a street with many buildings

There’s war in Ukraine, and one that no one asked for. Russia is mercilessly pillaging cities without cause and innocent men, women and children are dying in the process.

For those lucky enough to still be alive, the situation is grim. It’s not easy to access key conveniences and jobs are on pause, as many hunker down to stay safe. Who knows what will remain, whenever the firing stops.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve undoubtedly felt somewhat helpless lately as you watch on too. There’s so much wrong and so much need for support and seemingly, so few ways to instantly make an impact.

A friend was kind enough to point out a movement to me on Instagram, and it sunk in immediately as one of the most wonderful ways to help right now. Surprisingly, it’s Airbnb, and the idea of booking places you have no intention of staying in.

It’s one of the few ways to get money directly into the pockets of innocent Ukrainian people right now.

a street with many colorful buildings

Book Airbnb In Ukraine

Instagram, for all its faults, can be a wonderful place to share positive social news.

A prominent account came up with the notion of booking Airbnb’s in Kyiv and other cities, even including those being shelled right now, because it’s not actually about the travel, but the economic benefit for people when you book.

I’ll admit, I was very skeptical at first, but after seeing the responses shared by hosts who started seeing overwhelming bookings coming in — my heart melted. It’s powerful and emotional stuff. Just swipe right on the post to read the tiles.

Airbnb is still online in Ukraine, and seeing the success of this campaign, the advice is to look at the worst impacted cities and book Airbnb’s there on any available dates.

Of course, look for established listings which existed before the pandemic where possible, to ensure foul play isn’t involved, but have at it. And vitally, make sure to let the host know you won’t be needing the place, so they can offer shelter or refuge to someone who might need it during your dates.

Many hosts are reaching out to say that even though they know people are booking not to stay, but just to help and show humanity, that they’ll be welcomed guests in the future. That’s not why you should book, but it shows how appreciated this is right now.

If you are an Airbnb host in a city near the border or in a European city where refugees are fleeing — and don’t want to book an Airbnb — it would be really wonderful if you’d consider housing Ukrainian refugees in your Airbnb.

If you can, treat this money or service as a donation to good people who have had their lives upended brutally and unfairly by an evil dictator. The funds may help them rebuild their Airbnb, or gain access to food or transportation out of a war zone.

Don’t expect anything in return, and be sure to wish your “host” all the best. You may never meet them, but if you do, there’s no question it’ll be one of the most powerful connections you ever make.

The people of Ukraine need every ounce of help they can get right now, and if there was ever a way to use up travel credits from the pandemic, or just be a kind person, this is a pretty great way of doing so.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Sooo line the pockets of a global multi billion brand to help the people of Ukraine.

    IF AirBnB was donating it’s fees and cut then maybe I’d be onboard but I’ve no desire to have a cut of my money go to an organisation that far from needs the sizeable chunk it’ll make put of this.

    I get the “your helping a person directly” part but these are people who whilst suffering as well at least are affluent enough to own a 2nd property so will likely have more financial stability than those at the bottom of the ladder.

    You can just go to the Ukrainian Embassy website wherever you live and donate there. 100% of your money then goes to those in need not 65%.

    Both visa and MasterCard have also waived fees globally if you want to send it directly to the Ukrainian Appeal site run by the government meaning again 100% and no foreign currency transaction fees.

    A sceptical person would go looking to see where this started from and any links anywhere but I’d rather not and at least believe that it’s a genuine concept. Just one that’s flawed in that your cash is being shared with a global player.

  2. Airbnb are NOT charging fees, so, 100% goes to family/host. I will book a room within a family home, then at least it’s not a 2nd home or a block run for Airbnb only. It’s one one of many nice ideas, so don’t knock it. Hope they can still access their bank accounts tho!
    And yes, people from all over the world are helping in their own way.
    Let’s hope this madman is reigned in sooner than later.

  3. I don’t get it. You give money to probably the most fortunate people in Ukraine who were flat owners ? At least do your homework and give to a charity that helps people that really in needs of food and medicine!

    1. Hi “John”, so in case you hadn’t heard of Airbnb before, it’s a “sharing” platform. Some people would rent out their rented apartment to others if it made sense; others had an extra bedroom that could help them make rent, and yes, some actually own places and rent them. It’s an amazing thing.

      So even more amazing — you’re just seeing this all wrong. You don’t need to be rich to list an Airbnb. Many people on lower income spectrums list on Airbnb, a room, a shed, whatever, just to make their economics meet. Dream big dreams, as Buster Moon says.

      1. You didn’t get my message. Shops are getting empty, people need food they need a lot of various medication as well. Giving money is nice but they can’t buy much. So I’m saying: instead of following this trend, find out how you can help medication clothes and food being brought to them. Many organisations are doing this around the world at the moment .

        1. Why can’t you do both. Why is it only one or the other? People should do everything they can. This approach happens to fit in into the travel purview, which allows me to use my very large platform to spread help in a way I know and understand. Read the responses people are getting from hosts. Says it all.

  4. I think that scammers would jump on this… Creating fake AirBnb accounts with fake places.
    Probably best to find an alternative way.

    1. I’m tired of this one, so I’ll just refer you to a very clear part of the text in the article.

      “Of course, look for established listings which existed before the pandemic where possible, to ensure foul play isn’t involved, but have at it. And vitally, make sure to let the host know you won’t be needing the place, so they can offer shelter or refuge to someone who might need it during your dates.”

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