Good News on Airbnb
I have recently heard from two trusted sources that they have used the lodging sharing site Airbnb http://www.airbnb.com with no problems. One person has actually used it three times, once in Paris and twice in the U.S. The other recently used it in New York City.
It's good to have personal references about relatively new lodging options like this. I may be too conservative, but I generally feel more comfortable sticking with the tried and true when it comes to such important things as where to stay when you travel. However, sites like Airbnb and Couchsurfing http://www.couchsurfing.com can certainly lower the cost of travel and make it easier to meet people.
In other news, October is a good month for off-season travel, particularly to sun destinations. The Caribbean and southeastern U.S. are under a severe hurricane warning and in some cases, evacuation orders, at the moment, but later in the month there will probably be big bargains. For travel within the U.S., Allegiant Air http://www.allegiantair.com still offers some remarkably good fares, with one-way flights for as little as $34.
It is also a good time to visit Europe. The summer crowds are gone, but weather remains above freezing almost everywhere. You may have to deal with clouds and rain, but that is a lot more pleasant than blazing sunshine and broiling temperatures, or snow and ice.