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Washingtonians Charge for Airbeds for the Inauguration

The new travel Web site lists futons, couches, and more for inauguration visitors.

Here’s a neat solution for the cash-strapped (or desperate) inauguration visitor: The site launched its Inauguration Housing Guide this morning with more than 200 Washington-area listings offering airbeds, couches, futons, and rooms for out-of-towners needing somewhere to crash.

Users searching the Web site can see their options plotted on a map of Washington and can sort results by cheapest or most expensive accommodations. People posting ads have the option to include photos of themselves and their space, and many include details such as the number of people they can accommodate, whether breakfast is included, wi-fi availability, and smoking preferences. When we searched the site, the most wallet-friendly option we found was a couch in Silver Spring for $10.

For Washingtonians looking to list their couch or futon, the site is free to use. Worried about not getting paid? Don’t—this site accepts payments with credit cards and Paypal, so you don’t have to.

Though we like Airbed & Breakfast better than Craigslist—it's more user-friendly and spam-free—here are the downsides: For renters, a 5-to-12-percent service fee is tacked on to the total cost of your stay; when we checked on a two-night stay at $200 a night, the total cost was $440—a 10-percent markup.

Renters should be warned that they’ll be charged a small credit-card processing fee after someone books their space. And renters don’t get paid upfront—Airbed & Breakfast holds the guests’ payment until after the stay is complete, in case they cancel or have other cause for a refund.

>> All Inauguration 2009 coverage

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