Just want the discount code? Follow this link to enjoy £16 off your first stay! www.airbnb.co.uk/c/rhowell8
If this doesn’t work, go to the app and follow these instructions:
So, we like to save money and we want to be savvy whilst we travel. We signed up for AirBnB.
AirBnB allows hosts to rent out spare rooms, the living room sofa, a shared room and even whole apartments to travelers throughout the World.
The App allows users to filter results based on location, price, number of people and so on. If you search properly, you should be able to find a place cheaper than hotels and hostels. Easily.
Our first experience of an AirBnB place was when we landed in NYC at JFK Airport. We hadn’t managed to find somewhere to stay in New York before we arrived so we sat at the Subway in the arrivals hall and used the free wi-fi and took advantage of the free refills on soda. You’ll find free wi-fi in most places in the USA, as well was free refills on sodas.
We scoured the AirBnB listings for NYC and we were looking at the lower end of the price range, we’re saving money after all. You can contact the host from the app and double check availability, which we did and we got an immediate response. Brilliant.
The apartment was in Harlem, which isn’t as bad as it use to be, it’s improved somewhat, apparently. The apartment was owned by a Spanish female who lived alone, she was renting out her spare room. Just what AirBnB was designed for.
Messages went back and forth between us and we booked on the app, making a payment for four nights, our first mistake.
We made our way from JFK to the City using the AirTrain and the Subway. We picked up an unlimited subway card for seven days for $30 and boy did we make the most of our money!
The AirBnB host messaged me around fifteen times between leaving the airport and getting to the apartment, it felt like I was being harassed by a psycho ex girlfriend who wanted her CDs back. We arrived at the apartment and we were told to use the app messaging to notify her of our arrival, she then gave us the apartment number in order to use the intercom system. It felt like I was trying to win a crystal in the maze.
The smell hit us as soon as we opened the door to the communal stairs. A smell I’m familiar with from work, I like to call it Eau de Urine.
We got to the fourth floor and knocked the door. We were greeted by a genuinely friendly and welcoming host. Shame about the weird number of messages, but hey. The apartment however, was a different story. At least the room we were staying in had a bed, but that was it. Literally, just a bed. Nothing else.
The kitchen was only a kitchen because she called it a kitchen. I would describe it as a room with a sink. No appliances, no work surfaces, nothing but a sink and a water boiler, which didn’t really work.
The bathroom was hideous. HIDEOUS. The bath was meant to be white. I don’t think it had been white for at least fifteen years. There’s probably a new species growing in the mould. The Natural History Museum might want to pay a visit, after the City Health Department that is.
We’d been travelling for around eighteen hours at this point and we’d passed through time zones and we were hungry. We dumped our bags and headed out in search of food.
We stayed out until late and returned at around 2345. We slept in our sleeping bags on top of the bed.
Walking between the bedroom and the bathroom, which is a couple of metres, made our feet black with dirt.
When we woke up the following day, we packed our stuff and left the keys to the apartment on the bed. We can’t stay here for four days. I feel like I’m slumming it in a jungle, not staying in the Big Apple.
We headed to the nearest Starbucks and connected to the free wi-fi. We spent a few hours there debating how to solve the problem, looking for other places to stay.
I found a UK number for AirBnB customer services and gave them a call, my three mobile bundle works in the USA. I explained the situation to the customer service agent on the phone and within minutes he had refunded the whole amount for the four nights stay, including the one we had used. No quibbles, no questions. If you contact AirBnB customer service within 24 hours of check in, they’re in a much better position to help, because the host hasn’t been paid your money by that point.
To top that awesome service, we were also given a voucher to help towards the cost of another place. This made looking for another place much easier, because we could look at the slightly more expensive places by using the voucher.
We found a place in Brooklyn and it was awesome. For less than the first place, we had a whole studio apartment to ourselves. The whole place was ours for three days! Check it out! Less than £25 a night for us.
Cliff is the host of this awesome apartment in Brooklyn – find his profile on AirBnB to book this place! Make sure to tell him how you found him!
The apartment is a short walk from a subway stop that takes you right to Times Square. The neighbourhood is great, plenty of supermarkets and many different take away cuisines.
The apartment has aircon, which will be a life saver.
The shower is awesome, we’ve deliberately left the photo out so it’s a surprise when you arrive! You won’t be disappointed.
There’s high speed wifi, surround sound that you can connect to your iPhone or iPod and there’s an Apple TV for watching movies and Netflix.
This place is like your own hotel room, but supersized, with more awesome stuff, full of charm and more importantly, cheaper!
We loved that place, so much so, we had times where we had to tear ourselves out to see NYC!
It’ll always be hit and miss with AirBnB, but you can see photos of the place before you choose to book. I have seen some listings with exactly the same photos, so beware, there are some hosts out their who intend on deceiving. They are few and far between and they won’t last long when AirBnB find them.
AirBnB has awesome customer service and they want to protect their business. They have certain rules for hosts too. If a place isn’t as it was described, or lacks appliances or facilities that were promised, you’ll get your money back. If the place you stay isn’t clean or you deem it unsafe, you’ll get your money back. All you have to do is call them. There’s a number for most Countries. Find them on their website.
Our advice when using AirBnB?
Contact the host before you book – Some hosts will negotiate rates at last-minute. They’d rather have some money for a few nights stay if their room is empty.
Ask the host if you can book for one night and if you’re happy, can you stay for more nights? This way, if you’re not happy, you’ve only parted with one night’s fee and you can leave the next morning. You might be able to pay the other nights in cash, saving the service fee for both of you.
Beware that AirBnB will add a service fee at checkout, it’s how they make their money.They also take 3% from the host on the booking.
Look for a discount code – use ours at the top of this page!
If things aren’t right, say something about it. If you don’t want to speak to the host face to face, lets face it, this can be intimidating, then ringing AirBnB will be your best bet. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. That’s your money and you’ve worked hard to earn it.
Ryan and Lois