So while planning my first ever trip to New York City for Blogher12, I thought I may as well get in some sight seeing while I’m there. So I planned to arrive about 5 days earlier so that I can have the freedom to hop around the city as I wanted.
Since this was my first trip, I wanted to stay in or near Manhattan so I would be in close proximity to most of the activities/attractions I wanted to enjoy. But I’m sure you already know or have experienced the high cost of Manhattan hotels!
But I remembered reading about this company called Airbnb in an airline magazine and thought, “Hey, let’s check them out!“
So in a nutshell, Airbnb offers vacation rentals, private and shared rooms, and other spaces in over 27,000 cities and over 190 countries by people who are willing to “rent” their space on a nightly basis.
Sorta like a hotel…cool!
Was I skeptical? Of course. I’ve watched too many movies to not know the dangers of dealing with strangers, especially in a place I had never been. So, to feel safer, I decided to only look for spaces with single women hosts who had a private room (not shared).
My Lovely Host
After looking through a lot – and I mean a lot – of beautiful (and not so beautiful LOL) spaces, I finally narrowed it down to a space in the Upper West Side because of its glowing reviews and its location to the train station.
I contacted the host, Amber Crawford, an up and coming actress by the way which is way cool (I told her I need to get my autograph now before she really blows up!!) and expressed my interest in her space.
She responded almost immediately and confirmed the availability of her space during my stay. She even texted me around the time I told her I was arriving in NYC and told me the best way to get to her place by cab (so that the cabbie wouldn’t try to rip me off!). Very helpful!
When I got to her place, I was greeted by a very warm and lovely young lady and a great, inviting space space I might add. I tell ya, once I met Amber in person, I knew she was cool peoples!
She offered everything in her home to me including her well stocked frig, coffee and tea abound, organic fruits, take out menus (since I don’t cook much; ok, not at all for real!), and washer and dryer, which was very handy!
AND, guess what she surprised me with upon settling in??? Delish homemade chocolate chip cookies! Who needs a schmancy fancy hotel!
Reviews and Social Proof are Key
As I was narrowing down my choices, the reviews became the ultimate factor in deciding where to stay. Amber’s reviews from previous guests and friends were glowing!
Airbnb also lets hosts connect their Facebook accounts so you can see tips/recommendations from their friends. This was also an added layer of comfort for me as you can “see” the host, their friends, their profile page (unless it’s private), and get a feel for them even before meeting them.
Final Thoughts on Airbnb
My overall experience was awesome! I couldn’t have asked for a better host. If you choose to use Airbnb, here are my tips from my trip:
- Great for solo travel – I can’t imagine a whole family going to share someone’s home (unless they had the space for it). When I was looking around on the site, most spaces had only one extra bedroom to spare. For solo travel, I found it to be a huge cost saver. I could then spend the money I saved for more shopping on my trip!
- Reviews, reviews, reviews – Just like the real estate industry declares “location, location, location” for lasting success, I urge you to pay close attention and read between the lines of the reviews people leave. There’s a lot to be said of the things because DON’T say too!
- Communication is key – Before booking with a host, contact them and see how quickly they respond. Airbnb has a rating of responsiveness that comes in handy. If they take too long to respond and/or unclear in their conversation with you, most likely they will be the same way once you get there. Find another space; there’s plenty to choose from!
You’d be amazed at some of the awesome, immaculate, spaces listed on Airbnb that will suit just about any taste!
I would absolutely do Airbnb again and recommend that you check it out on your next trip.
Over to you…
Have you ever used Airbnb’s service to find a place to stay on vacation? How was your experience? If you haven’t tried it, do you think you’ll give it a try on one of your upcoming trips?