Do you remember growing up when your parents would talk about how much more things cost today than when they were younger? Which inevitably led into the story of how lucky you are because you didn’t have to walk to school…uphill…both ways…in 6 feet of snow. I remember rolling my eyes and asking, “So, can I have a dollar for a soda?” Now I can completely relate to what they were going through. I would say that the thing I have the hardest time with is hotel rooms. The nice hotels seem to have kept their prices from increasing as much as the less expensive ones. I have a problem paying $89–99 a night for your basic highway exit motel when I remember them being $25 a night. So, I went looking for an alternative when my friend and I wanted to stay in Atlanta for the weekend. Here’s what we found…
We ended up renting a 1 bedroom condo from a nice woman named Leslie for the weekend, and it cost us $99 a night (that’s all we paid; no taxes or fees added on). $99 a night at a traditional hotel would have gotten us a hotel room with 2 double beds and that’s it. Leslie’s place had separate sleeping areas and a full size kitchen. We were right in Buckhead, with secured parking, and access to a gym and pool. It was great and we saved a bundle.
We found this through Airbnb, a home sharing aka vacation rental website. Users post their home for rent, and you rent it out according to their terms. I like to just look around and see all the great trips I can go on or interesting homes for rent (there are a couple treehouses to rent in Atlanta, and I saw a place out West that you can rent a school bus or a Westfalia… how fun!). You save so much on hotel costs, you have a nicer place, and you’re in a community.
You may be hesitant to try something like this, because you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. Well, there are user reviews, tons of pictures, and Airbnb holds your funds until 24 hours after you check-in in case the place isn’t as described. The site has you fill out a review at the end of your stay, and your host will also be rating you as a guest. My parents have become huge fans of the app. They are in Long Island, New York as I’m writing this, for a week, staying in an Airbnb rental. They are within walking distance of the Nautical Mile, 30 minutes from Manahattan, and have a whole house to themselves for $600 a week!
You may have priced out that trip you’ve been wanting to take and the airline tickets plus the hotel just made it more than you were willing to spend, well with a resource like Airbnb, or one of their competitors, you may just be able to afford it.
It is important to recognize that many of the people posting properties on this site are not professional property managers. Many times you are renting the home that they live in, so it isn’t exactly like when you’ve rented a condo at the beach. That being said, if you are interested in renting your home, tent, or couch for some extra cash? Read part two of this article to find out how to make money on a home sharing site.