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From Apartment Rentals to Viewing the Olympics, the World of Travel is Full of Difficult Choices

 
       Travel decisions: whether to seek an apartment in place of a hotel, or to visit the Rio Olympics instead of elsewhere, require serious study by an avid traveler.
 
The disputed legality of short-term apartment rentals
 
     By the time you read this blog, it is probable that the Governor of New York State will have signed legislation sounding the death knell of Airbnb.com in New York City and other nearby New York locations. That new law creates a $7,500 penalty for every short-term rental of an apartment whose owner is not in residence at the time of tourist occupancy. Such a heavy fine should make such services as Airbnb (and its many imitators) reluctant to post daily advertisements for hundreds of such apartments, as they now do. After years of successfully defying such regulations, Airbnb and others will now confront prosecutions that are easily brought against them.
 
     It is also probable that other jurisdictions may rush to copy New York's draconian measure. Though Airbnb has thus far been successful in establishing itself in some states, many determined activists are still anxious to persuade other jurisdictions that the work of Airbnb reduces the amount of housing available to permanent residents.
 
     Where the job of prosecuting Airbnb consists of simply levying a $7,500 fine for every advertisement of a short-term rental, many prosecutors will decide to increase their efforts. And thus short-term rentals of entire apartments may be severely limited. Those many tourists who have relied on such rentals may be forced to consider other, more standard accommodations.
 
The press is full of anxious concern about the Summer Olympics
 
     The Summer Games are scheduled to start on August 5 and the media is full of predictions that numerous sporting venues will not be available to house spectators. Though every recent Olympics has been preceded by such anxiety, the Games scheduled for Rio are the subject of infinitely greater worry. The photographs appearing of current construction are an undoubted cause for concern.
 
     Brazil, of which Rio is the touristic capital, is a country in economic and political turmoil. Its president has been impeached, numerous political figures indicted, its currency devalued almost daily (the dollar now buys twice what it secured just three years ago), and reports are rife of civil disorder, muggings, and the like. Though Rio plans to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on its streets throughout the weeks of the Olympics, a great many would-be visitors are doubtful as to whether that measure will insure their safety. 
 
     More important, there are real doubts as to whether the many stadiums housing particular competitions will be ready in time. Though the city's giant (110,000 spectators) and long-standing chief arena, Maracana, will obviously be ready for the opening and closing ceremonies, numerous other sporting venues are still steel skeletons unequipped for spectators.
 
     Still planning to visit Rio? Good luck.
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