Let’s face it: sometimes the most expensive part of travel is finding a cheap place to stay. When traveling on a budget, if you’re up for it, sometimes you can find cheap hotels outside of the city. If you’re lucky, the city you’re visiting will have good public transportation and you can take a bus or subway/light rail to get around. If you’re not lucky, you can be stuck spending money on taxis if you’re too far away to walk.
However, what if you’re on a serious budget, or, and it happens, what if there is a conference in town and all of the hotels are expensive, even the ones outside of the city?
Cheap Places to Stay: Beware
Let’s start with the obvious: Couchsurfing and AirBnB in particular have had some bad press lately. If AirBnB isn’t completely banned or regulated by your city yet, it may soon be. That may be something you should check out, especially with everything that has gone on in New York recently. Make sure AirBnB is legal in the city you’re visiting before showing up!
Most of the other bad press, particularly for AirBnB, has been on the side of people who rent out their homes or rooms. While these stories are horrible, I’m hopefully directing this post to the people who genuinely want to stay in a city for a few days or week and who aren’t looking to take advantage of people.
In regards to Couchsurfing, the usual cautions apply: if the person you’re thinking of staying with doesn’t have good reviews, or doesn’t have any reviews, beware. Contact the person(s) you want to stay with, and try to communicate with them ahead of time. Meet them in a public place before going to their home/apartment, and trust your gut. If something about the person or people you want to stay with seems ‘off’, try something else.
All of that out of the way: I have not had a bad experience using Couchsurfing or AirBnB. While my Couchsurfing days are over (B is not keen on staying in people’s homes, and he prefers BnBs), I have been on both sides as both a guest and a host.
Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver
I blog about personal finance, with an emphasis on saving, for young adults. Join me on my journey to avoid debt (and sunburns) and navigate life after college! www.sunburntsaver.com
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