Hi - I'm fairly new here, but this board had been so incredibly helpful in my planning for a recent trip to NYC that I felt I needed to share something.
While doing my research for accommodation here on TR, I realize there is a very strong sentiment against staying at anything other than the traditional hotel. As students on a very very limited budget, my boyfriend and I tried to do look into cheaper alternatives like hostels. However, once the taxes were factored (18ish% I believe?) on top of somewhat already pricey rates ($50+ per person per night for a hostel? really??) we were already over budget. Not to mention most hostels looked like crap - and that's putting it eloquently!
Sure, we also had the option of staying at a hotel outside of Manhattan, but seeing how this was our first trip to NYC, that certainly wasn't our preferred option.
So we came across airbnb. (I can already hear a few of you grimace!) After lots of hesitation and looking for other options we took the plunge and booked it. We found a place with a few positive reviews for $100/night. This is below the price of a hostel (as there were 2 of us) and well below the price of a hotel room. Plus we had a private bathroom. It sounded too good to be true, especially after reading these forums.
Our stay was fantastic. Granted, there was so much to do in NYC that we were barely even at home, which gives even more reason to not use up so much of the budget on the hotel room.
This type of accomodation may not be for everyone, but for two students like us who may have had to cancel the trip altogether if we couldn't afford a decent place to stay, airbnb was the perfect solution.
The only concern that I feel can be validated is the safety issue. Who is this person you're staying with? Can they be trusted? However, I do believe this can be mitigated by doing research - staying at a place with favorable reviews is not much riskier than a hostel.
Anyway, this is post is not to provoke anyone and please don't flame me! I feel I need to put in a disclaimer promising that I do NOT work for airbnb and am not a disgruntled NYC hotel employee or hold anything against NYC hotels! I realize this has been discussed numerous times on this board and is a controversial topic, but I find the majority of people here are of one side of the opinion. My only purpose is to share my very positive experiences from a different perspective.
Thanks you and if anyone has any further questions, I welcome your replies here and/or PMs.