offers a money-saving alternative to book your stay when you want something more than just a hotel room.

Airbnb poses real threat to hoteliers

The service has come out of nowhere to be the dominant player in this field. The funny thing is they came to the game late, after sites like and had already established a similar niche. All three sites let owners of properties rent their condos, homes, or apartments in competition with traditional hotel rooms.

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If you need several bedrooms, prefer to have your own cooking facilities, or if you plan to stay for more than a couple nights in a destination, you'll often get a much better deal by renting an apartment, home, or condo from a private owner.

When the Pope was on his 3-city tour, in NYC alone, the nights he was in town there were 20,000 apartments for rent on Airbnb. In Philadelphia, there were 7,000 apartments for rent during his visit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

If you want to book a stay through AirBNB, look at properties that have lot of reviews. And you must have a credit card for booking because you pay AirBNB as the middle man, not the individual owner you're renting from.

Meanwhile, the popularity of AirBNB means that a cottage industry has sprung up around the service, targeting those who don't want to take on every aspect of DIY property management. The San Francisco Chronicle reports you can hire out for cleaning, check-in, listing management; free linens, towels, supplies; decor advice and more on your property.

One thing you *don't* have to hire someone to do for you and your AirBNB property is take pictures. AirBNB has professional photographers who will take a great picture of your home before you list it online -- and it's entirely free!

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Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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