It’s the holiday season now, and as such our brains are becoming mush from all of the shopping ads—you need this, I want that, blah, blah, blah. We all have a case of oniomania. You remember back when it was like, cool to spend time with your family and stuff? Yeah, we do too. As it turns out, finding the time (and a place) for family is getting harder and harder every day. People are getting around more, moving all over, and experiencing life as they see fit. Often, this leads to forgetting about the people that got you to that point in your life. Wouldn’t it be nice to show them some love every now and again, or be able to say hi to relatives you haven’t seen in awhile, or perhaps never have met? We think so. Don’t you wish there was a way that maybe you, say living in Spokane, WA, could visit your family on the East Coast, without breaking the bank or staying with them? (Because, let’s be honest, we all want our privacy).
Rejoice our friends, we have splendiferous news for you: there is. So with that in mind, let’s talk a little about one of our favorite things: Airbnb.
Have you ever heard of this rapid-growing app and community? If not, we’ll introduce you.
Earlier this year, while I (Britt) was working down in Orlando (where our Disney fans at?), someone told me of an app called Airbnb. I didn’t look into it, until we crossed paths again while searching for hostels to stay at in Europe. So, being the person I am, I quickly downloaded this foreign application.
Who knew that a random app could change lives. Specifically, ours.
After sifting through some of the app and figuring out just what it was (not that the name implies anything, you know), I shared it with Caleb and he, being, ya know, a human being, downloaded it.
Later that day, our one (and only) pull out couch in our studio was listed for $18 a night.
Yes, you read that right: a whopping 18 bucks got you a third-class stay in our cozy little abode.
Already, we know what you’re thinking, something to the tune of, “Dang, it’d be nice to stay somewhere for $18 a night!” Or for the business moguls out there, “Wow. I have a spare room, I wonder what we could charge for it…?”
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
Thus, let’s rewind a bit.
For those of you unfamiliar with this app (re: most of you), go download it (for free!) lickety-split. Essentially, all that Airbnb is is a way to find a place to stay anywhere in the world, or rent out a place you own. It’s that simple.
Now, the real pleasure comes from finding a place to stay. Believe us when we say that nothing is left out from places to choose. Want to stay in a castle? Fine. Enjoy the frozen tundra from inside an ice cave? Sure. Maybe a small Gypsy wagon is more your style. Done. Or maybe you’re just fine with a pull out couch. Whatever type of place you’re looking for, you can find, pretty much anywhere in the world. Have we said it enough? Anywhere in the world. Wherever someone has a bed (or something similar) to sleep on, you can find it and rent it out.
So now you’re interested. We know you are. How could you not be? To put it plainly, this all sounds awesome. So awesome, in fact, that now you’re thinking about maybe cleaning your house up to take pictures for your listing.
The hosting aspect is what we’ve primarily focused on this past year with Airbnb. Ironically, we’ve only used it to stay with someone on two occasions; we have had countless people stay with us though. That’s why Airbnb really shines: you’re constantly, whether by traveling or hosting, meeting and exchanging with new people, from all over. Which should sound appealing. Caleb’s grandparents thought so, and became hosts a few months ago!
To make it even better, this is completely safe. To host, or to stay, users need a profile where they need to put all of their information and verify their ID in as many ways as possible (Facebook, drivers license, ect.). Also, as a host, you have complete control of how you want your listing set up. For example, since our listing is in our shared apartment (no longer a studio, thankfully) we have our set up so we can approve or deny people before they can stay with us. This has come in handy since there have been a few questionable people. Hosts are also covered with $100,000 in insurance whenever someone stays just in case!
Best of all, just by letting someone sleep on our couch we are able to make some extra side money for our own adventures. When saving for a big trip, every little bit adds up. Did we mention our listing in our new one bedroom apartment is at $29!?
We love it, and we can’t wait to use it more as travelers. We have even decided to use Airbnb instead of hostels for our trip to Europe. For us, finding a place to stay (some even ENTIRE houses) for around $40 a night sounds better than paying that much or more to pay for two beds in a dorm-style hostel. We think hostels are a great option if you are traveling alone. But if you are a couple or group traveling together, from what we have found Airbnb is going to be the most budget-friendly. Or, I mean if you are going to pay $200 a night for a hotel, at least get yourself a castle!
Have you used Airbnb yet?
We would love to hear some of your thoughts or questions!