BreakingModern — Forget the same old boring hotel rental. With Airbnb for Android, you get to find your perfect, offbeat home away from home in 34,000 cities and 190 countries around the world. Spend a night in a castle, a downtown condo or a villa by the sea. This free app makes it all possible.
I know because it did it for me, as you’ll see below.
And I’m not alone. Founded in August 2008, Airbnb has gained a ton of traction as a sweet alternative to living and visiting abroad. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s time. It’s my choice for today’s daily Android app pick. Check it out.
My first experience with Airbnb landed me at a quaint Los Angeles location last year. Called a “Cozy Historic Loft in WeHo neighborhood” and known as “the Shire” the home definitely set my standards for all future Airbnb stays and selections. The experience is a markedly different option than your typical hotel or hostel.
Depending on where, when and how many people are involved, the cost of staying somewhere cozier can be cheaper than the normal way.
Prices start as low as $50 per night — or even lower in some select locales overseas. The cost can get astronomical, too. You’ll pay around $1,000 per night for that sweet Nob Hill mini mansion in San Francisco. If you’ve got it, good. If budget is a constraint — it is for most of us — you can balance price against where you want to stay and for how long.
You’ll find there are usually discounts if you stay for an extended period of time. And if you’re traveling with a group or as a pair, some homes might hike the rent a bit. Then again, you and your friends or family can just split the cost.
In Airbnb you’ll find that home listings usually state how many people can fit comfortably. That way you’ll know if it’s right before you book.
Airbnb incentivizes the hosts and the guests for enjoyable and cost-effective travel.
That said, Airbnb has recently received critique from regulators and the hospitality industry for somewhat of a housing crisis. This is an issue in San Francisco, where an influx of rentals has taken the place of housing units. At the moment, lawmakers in San Francisco are currently looking into zoning bylaws and various ordinances in regards to private rentals.
But I still love Airbnb. The tech is simple and the service is perfect.
Simple Platform, Perfect Service
Available for free for Android on Google Play and Apple iOS, Airbnb is ubiquitous these days. You’ll even find it for Blackberry via download through the Amazon app store.
And the best part? It’s easy to navigate. Yes, these folks managed to figure out what once was a huge barrier in the travel biz. Creating a new profile is quick, simple and painless. You get the option to gain references from friends that will increase your reputation, which makes it more likely for hosts to accept your reservation request. The free Airbnb app is exceedingly similar to its corresponding website, making it easy to reserve a place on short notice. That’s nice.
The home page on the Airbnb mobile and web screens features several promoted cities that are suggested for weekend visits or lengthier stays. There’s a button on the bottom for filtering. And the Discover button lets you search for other locations and plan your own trips with no hassle at all.
Once you’ve selected a destination, the app will prompt you to select arrival and departure dates. After your dates have been selected, more filter options are available, including price range, number of bedrooms, beds and bathrooms. A selection of amenities follows, including such necessities as wireless Internet, air conditioning and heating, kitchen appliances, free parking or handicap accessible.
As simple as searching for a rental vacation home is, reserving a home is even easier in Airbnb. Once you decide on a place, just press the Request to Book button on the bottom of the screen. That’s where you enter your payment method, though the system won’t charge you until the host confirms your reservation. Following confirmation and payment, you can always view your itinerary and billing receipt from your account, as shown below.
For busier folk who need an immediate response from a host, there is the Instant Book option, which lets you reserve and receive a quick response.
The Airbnb app is just as good as the website because of their similarities. From previous guest reviews to a brief biography on the host — and followed by similar listings of other homes that you may also be interested in — both platforms sync up and guide you toward your best match. The heart located at the top of the listing also allows you to add the home to a wish list of places you’d like to stay, if now isn’t the right time for an adventure.
My advice? Start packing your bags and get ready for that next weekend getaway.
Have a great app you want to share? Email it to apps@BreakingModern.com.
All images and screenshots: Cassandra Chin