An alternative accommodation option.

Have you ever rented a holiday property through a friend of a friend and found that this personal contact made your stay just that little bit easier, more special and saved you money too? Well now there’s a new website which takes this idea one step further. www.airbnb.com describes itself as a ‘community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique spaces around the world online’.

Basically the site puts those looking for somewhere to stay in contact with those who have a room to spare, or a flat or house to rent. The website already offers over 100,000 listings in 186 countries, with 2000 in New York and over 900 in London, Paris and Barcelona.

Chosen as ‘website of the week’ by the Daily Mail, with top ratings, the site is user-friendly with good search options that allow you to fine tune your search by neighbourhood, size and type of accommodation and facilities. There are numerous photos and lots of information about the accommodation and its owners along with impartial reviews posted by previous guests. Security is taken seriously and addresses verified.

And of course the accommodation can be much cheaper than a hotel. For example, stay in a stylish room in a smart part of New York for just £54 a night compared to £150 in a comparable hotel room. That’s a massive saving! Keep in mind though, that prices listed exclude Airbnb's service fee, which is around 10 per cent of the cost.

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