To get the best deal on Airbnb rates you need to look at all the listings and compare prices.
Here is a case study of me using Airbnb
In a nutshell Airbnb basically allows people who have spare holiday apartments or their own units to list their properties on a the website which allows travellers like me who want a unique local experience or looking for a budget option to save money to book. Payment is made via the Airbnb website (they take about 10% commission) and Airbnb operates as a third party and will hold the money until 1 day after I check in. The best thing is the website is filled with previous and experiences from previous guests so I have a good idea of what to expect before I book.
I've never to Texas and managed to get cheap flights so I booked the tickets first (got a last minute deal) and started looking for apartments on Airbnb. I entered my travel dates and Adrianna & Arturo's listing popped up and was the first recommended in the search results which means Airbnb think's its a good deal and previous guests have had good experiences.
From the description they seemed like a cool couple at $35 a night it was cheap so I went ahead to book. The booking process was fairly intuitive (make sure you enter a coupon in if you have one, see above link). Airbnb sends me a nice booking summary as well. After the booking got confirmed which happens when the hosts get an email and click accept, I got a nice surprise by a personal greeting from Adrianna with a list of things to do in Texas!
I'll update this when I get back from my trip with my actual experience.
Here's another article on Airbnb in NY Times which talks about people's experience using it.
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