Travel Cheap Tips #2: Be a Host on Airbnb or VRBO

There are two sides to every story. If someone can share their space with you on Airbnb or VRBO, the odds are that you can host on Airbnb or VRBO yourself. Do you have some extra space—or are you willing to lend out your entire home? If so, then you can make hefty contributions to your Travel Fund.

Here are some important things to consider if you do decide to host on Airbnb or VRBO.

Think about where you live. If it’s the highlight of travel books, it’s a no brainer. If not, think harder. Is there a university near by? If so, there will be a flood of family at the start of classes, holidays, graduation, and possibly during football or basketball season. Is there a popular annual event or festival in your area? If so, there may be a fair amount of visitors looking for a clean and affordable place to stay. Are there local industries or companies that bring business travelers your way? If so, people really appreciate some home away from home.

Think about your living situation. If you’re the proud owner of a detached single family home that you can paint any color you please, you’re in the best position. If you answer to a landlord or homeowner’s association, they’re going to be unenthusiastic at best…if they know about your dastardly plan. As an avid rule follower, I thoroughly understand the immediate impulse to ditch this plan if the latter is your fate. However, it’s definitely worth investigating and considering. I am NOT advocating criminal behavior—just suggesting you check out your lease and/or the association bylaws, get a read on the real life people or entities involved, assess any potential consequences, then make an educated decision that you can live with.

Think about the space you’ll rent out. You don’t have any, you say? Not so fast. Do you have a reasonably comfy couch? A cool space to hang a hammock? A travel trailer parked outside? A pleasant place to pitch a tent? An under-utilized extra room [or very large closet] just begging for a makeover? Or, maybe you’re willing to pack up and stay with a friend, lover, or family member—even a cheapie local hotel—while someone borrows your whole house. Before my divorce, I lived in an exclusive tourist area where visitors clamored to pay me thousands and I was happy to stay in a 3 star hotel for a change of pace.

I recently told my sister about being an Airbnb host. She and her guy live on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, not far from Penn State. They decided to give it a try and listed a couple of extra rooms. Today, they have four active listings and total earnings of about $1,200 per month. Bon voyage, Sista!

Be sure and check out my other tips for traveling cheap—The Wandering Ex-Housewife’s Travel Cheap Tips!