I first discovered Airbnb about 2 years ago, when I was browsing the App Store. At first, it looked like a very nice app to look at for some crazy places to stay, but then I started learning more about it and signed up. My account says I signed up in October 2012, fully intending to use it but, life got in the way.
I finally have a chance to use it now on my upcoming trip to New York.
Perhaps I should explain what Airbnb is?
The idea started when the founder rented out some floor space, so that people could put their air mattresses during a very overbooked conference in his home city.
It grew very quickly to a place where people rent out couches, rooms and even entire apartments/houses. All this magic is happening on the Airbnb website.
As you can see in the image above, they are available in over 190 countries at the moment, and they are still expanding.
Let’s not kid ourselves, the main reason for using this website over hotels is: price.
However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have other advantages over staying at a regular hotel or b&b.
Here are some of the advantages I think Airbnb offers:
- staying in some areas/places where hotels are just not available.
- if you are renting a room/couch inside somebody’s apartment, the owner will most likely give you directions and tips that you can only get from a local
- you can stay in some really cool places that I’ve discovered on the website including: an igloo, a tree house, a yacht, a train an many more other wacky choices
- since you are working with real people, every single review they get matters a lot to them
Some guidelines I recommend from my experience (so far) with Airbnb: make sure you read the reviews of the place you want to rent, try to get a place with “Airbnb verified photos”, check out the area on Google Street View, use common sense.
I will post more about the other side of the experience once I come back from my trip to New York.
What type of accommodation do you prefer when you travel? Would you use Airbnb in the future, and if you have, how was it ?