So you’re headed to New York for a weekend or even a week and you need a lower-cost alternative to hotels -- and a less annoying alternative to some hostels.
One possibility is to try to suss out something on Craigslist, but that can be difficult, particularly if you’re looking for just a day or two.
Another option is try AirBed & Breakfast or the just-launched Roomorama, both of which pair people with space to rent with those looking to rent a place. The quality of the offerings varies with the price. One day last week I noticed you could snag a bed in a spare room or space on a couch in Boston or New York for as little as $20-$40. If you’re willing to spend a little more you can score a whole studio, a one- or two-bedroom apartment, or even a house. (And, of course, location counts -- steps from Times Square will probably be more expensive than, say, Queens.)
After looking around on the sites, though, it’s apparent there are some pretty good deals in every price range. Roomorama claims that the average price of a hotel room in Midtown East is $305 and that its listings average $102 and $173, for shared and not-shared accommodations, respectively.
The sites work basically the same way. You fill out an online form, noting which dates you need, in which city, and for how many people, then you get a list of possibilities. Once you decide on a place, you’ll need to create a profile and launch a booking inquiry. If accepted, you make a payment using a credit card or PayPal. Both sites will assess a service fee -- 5-to-12 percent in the case of AirBed and 8 percent for Roomorama -- on top of the rental.
While they largely work the same way, there are some differences. AirBed offers listings in a number of cities and sometimes your deal comes with breakfast. Roomorama currently is just in New York but plans to be in Boston, Chicago, and Toronto soon (actually there are some Boston listings on the site already, but they haven’t staged an official launch). And Roomorama allows you to filter your search by price and according to amenities (WiFi, TV, air conditioning, kitchen, parking, etc); it also has a “Shoutout” feature for prospective renters to post specific requests.
Worth checking out.