At Berlin’s main train station, people line up to offer Ukrainian refugees a place to stay.

Maya Hittite / Getty Images

This story is part of War in UkraineCNET’s coverage of events there and the wider effects on the world.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues affect more Ukrainians, some American companies think outside the box with non-traditional methods of support. In addition to direct cash contributions to Ukraine and the severance of economic ties with Russia, the companies also provide free shelter and transportation, along with other unique services that benefit Ukrainians.

This week, Airbnb ads provided free housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. The company has also launched a special service that allows consumers to offer housing for Ukrainian refugees or donate directly.

Airbnb users are also getting creative. Many have booked a stay in Ukraine – with no intention of actually leaving – to transfer money quickly to needy residents. According to Airbnb spokesman Haven Thorne, more than 61,000 users booked a stay in Ukraine on March 2 and 3, contributing more than $ 2 million to homeowners there.

Other US companies are also offering non-traditional support to Ukraine. To help those fleeing violence, Tesla allows owners of any model of electric vehicle to use it. Charging stations near the border with Ukraine in Hungary and Poland. Founder Elon Musk has also activated StarlinkSpaceX satellite Internet service to ensure reliable Internet access for Ukrainians.

T-Mobile, Verizon and several other telephone operators have reduced or abolished call charges to Ukraine, some of which include local calls made in the country.

Here are some of the companies offering services to Ukrainians in need, and ways you can help support their efforts.

Airbnb opens “virtual” reservations

Alone, some Airbnb users book rentals in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine – not to visit, but to quickly provide locals with much-needed financial assistance.

On Thursday, the British event organizer Mario DiMaggio tweets that he and his wife had booked a week at the Airbnb residence in Kyiv “simply as a means of obtaining money directly in the hands of the people of Kyiv.”

“Of course we will not visit,” he told the host in a written exchange. “It’s just so you can get some money. We wish we could do more to help you and the people of Kyiv.”

Another Twitter user wrote that he shared the idea of ​​virtual reservations in Ukraine and “24 hours later 100 people book AirBnB in Ukraine as a way to send immediate financial aid to people in severely affected areas”.

According to the Airbnb website, there are more than 300 households in Ukraine – most in Kyiv, with some in Lviv and Odessa. Almost all are rented for less than $ 50 (US) per night.

Although the program is not operated by Airbnb, the company waives all fees for guests and hosts in Ukraine.

“We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community in this time of crisis,” an Airbnb spokesman told CNET.

Travel expert Simon Calder has warned that a well-meaning campaign could attract fraudsters.

“If I were a Russian fraud, I would create fake Airbnbs in Kyiv and Odessa as soon as possible to cash in on these noble intentions,” Calder said. tweets.

Separately, if you have a vacant room or apartment, you can offer a bed and basic amenities to Ukrainian refugees for a few days to a few weeks, free of charge or at a discount.

“The biggest need we have is more people who can offer their homes in nearby countries – including Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania,” Airbnb CEO Brian Cesky said in a statement.

The nonprofit wing of the room rental company,, has partnered with nonprofit refugee screening organizations and also offers $ 1 million in liability insurance, $ 1 million in damages and other services.

People who are interested in opening their home can get more details on the website.

Uber offers free travel

In the United States, people can use the Uber app to make direct donations to the International Rescue Committee, which Uber estimates will amount to up to $ 1 million.

To help refugees fleeing the conflict, the transportation app offers unlimited free travel from the Ukrainian-Polish border to the cities of Lublin in central Poland and Rzeszow in the southeast. Uber users in Hrebenne, Dolhobyczow and other Polish border towns can enter special codes to receive a free trip to or from the checkpoints.

The company also offers free transport for staff at migrant reception centers and for the delivery of donated goods to various warehouses throughout Poland.

Although it temporarily suspended services across Ukraine when the invasion began, Uber says it appreciates the sharing of city-by-city travel and offers advance payments to drivers in the war-torn country.

In a statement, Uber said it was also working to enable Ukrainian refugees to become Uber drivers “in the neighboring countries where we operate.”

Etsy cancels fees

The online craft market does not offer attractions or places to stay, but eliminates fees for sellers in Ukraine.

“Many sellers are facing huge financial difficulties as a result of the turmoil,” Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said in a statement Monday. “To alleviate some of the burden, we are canceling the current balances due to Etsy from all sellers in Ukraine, which includes registration fees, transaction fees, advertising fees and more.”

The effort, which includes Etsy Depop and Reverb, is a contribution of approximately $ 4 million, Silverman said.

Some Etsy sellers donate part of the proceeds of products on the topic of Ukraine to non-profit organizations such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.