Get Ready for an Airbnb Adventure

Airbnb is a website where people can rent their rooms, apartments or even houses out to travelers. If you’re looking for a cost saving place to stay during your travels, Airbnb can be a great place to find deals on housing for far less than what you’d pay at a hotel.

What is AirBNBracorn / Shutterstock

What Is Airbnb?

Airbnb stands for air mattress bed and breakfast. This was the intent of the site when it was founded: a less expensive alternative to hotels, such as an air mattress plunked down in someone’s home with breakfast included. From these humble beginnings, Airbnb has skyrocketed into a trend and the humble air mattress has been expanded to include apartments, homes, and even lodges and castles. There are many good things about using this type of travel accommodation – and, of course, there are a few downsides.

AirBnB - The Goodwavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

The Good

If you travel light and want a place to stay where the cost is cheap enough to enjoy the locale, then Airbnb is the place to start looking. Booking through this service finds cost savings and many larger metropolitan areas have lots of places available.

In New York City, the price of a hotel room starts in the hundreds of dollars. Renting a room from a person who doesn’t operate a hotel and wants to make a few dollars for a room is much less expensive. These are private residences, so many offer either breakfast with the hosts staying there or provide a kitchen for rentals where you’re on your own.

AirBnB - The BadJohan Larson / Shutterstock

The Bad

If something bad ever happens, the news media can be counted upon to let the public know. There were some news items about these types of rentals where people paid for accommodations only to show up and found out the rental ad was placed by someone who didn’t own or live at the place advertised. Travelers lost payments and rentals and were very unhappy. Worse yet were the surprised people who returned from vacation to find their home had been rented out while they were gone.

These are problems mostly associated with copycat sites. Whichever site you use, there are ways to guard against this. Checking for scams in the locale to be visited, going to county web sites to check for ownership of a property you are considering renting are just two ways to check and make sure a scam is not afoot. Common sense approaches such as large deposits being required or seeing an ad for an apartment when a satellite map shows the address is a single family home area are approaches you can use to your advantage.