Austin’s biggest festival, South by Southwest, is just around the ever-closer corner. And most decent hotels in town are fully booked. The decent hotels with remaining vacancy, if there are any left, will be charging you for the luxury of staying in a hotel during SXSW. So what’s a film, interactive, and music-lover to do? Bypass the entire festival? No. I don’t think so. Instead, get creative with your search for accommodations. Here are 5 options for last minute SXSW accommodations.
AirBnB has been targeting Austin residents for a while in preparation for this event. There are still rooms available on AirBnB and, if I had to guess, you’ll have more fun staying with some insta-friends than you will holed up in a hotel room too expensive or too far out of town.
HomeAway also still remains a viable Austin SXSW option. With a focus on vacation rentals of all sorts, you’ll see more Austin area destination rentals on HomeAway, like Lake Travis, with your initial search. Dig a little deeper though and there are still some decent close-enough properties up for grabs.
CouchSurfing still exists, despite the growing number of websites offering home owners and renters actual money for sharing their living space. So don’t knock it until you try it and try it if you’re stuck. Especially if you’re stuck, broke, and believe in karma.
Craigslist and its users have secured my housing several times. Although sites like AirBnB are more user-friendly and safeguarding than Craigslist, you definitely still have a chance at securing SXSW accommodations on this always-mysterious original online bulletin board.
Friends and friends of friends. Relatives and relatives of relatives. It may seem far-fetched, but ask around. Maybe you’ve exhausted your internal lists of connections for crashing in Austin and maybe you’ve already asked everyone on Facebook. But don’t draw the line there. Ask those close to you if they know anyone trustworthy in Austin you might be able to crash with. Offer your potential hosts some money for their time and space, cleaning services, and tell them you’ll chip in on drinks and food. Top that off with a warmly-welcomed gift (Out of ideas? A bottle of wine often does the trick) and you might just have yourself a home with some not-so-strange strangers.
Finally, here’s a tip for the road: If you wind up using any of the above accommodation options for SXSW, that means you’ll be staying in someone else’s home. Do not, I repeat, do not get so drunk amid SXSW festivities that you embarrass yourself or damage property. Especially if that whole ‘believing in karma’ line above resonated with you.