As I mentioned in my previous blog, I now have a mortgage for a small condo here in Maui. The fact is, my mortgage is less expensive than it would have been for me to rent on this island, which I find sad. So many of the available homes and condos and apartments on Maui have been purchased by folks living on the Main Land, typically using their properties as Airbnb’s / VRBO’s / Homeaway’s, etcetera. That leaves people who are actual residents very limited or wildly overprices choices for permanent dwellings. This leaves me very conflicted on how to feel about the new popularity of these kinds of traveling trends.
Since I’ve stayed in many amazing airbnb style accommodations during my travels, it makes me wonder if I’m being an irresponsible traveler? Am I, too, a part of a housing problem in Italy by staying in an airbnb that could have been a lovely home for a renter and her family in Sorrento? I recently stayed in an amazingly located airbnb in Montreal that would have been an ideally sized home for a small family who wanted to be centrally located. However, they had to move elsewhere, perhaps further away from the city, in order to find affordable housing.
Are airbnb’s selfish?
Of course, they’re typically amazing apartments that give you a chance to really experience a destination. You can save money usually with an airbnb, as they’re typically less expensive than hotels. Additionally, they typically have kitchens, so you can save even more by eating some meals at ‘home’. It’s almost always double or triple the square footage of a hotel room, so you can spread out and even stay in separate bedrooms. I’ve specifically chosen airbnb’s at times simply so I’d have a place to do laundry mid-trip.
But what could that home be for a local? A chance to live in the city they grew up with their own families? A home in a hip area near bars and restaurants or near work?
I’m not saying I’ll never stay in an airbnb again, but living in a tourist destination and having so much trouble finding affordable housing really got me thinking. What is the right answer for this problem?
I’d love any of you sweet readers to weigh in with your thoughts. This blog is my way of exploring my feelings, as well as promoting responsible travel… so I’d really appreciate your two cents to help me wrap my brain around this issue. Even if you think it’s a non-issue, your opinion is welcome.