It’s a common scenario. The kids left home some time ago and now you have house full of empty rooms. Or perhaps you’ve built a granny flat out the back that you’ve never had to use.
Whatever the situation, many empty-nesters and retirees have a lot living space just sitting around gathering dust. So it’s not surprising more and more are looking to the internet to turn this idle space into extra income for their retirement.
Of course, bed and breakfasts are nothing new and there’s no shortage of people renting out holiday apartments over the internet, but now-a-days websites like Airbnb are giving some order to the chaos.
For hosts, Airbnb adds an element of security, making sure they get paid on time and in full and giving them the opportunity to check-out travellers profiles before letting the into their home.
While for travellers, the site allows them to compare and contrast over 60,000 listings from over 10,000 cities around the world. And because Airbnb holds the payment for 24 hours after they arrive, travellers can be sure they won’t have to pay for anything that doesn’t meet their expectations.
what can you rent out?
When it comes to peer-to-peer accommodation rental, you don’t have to have a spare room to be a host. In fact, the name Airbnb refers to the hosts humble beginnings renting-out air mattresses on the floor of their San Francisco apartment.
These days there are less and less air mattresses but the site still encourages unique accommodation with listings as diverse as castles, treehouses, yachts and even an igloo.
Other viable options include lofts, holiday homes, caravans, campers and houseboats. So be as creative or as ordinary as you like.
some peer-to-peer travel
Peer-to-peer travel is more than a trend, it’s big business and more and more sites are popping up in all different shapes and sizes.
If you’re considering renting out your property for some extra cash, or just want to find some unique accommodation for your next trip, here are some of the big players to consider:
- Airbnb – Founded in 2007, Airbnb already has properties in 178 countries at over 10,000 sites around the world. It was recently valued at $1 billion. One of its special features is the ‘social connections’ feature, which allows you to log-on via facebook and see how you are connected to other guests and hosts.
- 9flats.com – Based in Berlin, Germany 9flats is similar to Airbnb but with a more European focus. Currently, the site offers about 9,000 different properties in 40 countries, and is adding more every day. Although it doesn’t have the variety available on Airbnb, with many properties outside city centres, it’s great for travellers looking for accommodation.
- HomeAway – Founded in 2005 this vacation rental site offers more than 525,000 listings across 145 countries. Unlike Airbnb homeowners pay $300 a year to list their properties. The advantage here is that the site does not charge guests a rental fee for each stay, the disadvantage is that they have less incentive to maximise your rentals.
- Flipkey – Owned by travel giant TripAdvisor, Flipkey has more than 100,000 properties in 5,000 regions. It combines privately owned rentals with a network of professionally managed options.
While renting out your room is a great way to make some extra cash and staying in someone’s place is a great way to travel cheaply, early adopters say the benefits of peer-to-peer travel go way beyond the dollar figure.
Other benefits include making new friends, learning about other cultures, skills sharing and expanding your social network across the globe.