Quirky Travel Guy does Roomorama

los angeles palm trees

I know I’m late to the Roomorama bandwagon, but I finally had a chance to use the service on a recent visit to Los Angeles, and since the company offered a room credit in exchange for a review, I was eager to become a Roomorama guest for the first time and share the details.

Roomorama is a worldwide service in which residents or property owners can rent out a spare room or even an entire house by the night. It’s like a hotel with a more personal touch. Residents set their own prices, and travelers can search through the listings on Roomorama’s website to find lodging that seems ideal for them.

To use the service, simply enter the dates you want to travel and your destination, and a list of available properties pops up. Pick one that most interests you, send an inquiry, and if it’s accepted by the property owner, submit your payment online and you’re all booked.

roomorama search

You can view the results in list form or on a map. The latter option really helped me because I wanted to stay near a specific bus line, and the map allowed me to easily see which properties fit that criteria.

Roomorama also has a ShoutOut feature, which is a great idea. Basically, you post a message saying, “Hi, I’m going to be in L.A. for two days and I’m looking for a place near Silver Lake!” Then you sit back and wait for the property owners to start messaging you. This allows you to feel instantly popular as you watch the messages flow into your inbox. It’s also beneficial because you may get inquiries for houses that you overlooked during your initial search.

I got several responses to my ShoutOut and ended up choosing a room in Silver Lake, an L.A. hipster haven with lots of great restaurants and nightlife. The house was in a walkable neighborhood with nice houses, palm trees and citrus trees.

los angeles street

Though I arrived late on check-in day due to Los Angeles public transportation letting me down, my host was able to meet me, show me around the house, provide a set of keys and offer tips about where to go in the neighborhood.

The room was huge, with a private bathroom and fridge and plenty of privacy. The hosts were friendly, and so were the other Roomorama guests staying in the next bedroom. The overall experience was great.

Roomorama service review

There were no hotels in the immediate vicinity of where I stayed, so when it came to finding a place in this part of town, I didn’t have many options. That’s a big advantage to using Roomorama while traveling – you’re not limited to the areas that have hotels.

You’re also able to choose a property that works for whatever your budget happens to be. The site presented me with a number of options in Los Angeles, including a really tempting house in the Hollywood Hills with a pool and huge yard available for less than $200 per night. I was sooo tempted to stay there and live like a celebrity for a day! Ultimately, I decided to go with something more in my usual price range and in a more walkable neighborhood, so I stuck with my first choice instead.

One tricky thing about choosing a place to stay is that many hosts tack on additional charges (cleaning fee, security deposit, etc.) that don’t show up in the base fee. So you may see a room costing $60 per night that ends up showing up as $85 when you go to finalize the reservation. That’s not a dealbreaker, but it means a little more diligence is required when scanning the properties. Also, the site doesn’t have a ton of listings in the U.S. outside the major cities, but that should improve as people continue to hear about the service and come onboard.

As a budget traveler who wants as many options as possible when it comes to lodging price and location, I think Roomorama fills a great niche and I will certainly use the service again to find an affordable place while traveling.

Have you tried Roomorama?

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

6 comments on “Quirky Travel Guy does Roomorama

  1. I haven’t tried Roomorama yet, but I’ve seen the bandwagon pass through the travel blogsphere and I, too, like having additional budget options. Love that you’re using public transportation in LA! That was my plan too – before some people offered to drive me as we travel together. Ended up using the subway twice (once per direction) and loved it. Next time, there’ll be more!
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..70 Fantastic Tips and Stories for Your Ultimate Winter Wonderland Travel Joy

  2. I haven’t used Roomorama, but I like these sorts of lodging options. You’re able to get a better feel for real neighborhoods and live like a local. The types of places you find on the house sharing sites do have lots more character and are more comfortable. They have a “lived in” feel. I’m glad you found something in your price range – and you can save up for the splurge!
    Michaela recently posted..The 7 Deadly Sins of Travel (And How to Redeem Yourself)

    • Good point Michaela – I do love the living local aspect that this offers. It’s great to have that option when you’re in a new city. That’s one of the reasons I like hosting people here in Chicago, to be able to offer that to others.

  3. Roomorama and airbnb, I feel, are a good idea for places like LA. Usually, the only brand name hotels are in Hollywood, perhaps some in Santa Monica, DTLA and the airport. But, you can get some really cool HOUSES in all these places for less. One of these days, LA will realize it can be a great international destination and we’ll get a functioning metro (blah blah blah). But until then, house rental will prevail. =)

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