Now that summer is definitely here, travel is on your mind. But with ridiculous airfare, the cost of gas and pricey accommodations, cutting costs anywhere is appreciated. That's why this summer might just be a godsend.

AirBNB is an online marketplace that allows anyone to rent out their extra space - it can be a private room to an entire apartment and everything in between.

Users can search through 5199 cities in 145 countries with options such as price and room type. Once you've found something you're interested in, you contact the host directly through AirBNB and then book online if interested. Once a reservation request is accepted by the host, both parties will receive an itinerary and every thing is set.

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But what if this host is a rude, creepy, or flakes out and you're left stranded? Fear not, because AirBNB features user profiles and friend ecommendations. With a site like this reviews are the most vital piece because no matter how good something looks, you need to know how it really is from user experience. When looking at a certain posting, you also get to see what past travelers thought about the accommodation and what they thought about the host themselves.

To see how helpful AirBNB really is, I put it through the test. I searched for a place to stay in Miami for four days during the first week of August. Immediately after the initial search involving just the destination, length of stay, and number of guests, I was also presented the option to search min/max price, preference of spoken language, and neighborhood to search.

So I altered my search a little bit, suggesting that I'd like to stay in a private room, as opposed to an entire place. I clicked on the first result, a $48 a night room in an apartment in Downtown Miami. That's a pretty cheap vacation rental! There were multiple pictures of the room, kitchen space, and the shared living/dining room along with all the offered amenities and house rules. They even posted a map of where the room is located, with a street view and a calendar that showed available and unavailable days. At the time there were 20 reviews of the apartment and the host, all positive.

The weather's getting warm (too warm if you ask me) and sometimes a little getaway is necessary for survival. I might be heading to Miami.

--Samantha Chin, NYCRD Contributor


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