Airbnb Bookings in Ukraine
All over the world, people are making Airbnb bookings in Ukraine with no intention of visiting. Instead, the purpose of these bookings is to send Ukrainians direct aid through their Airbnb hostings. It is a social media campaign that took flight at the beginning of March 2022 as one way to help Ukrainians during the war and has proven helpful and effective.

Social Media Account Quentin Quarantino

This campaign first came to be through social media user Tommy Marcus who posts as Quentin Quarantino, a popular meme account known on Instagram as @quentin.quarantino and as @quentquarantino on Twitter. Marcus created a post on March 2, 2022, urging his followers to help Ukrainians by making Airbnb reservations for stays in Ukrainian cities.

The campaign quickly took flight as many people wanted to help Ukrainians but felt uncertain about donating through charities and nonprofit organizations. People feared that the money donated to these organizations could potentially take too long to reach Ukrainians and many were dubious about how much of that money would actually go to Ukrainians. So, when Marcus suggested an alternative option, many rushed to join the social media campaign.

In the first 24 hours, hundreds of global citizens had made Airbnb bookings in Ukraine “as a way to send immediate assistance to people in hard-hit areas.” Additionally, with those numbers rising rapidly, the social media campaign soon caught the attention of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, who retweeted @quentquarantino’s message with the comment: “People are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine they don’t intend to stay in just to help Hosts.”

Chesky’s retweet received replies both supporting the social media campaign and questioning Airbnb’s involvement. When others questioned whether Airbnb was making a profit from these donations, Chesky replied that the company was not doing so. Meanwhile, when they asked him whether Airbnb would waive fees, he replied with a simple yet firm “Yes.”

How Airbnb Bookings in Ukraine Work

This is a very accessible and effective way to send money directly to Ukrainian citizens. All one needs to do is create an account at, search for stays in Ukrainian cities and book a reservation. Supporters suggest that people make bookings “as close to a check-in date as possible to ensure hosts receive fees quickly” because Airbnb “typically issues a payout about 24 hours after a guest checks in.”

Supporters also urge people to make reservations at accommodations “operated by individuals and not companies” as it is the individuals who will likely be in a more immediate need of support. The process is very simple and it is also relatively affordable for most supporters. For example, a search on for stays in Kyiv, Ukraine, for a weekend in April 2022 for one guest will provide “300+ stays” ranging between $20 and $260 for the weekend.

Some of these rates, especially on the lower end of the range, are discounted rates that go as low as $10-$20 per night. The average rate will be $25-$100 per night and the more costly rates will be $110-$130 per night. These wide-ranging rates make reservations a great way for most people to donate to Ukrainians amid the war.

Ukrainian Airbnb Hosts Comment

Media outlets have interviewed several of these Ukrainian Airbnb hosts since the social media campaign began. On March 4, 2022, Volodymyr Bondarenko told CNN that “More than 10 bookings came in today. This was surprising, it’s very supportive at the moment. I told many of my relatives and friends that I plan to use this money to help our people who need it at this time.”

Another host, Ekaterina Martiusheva, spoke to NPR on March 5, 2022, saying the bookings mean a lot to her because “[these days many Ukrainian citizens] do not have any income” and that, unfortunately, Ukrainians “do not have any right to ask [their] country to help [them] because all the country’s resources are for the war and for the victory.” Martiusheva later added: “It’s not just money, it’s the support and encouragement. We get these notes of people who are calling us brave and it does feel great. It’s just amazing, really.”

The Impact

This fast-paced social media campaign has made a great impact in the few weeks since it began. In the first 24 hours, hundreds of global citizens made bookings to lend their support. Forty-eight hours after its start, on March 4, 2022, Airbnb CEO Chesky tweeted saying users booked 61,406 nights in Ukraine, equating to $1.9 million for the hosts.

One week after the campaign’s start, on March 11, 2022, Chesky reported that users booked 434,000 nights and $15 million had reached Ukrainian hosts. Additionally, these numbers have become exponentially larger as the campaign continues. As for Airbnb’s involvement, the company announced on March 4, 2022, that it would waive all fees for “in-country bookings” in Ukraine and Chesky emphasized that the company “will not profit from these charitable bookings.”

More so,, a charity arm of Airbnb, announced on March 31, 2022, that it would be providing cost-free short-term housing to Ukrainian refugees, adding to the worldwide support and aid provided to Ukrainians. Overall, Ukraine notes an “overwhelming response” from supporters and donors helping Ukrainians. Thanks to this social media campaign, thousands of Ukrainians are receiving immediate aid from worldwide supporters amid the war.

