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Life of a Young Professional or, How I Rocked SXSW On $30.00 a Day

[alert type=”info”] would like to introduce our newest contributor, Tanner Seidel. Tanner’s focus is on business trends and their impact on young business professionals. To get him started, we sent him to SXSW. This is this is the first of a series of posts, from the event.[/alert]

austinStepping off the plane in sunny Austin was when I first came to the realization of exactly what living arrangements had been made. I had: a spot 3.5 miles from downtown, a host who knew SXSW, who had been very helpful in accommodating at such short notice, and all of this on a tight budget.

At this point you’re probably not at all impressed, but what if I told you that instead of a hotel with great service I’m crashing on a (vetted) stranger’s couch? For $30 per night I’ll happily take it. At this point I’m committed, I can’t click the heels of my red converse together and get back to the land of Oz partly because they are still in my carry-on bag, and partly because United prefers boarding passes.

The allure of AirBnB is twofold: one, crowdsourcing is awesome, and two, it is far less iffy (for lack of a better term) than couch surfing. Hosts are reviewed by peers and you can rent everything from couch space to castles in Europe. Business are, by nature, typically limited to B2B or B2C categories; Air BnB facilitates a charmingly Human to Human transaction.

The fact of the matter is that for $30 per night, you can’t really expect much from a hotel and by cutting out profit margin and miniature bathroom products I’m able to save quite a bit of cash. Everyone seeks out locals for directions getting around their destination city and finding cool places to visit that are a bit off the beaten path, staying at a local’s house just makes that kind of information much more accessible. As a young professional the importance of networking with locals simply can’t be overstated.

SXSW2AirBnB represents a disruptive technology in much the same way Über does for cabs, minus the lawsuits. Hotels here can charge as much as the want simply due to their location and accessibility. AirBnB puts accessibility into the consumer and distributors hands via web interface, this is good. My host Vanessa has been in constant contact for the past week, answering questions and helping me plan out my routes for the weekend. This level of service is usually reserved for high end hotels where young professionals can only aspire to stay.

By ditching the “ivory tower” of hotels a young professional is really able to get a feel for the livability of the city itself as an

insider rather than simply another traveler. I’ve been able to audition Austin on a level that would be nearly impossible to do from a hotel room. Nightly conversations about the local culture as well as a crash course in public transport have given me more info about Austin than I ever thought possible.

What city will you explore? Who will you meet? The possibilities are as endless as your imagination lets them be.

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