Renting a hotel can be expensive. The cost can be exorbitant when it comes to the Big Apple: according to Trip Advisor, the average hotel price in Manhattan is $450 per night. The solution? Renting a van instead! I wish it were as good as it sounds. Unfortunately, the #VanLife isn't always glamorous, particularly when the van is illegally parked, lacks a bathroom and doesn't constitute a comfortable stay.
Uptin, a travel YouTuber, recently posted a video reviewing his not-so-fun adventure renting a van off AirBnb in Manhattan for $97 a night. You can see him scrolling through the Airbnb van listings in the first few minutes of the video, but all of them have now been removed from Airbnb - I checked. And while it may seem like a great experience to some, especially to those who love the great outdoors, it becomes apparent Uptin didn't have a good experience.
The main points of discomfort were as follows:
1. Illegal parking spots, which led to the renter getting a ticket (although it wasn't clear whether the rentee or the renter should pay it).
2. Street noise at night.
3. Lack of A/C.
4. Absence of a bathroom.
The last issue was a major one since any reasonable person would expect access to a toilet. Uptin was told to walk into the nearby Starbucks, McDonald's or a bar if he needed to use the bathroom. If you ask me, it's not a good solution, even for a $97 stay.
The YouTube video attracted media attention and also alerted the local police of a law violation. NYPD has since posted on Twitter confirming they got the message and all seven vans were identified and removed. Airbnb also confirmed that both the host and all his listings were banned on the platform.
I'm sure there are better ways to save on the expensive Manhattan stay. First of all, you don't have to choose Manhattan. If you ask me, a budget-friendly bedroom in Bushwick or Flatbush is a much better option, even if it comes with a 30-minute subway ride - at least it has a proper bathroom.