The Morans saved money for two years. About a year before their trip, the Phoenix couple booked a room in New York through Airbnb, and realized it would offer affordable options during their travels.
To be a good guest, Moran says, read the guest reviews before booking, and pay attention to red flags raised by negative reviews.
Also, communicate with the host before and during your stay, she says. Many listings require guests to contact the host before booking, and prospective guests should take advantage. Ask questions. If the host gets up at four in the morning to make breakfast and you’re a light sleeper, it might not be the right fit.
“We have never had our reservation cancelled, walked into an apartment that didn’t look like the pictures or was dirty or had miscommunication with our hosts,” Moran says.
Some travelers may opt for more traditional amenities. Patrick says he prefers to hire someone else to clean up after him. “I prefer to be pampered in a hotel, than to stay in a condominium or residence,” he says.
For Moran, however, staying in someone else’s home allows her to cook, and she and her husband were able to experience more of the local flavor from Airbnb hosts in Chile, South Africa and many European cities.
“We immediately feel more intimately involved in the community by staying in apartments over hotels,” she says, adding that no one restocks the toilet paper or makes the bed each day. “For us, it allows us to feel at home wherever we are in the world, and we couldn’t imagine completing this journey without it.”