– Marcela Agreda L.
Photo: Flickr

afghan refugeesThe recent resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan has sparked fear in Afghan citizens, resulting in large numbers of Afghans fleeing Afghanistan to seek refuge in other countries. Some countries have welcomed Afghan refugees with open arms, but others simply do not have the capacity to host large groups of refugees. As many countries around the world scurry to help Afghan refugees find shelter, Airbnb has stepped up to help. “The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S. and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel a responsibility to step up,” says Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky.

Airbnb to the Rescue

On August 24, 2021, Airbnb announced the offering of “free temporary housing” for roughly 20,000 Afghan refugees across the globe. Two days after, on August 26, the company added that any ordinary individual, not just the company’s “hosts,” can offer temporary housing through its services. This may potentially open up substantially more temporary housing options. For Afghan refugees, this offer of temporary shelter could bring some stability amid a crisis. For world governments, temporary housing could be key to avoiding a repeat of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Airbnb’s plan comes through its Open Homes platform, a tool created by the company in 2017 after former President Trump’s administration implemented a travel ban on several predominantly Muslim nations, including war-torn and heavily displaced Syria. At the time, countries such as Germany were grappling with a surge of refugees from Syria. Airbnb’s plan in 2017 looked to “provide short-term housing over the next five years for 100,000 people in need.” The company is building on that promise through the Open Homes platform.

How the Open Homes Platform Works

The purpose of Open Homes is to “Give people a place to call home in times of crisis.” Open Homes serves as a middle ground for refugees from Afghanistan and other conflicted nations to create a plan for more permanent housing. Airbnb’s platform works as a tool for hosts to open their homes to screened and approved guests including refugees. According to the company’s website, hosts receive a guide on the process of listing their home as a temporary residence.

The process is similar to Airbnb’s staple rental service. However, Airbnb’s announcement on August 26 made it clear that more than established hosts can use the platform to help. The platform relies on donations to cover the costs of temporary housing. Donations can be made by anyone willing to help cover the costs of refugee stays. For Afghan refugees, the platform is established and tested and may serve as an important tool in navigating the crisis.

The Importance of Temporary Housing

By definition, a refugee is an individual that cannot return to their home country due to reasons that jeopardize their safety and well-being. As the Afghan refugee crisis begins, there is precedent that can serve as guidance for how the U.S. can address this humanitarian issue. From past refugee crises, humanitarian groups find that shelter is one of the most important aspects of addressing the issue. Without a place to call home, refugees are denied the basic rights to adequate shelter and safety.

Temporary housing provides safety while refugees find more stable living situations. An influx of refugees with no place to go places greater strain on governmental agencies. This also potentially means more taxpayer money would go toward temporary housing subsidies and the governmental mediation of desperate refugees. Private options such as Open Homes can supplement the burden that the government and taxpayers struggle to fill.

According to the nonprofit Refugees Welcome!, asylum seekers lack “access to housing, food stamps or other benefits afforded to documented immigrants or citizens.” For people forcibly displaced by conflict such as current Afghan refugees, programs such as Open Homes provide a solution to the lack of safe and proper shelter for influxes of refugees. Open Homes may be the only viable option for families forced out of a nation.

To help address the Afghan refugee crisis, Airbnb’s Open Homes platform provides a commendable solution. Even an ordinary individual can get involved in this initiative, providing hope to vulnerable people with no place to call home.

– Harrison Vogt
Photo: Flickr

Is America Actually Poor?
The answer to the question depends on who you ask. Almost 50 million Americans fall below the poverty line while close to another 100 million are considered “low income.” The gap between rich and poor in America is widening; while many Americans are struggling, CEO and executive pay apparently jumped significantly.

Moira Herbst for The Guardian reports that U.S. GDP figures are down almost 2% in 2013 and says that it’s an issue of demand: people just don’t have enough money to pay for stuff. Low-to-minimum wage positions are being added amid cuts of high-priority, private and government sector positions. Unemployment nationally is at almost 8%.

Despite the economic upheaval in the U.S., those who are poor still enjoy a higher standard of living compared to their counterparts in the developing world. Surprisingly, the bottom 10% in America are better off financially than many people who would be considered wealthy in India.

– David Smith 

Sources: Politico, RT, The Guardian, New York Times, Forbes
Photo: Toonari Post