Need a Place to Stay for the Bar Exam? Try Airbnb!

bellA bar studier contacted me this morning concerned because all of the hotels around her bar exam location were booked up. The only remaining rooms were more than $200 a night (which, after the extreme cost of the bar exam, would make anyone squirm).  She emailed me for any other ideas. And then the thought came to me—could the sharing economy actually help bar studiers save money?

Would you consider staying at an Airbnb for your bar exam?

First, what is Airbnb? Airbnb.com was founded in August 2008 in San Francisco. Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world—online or from a mobile phone.

Basically, you can use the website to rent a place to stay—a room or an entire apartment or house—often at a much lower rate than at a hotel in the same area.

How does this compare with a hotel?

Well, you need to critically evaluate whether the Airbnb option would work for the bar exam. And make sure you are thoughtful about location and/or transportation issues too.

Also, it may not make sense to do a room share—renting a room with other folks—if you don’t know them. Although I have heard that most people have great experiences with Airbnb, you may not want to risk loud roommates or folks being up late preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. But if the situation sounds right, you may want to consider renting a single room in an apartment, which typically would be a lower financial burden than getting a place on your own.

Or perhaps you and a few friends can rent one place with multiple rooms. That would ensure the home would be bar exam friendly and maybe cheaper than each of you renting separate hotel rooms.

Hotels can be cold and often not that comfortable.

Many hotels around conference centers can be, well, less than inviting. They are often business hotels that can feel somewhat cold. Perhaps this doesn’t sound like an environment you want to stay in during your bar exam experience. Perhaps being in a home is a way to feel a bit more at ease. It is worth considering, as hotels aren’t for everyone.

Another benefit of renting an apartment is that it may be easier to cook. One of the things I believe is incredibly important during bar week is eating healthy food. Access to a kitchen is often something you have to give up when you stay at a hotel. Renting an apartment may allow you to make good food and fuel your body for bar exam success.

When it comes down to it, you need to do what is right for you. But if you are struggling with a place to stay for the bar exam, consider thinking outside the box. You may be glad you did!

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About Lee Burgess

Lee Burgess, Esq. is the co-founder of the Law School Toolbox, a resource for law students that demystifies the law school experience, the Bar Exam Toolbox, a resource for students getting ready for the bar exam and Trebuchet, a legal career resource. Lee is also the founder of Amicus Tutoring, LLC, a company she started to help students find success in law school and on the California bar exam. Lee has been adjunct faculty at two bay area law schools teaching classes on law school and bar exam preparation. You can find Lee on Twitter at @amicustutoring, @lawschooltools, @barexamtools & @trebuchetlegal.

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