New York City hotels are known for being pricey, but what creature comforts would you give up to score an affordable place to sleep in the city that never does? In the latest “you’ve got to see it to believe it” craze, people are renting decked-out van hotels for as little as $22 a night in NYC. Would you volunteer to sleep in a vehicle on the street—with no electricity or running water—if it meant staying in some of the city's hippest nabes on the cheap?
There are countless listings on Airbnb for van hotels. One might wonder whether there are any legal risks associated with sleeping in a vehicle parked on a city street but, apparently, it’s not against the law to do so. Perhaps that’s one reason that this new niche is becoming so popular. Visitors get a unique, albeit bare bones, experience for a fraction of the cost of a traditional hotel room, and New Yorkers lucky enough to have control of a parking space can make a little extra money on the side.
One intrepid host rents out a fleet of around 50 van-rooms parked strategically throughout the city, according to CNN. Airbnb user “Jonathan” has high ratings from his former guests who say his accommodations are “incredible” and “absolutely amazing.” His offerings come mostly in the form of vans converted into sleeping quarters, but Jonathan also offers a unique “taxi van” for an even kitschier New York experience. The bright minivan is actually a retired NYC taxi, now decked out with yellow-and-black bedding, and rents out for just $29 per night.
Another listing features a “beautiful conversion sleep van” lined with blue-velour upholstery that sleeps two. While some of the other van hotels are parked on busy city streets, this one is a real gem since it’s nestled on the waterfront in Queens. For that, you’ll have to pay a steeper fee; this one is $39 a night.
Although some people would think it insane to rent a van by the river, the Airbnb calendar shows the room-on-wheels is already mostly booked for the month of August. That’s pretty amazing for what is likely the smallest hotel room in the city.
Images via Airbnb