Travel disrupted: Airbnb, Peek.com and Uber

On a recent trip, I used three new services that completely changed my perception of how to stay, be entertained and get around a new city. Three new (to me) services are completely up-ending travel, and this is a good thing! Let me explain.

In late September, my wife and I took a trip to Boston, Massachusetts and my ‘regular’ travel world was turned completely upside down. Yes I had to book a traditional flight on United and for that I used the old school United.com.

Airbnb saves the day

However, once on the ground in Boston, I didn’t stay at a regular hotel, I never used a typical cab and I booked our activities not from a concierge, but on my own, with ease.

Airbnb

Let’s start with how we found a place to lay our heads at night. Airbnb is a site where you travelers can find all sorts of places to stay in neighborhoods you wouldn’t otherwise have access to if you’re stuck on staying in a hotel. Through Airbnb, you can either rent full apartments or flats, rooms inside someone’s house or alternative arrangements such as boats, treehouses or cabins.

Anecdotally someone I work with recently rented a yacht in San Diego on Airbnb and loved it.

My wife and I found a great studio apartment on Beacon Hill in Boston that was right across from the State House – in the *perfect* location. In fact, hotels in the area were $450-$550 a night, meaning that if I only hunted on Hilton.com (or other chain hotel site), I wouldn’t have been able to stay in downtown Boston. Before my Airbnb find, we were to stay outside Cambridge 30 minutes away from downtown.

Our Airbnb place was $400 less (for a 4 night stay) than the afore-mentioned hotel 30 minutes away…making the deal even sweeter!

See, I don’t like hotels – I think they are sterile and have no personality. Airbnb means I can stay in better accommodations in better locations. So now, traditional hotels are dead to me.

Getting around town

Once we were on the ground in Beantown – how do you get around? Sure there’s walking and also there’s the T. But sometimes, you just want to take a car. Enter Uber. This handy-dandy service has black cars (like a Lincoln Town Car), big black SUVs and even smaller cars known as UberX that are cheaper and work really well.

Image courtesy Uber

With Uber, you use their mobile site (or app if you’re on Android or iPhone) and summon a car. You can estimate the fare before you go – but in my usage in Boston and LA, UberX was about 20% cheaper than a taxi – and more enjoyable to boot.

So, with Uber, traditional taxis are dead to me.

Finding awesome things to do

Ok so you’re in a new city and you have no idea what’s hip and what’s cool?  Here comes Peek.com to save the day!

Peek.com is a revolutionary new service that helps tourists and visitors find the best activities in new cities! Just go to Peek.com and say where you’re going – whether it’s LA, Boston or Paris. Then, you can find amazing activities. For our trip to Boston, I browsed Boston Harbor sailing tours, food tours and even sea kayaking.

Peek.com

If you have a few days to fill and you want an expert opinion, there are neighborhood articles that guide you though the best options. There are also categories such as “What to do with kids”.

True story: on a Sunday morning (at 8:20 AM), I booked a Boston Harbor sunset sailing cruise for my wife for our trip that was coming up.  Immediately I got the email from Peek saying they were looking in to my booking and they’d be in touch. Then, 10 minutes later, my phone rings – it was Peek.com support calling to say that the tour company was changing their hours on tours and asked whether I’d be ok with an alternate time.  Of course i was ok with it..and they called me on a Sunday morning!

That’s amazing customer service.

So – Peek.com is essentially the concierge for the Airbnb generation or anyone traveling for a city looking for the best activities. If you haven’t checked out Peek…do it it..today!