This is a guest post from Kathryn Vercillo, who writes for Promotionalcodes.org.uk.
A lot of people are finding creative ways to save money on their summer travel. One of the most popular areas for saving money right now is in the cost of accommodations. Popularity has risen dramatically for hotel alternatives including home swaps, couchsurfing, camping and staying in youth hostels. These are all great methods of obtaining free or cheap lodging for your summer trip. But what about staying home instead and earning money to host those travelers that are interested in coming to you on a budget?
Benefits of Hosting Travelers in your Home
Hosting budget travelers in your home brings a number of benefits to your life. These benefits include:
- Income. The main reason that you would want to rent out a room in your home this summer would be to gain the added income.
- Meet interesting people. One of the reasons that we like to travel is that we get to explore different cultures and meet new people when we travel. You can do that while staying in your home town by offering space to rent for travelers.
- Play tourist in your hometown. You may gain a new appreciation for the place that you live when you see it through the eyes of visitors. This allows you to feel as though you’re on vacation even though you’re getting paid to stay home.
Simple Guide to Hosting Travelers in Your Home
Hosting travelers in your home is relatively simple. To get started, follow these basic steps:
- Set up a room in your home to receive guests. The room should be set up in the style of a room in a bed-and-breakfast. It should include at least one bed with fresh sheets and extra blankets. You should have towels and other basic comforts for your guests.
- Determine what a fair rate is to rent your room for a night. The goal is to receive a fair price while offering the room at a rate which is lower than the hotels around you. This allows travelers to enjoy budget travel when staying with you while you earn an income from the use of your home. Look around at local hotel rates and vacation rental rates to get a rough idea of a fair price for your rental.
- Make a list of all of the benefits that you can offer to travelers. Maybe you want to give guided tours of the area? Perhaps you have free Wi-Fi in your home. These are all perks that could allow you to charge a higher rate for the room.
- Consider whether there are any rules that you must put into place for the room. Maybe your home is a no-smoking home or perhaps you want to limit the number of days people may stay with you.
- Sign up with one of the businesses designed to link people like you with budget travelers seeking rooms. This is the safest way to go about meeting people who will pay to stay with you. Sites to choose from include iStopOver, AirBnB, Roomorama and Peer-to-Peer Travel Club. Each site has its own rules. Some sites charge a percentage of your earnings to be included on the site but none of them require any fees to list your room for rent. Some require that you have a private room for rent while others allow you to rent just couch space. Review the sites to see which one is most suitable to your needs.
- List your home for rent through the site that you have chosen. Include all of the perks and rules that you outlined above. The process for accepting payment varies by site; follow the rules on each site to start accepting visitors and receiving payment.
Tips for Earning Additional Income from Hosting Travelers
You can maximize the amount of money that you earn from hosting travelers this summer by looking for additional opportunities to make money from the experience. Ideas for such opportunities include:
- Offer necessities for sale to your guests. Hotels have everything from candy to toothbrushes available for sale and you should as well. Buy these necessities in bulk and then sell them to your guests for a slightly upgraded price that may still be cheaper than the price they’d pay at the closest store.
- Create your own souvenirs for sale. If you’re crafty then you can make pillows, tote bags, candles and other crafts with sayings or pictures from the place where you live. Display these for sale in your home and you may find that your guests would rather buy from you than from the corner souvenir store.
- Charge for additional services. You can provide your guests with a list of services you’d be happy to offer for a fee. Use of your car, tours to specific places in the city and daily cleaning services are examples of services guests may pay extra for.
- Create a space for guests to tip you when they leave. A simple tip jar with a pleasant note asking for donations if they enjoyed their stay could gain you some added income.
- Get a free meal out of it. Many guests are happy to go to the grocery store and to make a favorite dish for you while they stay in your home. You save on the grocery bill that week.
- Write about the experience. This could turn into a monetized blog or even a book.
Hosting travelers could be a terrific way to earn some additional income this summer while still gaining some of the same perks that you’d get if you yourself got to do some traveling. By renting out a room and selling some additional products and services, you could put away enough this summer to go on an amazing trip next year!