Need a place to stay in New York City? Have a very tight budget? Airbnb can be a budget traveler's best resource, especially in expensive places like Manhattan.
It's quick, it's easy and also a fun way to meet locals.
Airbnb is a service that allows ordinary folks to rent a bed, spare room, apartment, sailboat or whole house. They have places available around the world. Some are shares with locals like we did and some are rental places completely to yourself.
We flew in from London after our Soultravelers3 interview with the BBC and just had one night in New York City in early October ( a time when it is very booked up). We had another interviewed scheduled there and we hoped to see a show so wanted something close to the theater area.
We travel the world on $23/day per peson, so have a very tight budget for a place like central Manhattan.
We didn't want anything fancy, just something clean, convenient and safe. There was a huge variety available on Airbnb. We talked a bit via email with a few owners and decided on one that was in the heart of Times Square and paid 72 dollars for the night. ( Airbnb did give us a small discount coupon).
It was like staying with friends. It happened to be two lovely professional and creative women who had a cat that Mozart adored. Perfect short stay in New York City at a superb price!
Since we travel light, with just one small carry-on bag each for our 26 airport stops, 9 month RTW trip this year, taking the Air Train was a good, cheap option for us to and from the airport to nearby Penn Station. Also because I lived in New York City for many years when I was in my twenties and early thirties, I am very comfortable there and know my way around easily.
Here is the review I wrote about our stay on the Airbnb site and what our hosts wrote:
Really great people and a beautiful place! The location is perfect for those who love the West Side which has become quite trendy. Caitlin and Elizabeth were so cool and helpful, I wish we could have chatted more, but we only stayed one night. Our child was also totally charmed by them and their cat. ;) They were very helpful with our needs in every way, including letting us use their washer & dryer which was very helpful as we travel the world with very little. The only challenge was the hallway and five story walk up, but once in the apartment it was immaculate and cute, but typically NYC small. We had a heavy bag and were not aware of the walk up. Don't be put off, it is worth the climb. ;) I also had trouble figuring out the shower in the morning, but that is all my fault because I forgot to ask them and didn't want to wake them early. Lesson learned? Ask about shower usage etc BEFORE bed. ;) Highly recommend this place & we would return in a second! It felt like we were staying with old friends!!
We had Jeanne and her husband and daughter stay with us. It was a short stay, but they were wonderful! I highly recommend hosting them. They were clean, nice, and considerate. Also check out their blog!! www.soultravelers3.com
Have you tried Airbnb? Would you be interested in hosting or staying at such places?