Airbnb: My New Best Travel Friend

A little while ago, as you may recall, I took a trip to NYC. While I was mainly able to stay on budget while traveling, when I got home and looked at the numbers the most shocking part of my budget definitely went to accommodations. That’s not unusual, by any means, but it is something that made me feel wistful.

Rather than resign myself to always paying over 50% of my travel budget to a bed for the night, I started looking into other options. A friend had mentioned the website Airbnb to me before, but I admit that the initial idea—strangers sharing rooms/parts of their homes for a reduced rate while you travel—scared me a bit.

When I took a recent trip to Toronto, however, that changed. I was going for work, and on really short notice. All of my friends in the area couldn’t put me up while I was there (understandably!) so I decided to swallow my apprehension and check Airbnb out. In not too much time, I found a room in a lovely home in an area of Toronto with which I was super familiar. I contacted the host—Airbnb is just a conduit to put you in touch with the owner—and she agreed that the dates I wanted worked for me.

Now, at this point I was still a little scared. Airbnb’s ratings operate on a similar principle to, say, Yelp.com; essentially you are relying on someone else’s opinion of the place to sell it. The place I was staying had rave reviews across the board, but the part of me that’s cynical/skeptical always assumes people pad their opinions areas with friends. Not so, in Airbnb’s case. As I found out, only people who’ve actually stayed in a place can leave a review of it. The system won’t allow anything else, which is awesome.

My final review, at least of this trip? The room I stayed in was amazingly comfortable and clean, I had my own bathroom, they provided towels, a robe and fresh linens, and my hostess made me coffee and served a continental breakfast every morning. It was like staying in a lovely bed and breakfast, right in the middle of the city. At only $60/night, as well, it couldn’t be a better deal. I recommend!

Have you stayed somewhere with Airbnb? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.

image via t_a_i_s

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