The easiest way to rent yourself a cool loft apartment in Brooklyn, treehouse in the Argentinean rainforest or pied-à-terre in Paris.
If you want to experience life as the locals know it with the comfort of having your own kitchen, living room and internet connection, you are in the right place.
AirBnB also suits travelers keen to spend a bit more time getting to know a city or town, as most hosts won’t go to all the trouble of renting out their property for only a two night stay.
Narrow your options by price, neighbourhood and amenities, like wireless internet. As AirBnB doesn’t provide details on the different neighbourhoods in each city as some other travel sites do, your best bet is to Google the location so you don’t end up in the dodgy part of town.
Most importantly, choose whether you are after an entire apartment or house to yourself or if you want a single room in a share house, as many people are just renting out rooms on the cheap on this website.
Obviously, check out the reviews of the pad you are interested in to see how other AirBnB users have found it and then email the host to register your interest.
AirBnB has recently launched ‘Wishlists’, where you can create your own list of places you want to stay, or check out some of the most unique places to stay in the world.
When we say unique, we really mean it. How does a teepee in Hong Kong, haunted house in Seattle or a houseboat on the Seine sound? If these lists don’t inspire you to think outside the box on your next trip, we don’t know what will.
Of course, you could always stay inside the box, and we mean literally. You can rent a plastic cube in a Berlin park for $12 per night on AirBnB.
Check out A Not So Lonely Planet’s very own Wishlist here.
- Price. For example, it can be far cheaper to rent an apartment or room in New York with a friend or two, than pay for a hotel room in one of the world’s most notoriously expensive cities.
- You get to live like a local and experience a neighbourhood you might not have otherwise seen. Your host or roommates can also share great tips on the best off the beaten track attractions and local restaurants.
- You also get SPACE. This means room to unpack your suitcase and the freedom to curl up on the couch and just watch TV after pounding the pavement all day.
- If you are tight on cash, travelling for an extended period of time or just sick of eating out, a fully equipped kitchen is also likely to come in very handy.
- Travelling with a group often means multiple hotel rooms or being split across dorm rooms in a hostel. Renting an entire apartment means you can all stay together.
- There is something for everyone – whether you are looking for a romantic apartment for two or pooling your cash with your buddies to rent a beachside villa.
You can rent a fairytale boot house in Tasman, New Zealand for $238 per night on AirBnB.
We didn’t say it was perfect.
- Cancellations. While thousands of homes are rented on AirBnB everyday, there is the off chance a host will cancel your booking and leave you stranded. You will get a full refund, but there is no responsibility for AirBnB to find you a new rental. Check out their cancellation policy here.
- False advertising. The last thing you want is to turn up to your modern apartment rental in central London only to find yourself on the outskirts of the city in a flat with original carpet from 1962. Check out the reviews to stay safe and steer clear if the deal seems to good to be true.
- Is AirBnB even legal? There has been much debate over the legality of AirBnB, because many hosts don’t actually own their apartments and could be guilty of illegally subletting. In San Francisco, where AirBnB began, the site is actually illegal as city laws require anyone renting a room for 30 days or less to also hold a bed and breakfast license.
Our tip? If the host has rented out the home numerous times before without a problem, you are probably fine to go ahead and book.
AirBnB is a great way to score a simple bed or an awesome apartment pretty much anywhere in the world, just keep a few numbers for nearby hostels or hotels handy in case something goes wrong at the last minute.