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With more than 1.5 million listings in some 34,000 cities worldwide, Airbnb has become the most popular alternative to staying in a hotel for travelers around the globe. The fact that it's usually cheaper than a traditional hotel doesn't hurt, but meeting a great host can be an invaluable part of your journey.
As a solo traveler, I’ve spent months at a time shacking up in Airbnbs from Santa Barbara to Berlin. The experience has allowed me to discover incredible, less-touristy areas — plus, sharing someone’s home helps me feel like a local. I’ve resided with countless kind hosts who’ve helped schlep my overpacked suitcase up their stairs, shared local insights, translated foreign languages, and gone above and beyond to make sure my trip was unforgettable.
But, with so many to choose from, finding the perfect Airbnb can be overwhelming. Start by picking your destination, then follow this step-by-step advice to select the best home for your stay.