When you’re traveling and ready to lay your head down on a pillow, it’s doesn’t have to be pricey. Consider booking with Airbnb, which caters to every budget and often offers more bells and whistles than traditional hotels. For instance, some Airbnb hosts provide snacks, access to a patio or balcony, outdoor grilling options, and free parking.
If you’re a newbie to Airbnb, and haven’t been turned off by complaints of racial discrimination, you can find a hostess of color. There are a few other things you can do to ensure your stay is just what you want.
Before making a reservation, look at the photo gallery, carefully read descriptions, host rules and reviews. Some hosts, especially those who live on the property, offer tours and tips about the neighborhood.
“Airbnb allows you to book a private room or an entire home, so know your comfort levels. I like to book the entire home so I can have a true home away from home experience,” says Brittney Greene, social media coordinator of Nomadness Travel Tribe, an urban, travel and online social community with over 15,000 members. “Booking with a Superhost is the best way to ensure your Airbnb experience is amazing.” Greene also suggests word-of-mouth, so ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations.
To help you get started, here’s a roundup of four places under $100-a-night that would be great for your next domestic trip. Nightly rates are current at the time of publication.
The spot: Harlem hideaway
Where: New York, New York
Maximum guests: 1
Nightly rate: $88
What you get: Home away from home. This shared Harlem apartment offers one private, fully furnished bedroom decorated in a monochromic and industrial chic scheme. Each room has character—the living room features artwork and life-affirming messages. The kitchen is spotless with cookware, dishware and appliances. Guests also have access to a dining area with an antique dining table. Because of the central location and proximity to several trains and buses, most popular places in New York City are within a 30-minute commute. Central Park plus a slew of restaurants and coffee shops are within walking distance.
The host says: “My apartment is clean, functional and stylish with an industrial glam look. Privacy is key, so you are free to come and go on your own or chill out on the tufted leather sofas, which are comfy and perfectly positioned for intimate conversations.”
The spot: A colorful tiny house
Where: East Point, Georgia
Nightly rate: $72
Maximum guests: 2
What you get: Small but comfortable. Located near Atlanta, Georgia, the entire house is 160 square feet, but packed with everything guests need. There’s a kitchen with a Keurig, refrigerator, electric countertop stove, coffeemaker, French press and snacks. The living room has a flat-screen television with Roku and Netflix subscriptions in the living room area; free Wi-Fi for people who need to work or post pictures to their social media account. The bedroom comes with a full-size bed that is good for one or cozy for two, and a bathroom. Easy street parking is available for those who rent cars. Definitely look at the photos, which highlight the well-designed space and its colorful decor.
The host says: “Our tiny house is different than most listings because our guests experience the wilderness with the city right at the doorsteps. We also offer a fire pit and an organic garden to pick [produce].”
The spot: Sleek condo
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
Maximum guests: 4
Nightly rate: $99 weekdays
What you get: Contemporary cool. For an urban escape near downtown with modern amenities, such as a fitness center and an outdoor pool, head to this 800-square foot one bedroom condo. Located in the Westend area, the unit is perfect for people who like to cook. It comes replete with a full kitchen stocked with of cookware, glasses and more. The open-concept living and dining room is ideal for quiet dinners together or solo. Hardwood floors run throughout, except for the bedroom, which has carpeting. The bathroom is in the bedroom so late night bathroom breaks are convenient. Secure, assigned parking is available, but for visitors who prefer to mass transit, MARTA, the city’s train service, is a short walk away. It also comes equipped with a washer and dryer so you can do laundry before heading home.
The host says: “I know what it feels like to be apprehensive or nervous when booking Airbnb for the first time, so I worked hard to create a seamless check-in experience and comfortable stay in the heart of Atlanta for half the price of a small hotel room. [My home] is in a central location, has secured access and a trendy design layout.”
The spot: Modern townhouse
Where: Houston, Texas
Nightly rate: $55
Maximum guests: 2
What you get: Modern in Midtown. Accommodations are shared with the owner, but guests occupy the first floor, which has a private bathroom and bedroom with direct access to the first patio. Guests could literally roll over and onto the patio. There’s an extra room that features a desk, printer and a kitchenette stocked with snacks. The second floor is contemporary stylish with a foosball table, open-concept living room, kitchen and dining room with access to the second balcony. Guest can feel free to fire up the patio grill as well. Street parking is available.
The host says: “My home offers much more than a place to sleep. Amenities rival any five-star hotel, but with a personalized touch. There is a significant amount of privacy and I curated an extensive list of recommendations from my 20-plus years of living and exploring Houston.”
In closing, Greene says: “A lot of hosts provide neighborhood guides and go above and beyond to make your stay in their city memorable. I have met awesome hosts who I’ve had amazing conversations with, partied with and got the inside scoop on hot spots that don’t get Yelp reviews.”
Click here to explore Airbnb, and happy travels!
Carolyn Desalu is an essayist and travel and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Ebony, Essence, Catapult and The Globe and Mail. Aside from writing a book of essays, she enjoys finding the best doughnut shops in every city she visits. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @bycarolyndee.