|by Beth Collins||Hotels||37|
When I tell people that at Budget Travel we try to keep our hotel recommendations under $200 per night for a double, their response is almost always the same: “So you never talk about New York?”
It’s true that while there are still a few budget-friendly gems in New York, most hotels in the city are prohibitively expensive. That’s why I was so excited to learn about Roomorama, a site that lists New York apartments available for short-term rentals. Other sites have tried to do this, but I’ve always found them to be disorganized and frustrating to use—and sometimes full of scams. Roomorama is easy to use, and it does everything it can to keep the site scam-free.
[UPDATE Sept. 18: Roomarama now offers short-term rentals in Boston, Chicago, and Toronto, too.]
Hosts create profiles with descriptions and, usually, photos of their apartments, and they list the dates when their place will be available. Guests search by date, number of bedrooms, and type of dwelling (share, apartment, or house), and all the places available at that time pop up. Once a guest has chosen a place, he or she contacts the host, and they communicate about details, all via Roomorama. The guest then books the apartment and pays upfront, andboth the guest and the host are given a payment codea payment code is received by the guest upon payment. [CORRECTED Sept. 12]. When the guest arrives at the apartment on the scheduled date, he or she gives the host the code (this way they each know the other is legit), the host logs onto the site and plugs it in, and the money is transferred to the host. (Sounds complicated, but trust me, it’s simple.)
I did a search for a weekend in October and found 17 apartments that all cost less than $200 (some were even less than $100). I did the same search on Hotwire, which usually has lots of budget listings. Not counting hotels near the airport (because really, who wants to stay near the airport?), I found three under $200. And I’m not that picky about hotels, but even I felt a little sketched out by these three places.
Of course, staying in someone’s home means you won’t come home to fresh towels and chocolates on your pillow every night. But as long as you’re OK with that, going this route can save you a lot of money.
The site has been up in New York for about two months, and Jia En Teo, one of Roomorama’s three co-founders, says the company plans to expand to Chicago in time for the marathon (October 12), and to Boston and Toronto soon.
Share a cab ride from the airport in NYC via Hitchsters.com