Airbnb - Best Budget Lodging for NYC

August 09, 2011

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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.

traveling light - total baggage for 3 for 9 momths round the world

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).

New York airbnb stay cheap, convenient  and clean

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.

You know we are big fans of the New York Times Frugal Traveler and he wrote and interesting review of Airbnb and you might also like Gizmo's thoughts on this topic.


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!!

arrival New York City airport

Have you tried Airbnb? Would you be interested in hosting or staying at such places?

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Heather on her travels

I'd certainly be interested in using this option to stay in cities that are expensive like NYC. We sometimes host travellers for free via Hospitality Club but if they wanted to stay longer than a couple of nights I sometimes think it would be good to have the option to charge

Margaret Sch.

As we now find ourselves in need of housing in NYC for a few days in April, I came back to this blog post for info and sure enough I am finding great stuff through Airbnb! Don't have the final solution yet but we will before long. They look much more fun than hotels besides being more affordable. As you know, I have followed you along on your travels for a few years now partly out of admiration and appreciation and so on . . but this time I am using your blog as a shortcut to doing my own research. (I was looking for hostels and not finding what we needed . . . started looking at Couchsurfers and felt unsure . . and then found Airbnb here and it seems like we will find just the right thing this way.) I will report back after the fact on how it goes!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

So happy to hear it was a help to you @Margaret! We really enjoyed our time there and hope it works well for you too! Do let us know!!

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