On a Tight College Budget? Use Airbnb to Help You Travel

By Danielle Fecteau
Shield Staff

Vacations are Expensive

Vacations are expensive – especially on a college student’s budget. Working part time and taking 18 credit hours makes it difficult to raise money for a trip to New York City. How is a young adult supposed to catch a break?

The thought of spending crazy amounts of cash on flights, gas and food is enough to crush all hopes of escaping for a weekend to break the monotony of everyday college life. Add in the cost of hotels, and you’re looking at over $1,000 for a short getaway.

Instead of spending at least $100 a night for a hotel in New York City, how about renting a place for $30 a night? I know. It sounds impossible; but it isn’t.

Airbnb Details

Airbnb.com can help you find a cheaper option for a dream NYC getaway. Airbnb, a website for people to list, find and rent lodging, boasts over 1 1/2 million listings in more than 190 countries worldwide.

Founded in August 2008, Airbnb, headquartered in San Francisco, California, offers accommodations ranging anywhere from a weeklong stay in a castle to a weekend visit in a cozy apartment to a villa for months on end.

At any price, people are offered unique trips with amazing service. In some cases, those listing the accommodations may be staying with their guests, offering the unique experience of practically having your own tour guide. In other cases, those renting the place may have it all to themselves for the duration of their stay. Regardless, Airbnb has become a growing sensation in the past few years.

Customers are able to connect with hosts, confirm dates and pay for their stay all through Airbnb’s online services. Tablets, phones and computers are all acceptable forms of communication.

Airbnb boasts a community of trust. Guests are encouraged to post detailed reviews of their hosts, and communication between the two is always allowed. The site also makes safety a priority. Personal profiles are verified and the messaging system is monitored to prevent any mishaps. Payment transfers happen securely and efficiently.

Options for Places to Stay Endless

Whether you want to escape your studies by embarking on an Austrian journey and staying in an igloo, or just a weekend in New York in a cozy two-bedroom apartment, the options are endless.

Cut out the cost of an expensive hotel and live life to its fullest by becoming a part of the destination in which you are traveling. By staying at a residence, you really feel like part of the community.

Airbnb Experiences

Anna Miller, an Oakland University senior, used Airbnb when she took a trip to New York City in July with five of her closest friends. “We found an apartment in Brooklyn that slept all six of us,” she said. The stay in the apartment was a little under $100 a night, and split between the six of them was quite affordable.

Miller admitted to being a little nervous about staying in a stranger’s home for five days. “Once we were there and we met our host, I felt so at ease that it didn’t even bother me,” she said. The group’s host, Dianne, stayed in the apartment with Miller and her friends. Miller said Dianne was extremely helpful by giving the girls directions throughout the city and letting them know about local hotspots.

“We felt like such a part of Brooklyn while we were there — like it was our home away from home. I want to use Airbnb for all of my trips now,” Miller said.

When I traveled to Chicago in June for a U2 concert, I met a few women who were using Airbnb to stay in a $40-a-night apartment. They said the apartment was a little snug, but so affordable that they had no room to complain. Hotels in Chicago are not cheap; most are marked at about $200-300 a night. By saving money on their accommodations, the women were able to buy concert tickets and go out every night they were in the city.

How to Make the Trip Cost Less

In addition to Airbnb, if you take multiple people on a trip, you can easily split up gas money. Going grocery shopping and then packing food in advance is a cheaper alternative to eat on trips. Flights are a more expensive option and can always be a struggle for those living on a budget. Traveling within the United States is probably the best option; at least until enough money is made for traveling abroad.

Saving money on vacation accommodations opens the door for more opportunities. Sightseeing is made a little more affordable when you cut the prices for the basic traveling needs.

Combining the lower prices presented on Airbnb with sharing the cost among multiple friends, trip taking is made possible for college students. Traveling on a budget is actually feasible — thanks to Airbnb.com.