  5. Relax! Get to the property you booked and take it easy. You’re on vacation, most likely, so you shouldn’t be worried or stressed at all. Most hosts have been doing this for a while and know that you’re probably jet lagged and turned around, and will allow you to get re-situated. They just want you to have a good time at their place, and a good time on your vacation!

IMAGE SOURCE: DiSTRACTIFY

Groundbreaking Study Shows That The Bathroom Is Actually Not The Dirtiest Place On A Plane

It just takes one movie about an epidemic to realize that airplanes are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and disease. They house large amounts of people in a confined space with an almost perfectly closed system, making escape nearly impossible. The dirtiest place on an airplane, however, may surprise and dismay you.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Travel planning site Travelmath recently set out to find which surface you come across while traveling is the grossest. A microbiologist went to five airports and four different flights on two major airline carriers to test and compare samples. Different items were tested along the way and then their median level of CFUs (colony-forming units – of bacteria) were compared. It’s important to note that CFUs won’t definitively make someone sick, they only present the potential for someone to fall ill.

IMAGE SOURCE: ISTOCKPHOTO

So what’s the dirtiest surface on that plane? Why, it’s the tray table that falls right into your lap from the seat ahead of you! Even compared to vents, seatbelt buckles, and bathroom parts like flush buttons and stall locks, the tray table is by far the surface with the most bacteria on the plane. This makes sense, in a way. Everyone touches the table, and they do so multiple times during the flight. The good news is that none of the surfaces, even the bathroom ones, showed a presence of fecal coliforms like E. coli. Whew! But, here are the six most contaminated areas:

 

  1. Tray table — 2,155 CFU/sq. in.
  2. Drinking fountain buttons — 1,240 CFU/sq. in.
  3. Overhead air vent — 285 CFU/sq. in.
  4. Lavatory flush button — 265 CFU/sq. in.
  5. Seatbelt buckle — 230 CFU/sq. in.
  6. Bathroom stall locks — 70 CFU/sq. in

 

Travelmath concludes the obvious from this study. “Since this could provide bacteria direct transmission to your mouth, a clear takeaway from this is to eliminate any direct contact your food has with the tray table.” In other words, that thing you’re supposed to eat on while flying? Don’t place unwrapped food directly on it. Travel safe and healthy this holiday season, Dwindlers!