Back in 2012 my roommate was planning to take and extended holiday trip. Since she was going to be out of NYC for more than 2 months, she AirBnb’d her room. That was the first time I had heard of the service. They came a took pictures of our apartment and a few months later we were graced with very pleasant visitors from Denmark and Japan.

Airbnb started back in August 2008 in San Francisco\ as a service that connected travelers with folks who wanted to rent out their properties. Airbnb has a secure payment platform and a fair system of guarantees and insurance so that both landlord and renter are protected in the case of damages, no-shows, misrepresentations and other things that tend to go wrong in these situations. Listed properties actually get up to $1 million in insurance for each booking.

I thought it was a really cool concept, so the following year when my boyfriend and I decided to take a “get the hell out of NYC for a bit” trip we looked to AirBnb for an affordable place to stay in Los Angeles. We ended up booking a cute Bungalow in the Echo Park Neighborhood that cost us $70/ night and totaled $190 after taxes and the cleaning fee. This was a huge break considering staying anywhere conveniently located in LA can cost you more than $190 a night!

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Last year during my trip to Paris and London I wanted to use AirBnb to cut costs but unfortunately my mother just couldn’t comprehend the concept of paying to sleep in someone else’s house and in their bed.

In a few weeks however, my boyfriend and I will be headed to Puerto Rico and after scouring the travel sites we decided on beachfront studio apartment that was listed on AirBnb. The place cost us $80 per night so our total came to $370 after taxes and cleaning fees. Most of the locations we were looking at ran $150+ per night!

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I always check the reviews of a place before I book. I not only check the reviews about the place but I look into it’s convenience, ease of parking, and comments about the neighborhood. Most of the time you can find rates cheaper than the ones I mentioned, I just prefer to rent entire apartment rather than rooms.

For me, another plus about using AirBnb is that it qualifies as a hotel/ travel expenses on my new Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. As you might recall, one of my 2014 goals was to maximize my rewards points. So I’m raking in 2 points per $1 for my AirBnb stay.

AirBnb is also a good side hustle option. If you have an empty extra bedroom or sleep over at a significant others place fairly often, you could consider renting your place out, provided your landlord isn’t vigilant about those things. AirBNb is so successful that it has met opposition here in NYC. Landlords are upset because tenants are basically running a hotel out of their apartment and officials are upset because they feel like it’s eating into taxes.

Air BNB is great but before you run over to book here are a few precautions.

  • AirBnb will deduct the money from your account at the time of booking.
  • Depending on the renter, you could be charged an additional security deposit.
  • This is not a hotel and there are no check in counters, most of the time you have to arrange a way to get the keys from the owner.
  • Your room will not be cleaned daily.
  • Recent concerns of discrimination have been raised as homeowners reserve the option to accept or reject your reservation.

So tell me. Do you AirBnb? What has been you experience with this relatively new concept?




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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.