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nov 21 2012

Airbnb Wants to Show You Around the World’s Top Cities

Downtown London

Explore different areas of London with Airbnb's new Neighborhoods feature.

(Courtesy xiquinhosilva/Flickr)

One of my favorite things to do when visiting a city is exploring its different neighborhoods—it's fascinating that you can feel worlds away in a matter of a few short blocks. Venturing out can be tough, however, when you have limited time but varied interests, and when you're unfamiliar with the layout of a city. Many travelers use guidebooks; some rely on recommendations. Personally, if I'm comfortable enough with the transportation system in question, I like to see where a few random left or right turns will take me. Popular vacation rental website Airbnb has combined all three methods with their new "Neighborhoods" feature, which launched this week.

With Neighborhoods, you can narrow down your search by clicking on your interests—for example, you might be looking for a spot known for its shopping, its "great transit," or its reputation for being beloved by locals. The site will cross-reference your criteria to lead you to your ideal neighborhood, then connect you with Airbnb listings and hosts in that part of town. A search for a museum-rich London neighborhood loved by locals and also offering great dining and transit led me to posh Kensington. From the landing page, I found a well-reviewed, centrally-located airy studio apartment which sleeps up to four travelers for $146 per night. Not too shabby.

Presumably, the Neighborhoods feature will be used by those looking for a place to stay, but with convenient transit guides, appealing photography, and a user-friendly interface, it can also be a helpful tool for the neighborhood exploration that makes a trip that much more memorable. Neighborhoods currently covers Rio de Janeiro, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Paris, and Washington, D.C. in addition to London.

Is neighborhood a factor in deciding where you'll stay when traveling?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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