Because There Aren’t Enough Reasons to Visit San Diego in Winter, Now You Can Ice Skate

Hotel Solamar

Top reasons to visit San Diego right now:

To help check off the last item, Hotel Solamar, a boutique Kimpton hotel in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter, is offering the Fall on Your Ice Skating package:

The promotion is $139 and runs until Jan. 5, 2014 when the rink closes for the season.

Yes, Horton Plaza also offers lessons.

Ice Skating Fails

Airbnb Is Having a Media Moment

OuiShare Summit 2012
Flickr/Natalie Ortiz

Airbnb has been around for more than five years, but this week the media has been booking stories left and right about the “trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.”

Monday, the New York Times looked at the legality of Airbnb in New York City. The article’s title, “The Airbnb Economy in New York: Lucrative but Often Illegal,” neatly sums up the situation (as good headers often do): many New Yorkers are earning needed income from Airbnb, but in doing so are depriving the state of needed tax revenue.BlackBook Magazine’s Harom Lea, who “loves all that is Airbnb,” nevertheless shares a few horror stories: like that of two women in Stockholm whose renters turned their home into a pop-up brothel.

If you can get past the possibility of your bathroom being converted into a meth lab though (another true story), there’s money to be made,as the business press points out.

Forbes’s delves into how owners of a second home can use Airbnb to profit from it. Likewise, in “Secrets of Running a Six-Figure Airbnb,” Fast Company explains how homeowners can earn extra income by putting up travelers.

Executive summary: to make money from Airbnb, it helps to own multiple properties.

Used Airbnb to either rent your home or book a room? Share your experience in the comments.

Taxi E-Hailing Test Gets Green Light in NYC

New York City Taxi
Christoph SahleA taxi in NYC.

The ability to hail a taxi from your smartphone is probably in the immediate future for New Yorkers. NYC has been testing e-hailing so passengers can more easily retrieve a taxi. The city recently received the green light from an appeals court to keep moving forward.

A pre-arranged ride has been traditionally prohibited for NYC yellow taxis. When the city began developing the e-hailing system, car services sued, citing that they rely on pre-arranged rides for their income and that the new developments are unfair to their business. This ruling from the appeals court means city taxis are one step closer to being at your beck and call, even if you’re deep into Brooklyn and there isn’t a yellow taxi in sight.

City to Decide on New Taxi Service

Haunted Hotels Are In Full Swing

If luxury horror is your thing, look no further than haunted hotels this Halloween. As rounded up in a spread on USA Today, several hotels across the country are incorporating their own tales from the crypt into their businesses this time of year. A couple examples of haunted hotels participating in the spooky season:

The Biltmore Coral Gables in Miami has been everything over the years from a speakeasy during Prohibition to a hospital ward for World War II soldiers to the murder scene of a gangster. Guests have complained of visions and other kinds of ghostly disturbances-including getting dropped off at the 13th floor form the elevator despite the button not being pressed-since the building reopened as a hotel in the 1980s.The Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans once served as a ballroom and theater, but was then turned into a girls’ school, orphanage and medical ward. Guests routinely complain of hearing voices that sound as though they belong to children.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And if you can’t convince them your hotel isn’t filled with ghosts, convince them of the opposite instead.

Halloween Destinations
More on Halloween

Tourists Pay To Hunker Down In East German Bunker

bunker sign
Martin Abegglen, Flickr

Sleeping in rickety old beds, eating bland food that you’re forced to cook yourself and being bossed around by hotel staff hardly sounds like a fun travel experience, but tourists in Germany are paying $150 a night for exactly that.

It’s all a part of a unique experience that gives travelers the chance to experience life as it was for soldiers in East Germany. Visitors are taken to a forest 200 miles outside of Berlin where they spend the night in the Bunker Museum, which as the name implies, is a former military bunker. The bunker was built more than 40 years ago for use by the German secret police, and was designed to become a military command center if the local area was ever attacked.Today, tourists can experience life in the bunker, which includes donning the soldier’s uniforms before peeling potatoes and cooking sausages for dinner. But don’t expect a good night’s sleep here-the bunk beds are small and uncomfortable with thin mattresses and, naturally, you’re expected to make the bed yourself.

Those who run the hotel say the experience has proven extremely popular among travelers, and quite a few of those who visit are actually former East German residents themselves.