I’ll be going to visit a friend in New York for her birthday next month, but her place is so tiny it is barely big enough for her, much less me (and I’m not that big!). Even though I am originally from New York, I haven’t been back in nearly 20 years, so I have been looking for somewhere to stay in one of the cities that is know for high rents and small spaces.

Although I would love to stay at the Grande Dame of New York Hotels, the Waldolf-Astoria, I don’t want to spend $1000 for 2 nights, after all it is a trip for her birthday, not mine. So I started doing some research on alternatives and I found AirBnB, an online service which lists private or semi-private places to rent from owners. It’s an alternative to the much bigger VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) site, but it has some amazing places and prices that make it worth browsing.

Air BnB has filters for whether you are willing to share the abode with the owner, or if you want a place to yourself, your price parameters (high/low), type of bed (some places have airbeds not real beds, hence the name of the site), WiFi, smoking, reviews, and whether or not you get an actual breakfast along with your bed. I found a room on Central Park West for $50 that shares a bathroom with the owner, or a 1 bedroom apartment all to yourself in the same neighborhood for $100 a night. Other popular areas have similar choices, like a room in a shared apartment in Chelsea for $98 with a doorman, laundry facilities, and unlimited telephone calls to US numbers, or get an entire 1 bedroom brownstone on the Upper West side next to Central Park for $200.

As much as I love getting room service, I would prefer getting an entire 1 bedroom brownstone to myself on the Upper West side priced at less than half the cost of the Waldorf and with more than twice the space. I love win-win options!