Although for many decades travelers have been welcomed into the homes of relatives and friends and offered the couch as a cheap place to stay, it was not until this decade that this tried and true option was revolutionized by the internet.  With the advent of Craigslist, Airbnb, and similar sites, almost anyone and everyone is offering up couches, spare bedrooms and even entire homes for rent as a hotel alternative.  While the notion of renting a room in a friendly owner’s home may at first glance seem appealing economically, there are a few words of caution to be offered before you jump in head first.
Renting such accommodations pose risks to both pocketbook and safety.  Here is why.

Hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns are almost universally regulated by local governmental authorities.  Local statutes provide for minimum safety and health requirements. Establishments must has work smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, operating fire extinguishers, emergency exit lighting, and posted fire exit plans.  I operate a B&B here in Chicago and can personally attest to the fact that each year we get a thorough inspection by the fire department, by the department of buildings, and by the department of health.  If we don’t take appropriate measures to protect the safety and health of our guests, we do not get to operate.

Now compare those protections to what you get when you rent a night on a stranger's couch. Has that stranger devoted the same concern and resources to your safety and health? Do you know what you would do in a fire? How would you get out? Is there anyone on-site that can help you in an emergency? Is the location, building and apartment you are renting safe? Remember, you are staying in an unfamiliar city in an unconventional alternative to a hotel, motel or B&B.  Ask yourself if the potential savings is truly worth the additional risks posed.

You should also be extremely alert for the potential financial pitfalls of renting such accommodations. If you send money to a stranger you found on the internet, is there going to actually be a place for you to stay when you arrive? Sites such as Craigslist are fertile ground for scam artists of all types. They will often go to great lengths to make their scams appear legitimate with wonderful photos of fantastic abodes near all the sites and available just when you are looking to travel and at unbelievable prices. Beware, they are often adept at making you part with your money. Check out the business and ask for references. Legitimate places to stay in most cities like Chicago has a website, a Facebook page, are on Google+, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Determine how you will get a refund if all is not as promised. Because of recent scams and problems with unregulated vacation rentals, many jurisdictions have adopted new local laws that require registration and licensing. Check the locale you intend to visit and check with the local tourism bureau or visitors center for further information.

Traveling to a new city is always an adventure.  Make it a pleasurable, memorable one by heeding these few words of caution.
 


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House 5863 Bed & Breakfast

Looking for a great place to stay in Chicago? Consider House 5863 Chicago Bed & Breakfast. House 5863 is not your typical B&B inn. We are different. Here you will find no Victorian decor or rockers on a scenic porch. Rather, we are an urban, hip place to stay in the heart of Chicago's north side. Our style is contemporary comfort. Our rooms are clean, cool and most of all restive. Our approach is more hands off than hands on. We focus on providing for all of your needs behind the scenes without disrupting your stay. Common areas are designed for casual living. The fully-equipped kitchen offers continental style breakfast with all the basics to allow you to serve yourself on your own schedule and at your own pace. Our garden and deck areas offer a quiet respite for relaxed joy. Be sure to take our virtual tour to see for yourself what our guest house has to offer. Then join us at House 5863 for your next visit to Chicago and we are sure that you will enjoy your stay. House 5863 is a City of Chicago licensed bed & breakfast establishment. This means we have undergone a rigorous building and license process including annual building inspections, health department inspection and fire department inspection. BE CAREFUL when booking reservations at establishments that are not licensed such as those offered by AirBNB and on Craigslist - you have no guarantee that the property is as described or that the room will be available when you arrive. More importantly, you do not know if the property is safe. Is staying in a safe hotel important to you?
5863 N Glenwood Chicago, Illinois
Phone: 773-682-5217
without description
House 5863 Bed & Breakfast
5863 N Glenwood Chicago, Illinois 60660
Phone: 773-682-5217