How To Rent Out Your Guest Room On Airbnb (And Make An Extra $1,000/Month)

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I have said it before (just last week, I believe!) and i will say it again: motherhood is one of the busiest, most challenging, yet most rewarding things you will ever do...

...and not only is it all of the above, but it is also pretty freaking expensive, seeing as though kids like to outgrow their clothes every week, eat multiple times a day, and eventually have the gaul to leave you to pursue their future at college.

Speaking of college, did you know that as of this publication, the average cost of school per year is $10,000+, which will only go up more and more by the time our kids and grandkids are ready to go? 

Now that I have got myself both worked up and freaked out, you are probably wondering why I am going off on this irrelevant tangent... well, one of the reasons I wanted to work on the side while staying home with the boys was to put more money into both their savings/college accounts and ours, and I know that I am not the only one, which is why I am constantly on the prowl for potential money-making ideas for busy moms like you. 

Enter Airbnb.

For anyone unfamiliar with the company, Airbnb "uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetize their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs." 

In other words, your spare bedroom becomes a hotel of sorts and you take home the cash.

Obviously, this approach to making extra money is unconventional and not for everyone, but if renting out your spare room, home (if/when you are out of town), or second home sounds like a financial path you would be willing to explore, read on: 

How does renting your space on Airbnb work?

I'm so glad you asked! The first step in the process is to create or log-in to your account, in which you describe your space and location, and receive an instant estimate on how much Airbnb thinks you can earn by consistently renting it out.

Airbnb’s estimate if I rented out our entire house consistently.

Airbnb’s estimate if I rented out our entire house consistently.

Estimate for renting our guest room.

Estimate for renting our guest room.

Obviously, this is just an estimate and at the end of the day, you get to name your own price (also remember that Airbnb does take a 3% cut), but keep in mind that it's a competitive market, so you will want/need to price it fairly.

Once you have your Airbnb account set up, it is time to get even more in-depth about both yourself and your space, which is where you get a chance to tell potential guests a little bit about you (their host), build trust, and then explain the space even more in depth, including amenities, (towels, internet), perks (in-room snacks, breakfast in the morning), and nearby activities/attractions.

One of the great things about using a platform like Airbnb is that you have complete control over how often you rent, so if there is a particular time that does not work for having guests, you can simply block it out on your calendar! Another bonus? You can have as little or as much interaction with your guests as you would like, making this the perfect side gig for introverts and extroverts alike.

Now that you know the basics of renting your space on Airbnb, here are a few do’s and don’ts for getting the most out of your listing.

For visuals sake, the following are pictures of our downstairs guest room… if any of you reading this have an eye for design, please give me your tips for sprucing up this space!

Do: Make the space as clean and comfortable as possible

Whether you hire a professional cleaner or do the deep cleaning yourself, it is vital that your space be spick and span, as it may reflect on both you and your Airbnb rating! (You would hate to walk into a hotel room to find used sheets, dust, and an un-vacuumed floor, so don’t expect that to fly with your guests.)

Don’t: Make the space a shrine to you or your family

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As you can see, we display A LOT of old family photos on the guest room dresser, which is obviously fine when our parents visit, but may not be the best when Airbnb guests are using the space!

Do: Spruce up your space

Not the greatest shots/angles of our guest bathroom, but bear with me!

Not the greatest shots/angles of our guest bathroom, but bear with me!

A pretty shower curtain. Some art deco prints. A colorful bedspread. These little touches can add so much to a room (and are really affordable, if you look around!), and can make your guest’s experience all the more enjoyable!

Do: Add extra amenities

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As I previously mentioned, extra amenities are always a good thing in the world of Airbnb, so get creative with it! One idea: Our basement (where the guest bed and bathroom are located) has a really nice theater room, so I would advertise that as one of the perks of staying at our home.

As you can see, renting your space on Airbnb is a great way to make extra cash, so if you are comfortable with hosting, I highly recommend you look into it! (If one of your reservations is safety — as it would be with me — check out what Airbnb does to keep you, your home, and your guests safe.)

Now I want to hear from you: Would (or have) you host on Airbnb? Let me know in the comments!

How to Rent Your Room on Airbnb

Santa Fe Travel Guide - Where To Spend and Where To Save

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I love Santa Fe.

I love the culture, architecture, food, colors, people... and I really love that I have a cousin who lives there so that we get to go visit every so often! 

Santa Fe is one of those of unique places that is as charming as it is quirky, and as cutting-edge as it is classic, which makes it all the more enjoyable for every member of the family! 

My family and I have visited Santa Fe the last two summers, and while I am nowhere close to being an expert, I have picked up a few tips and saving tricks that I hope will benefit others as well. 

Without further ado, here is my Santa Fe Travel Guide: When to Spend and When to Save.

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Getting there: Save 

The drive from Denver to Santa Fe is a mere 6 hours, so getting there for us is fairly easy and inexpensive; however, if you are traveling from a further distance, you may want to save valuable time by flying in to either Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF) or Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ). As I have talked about before, my husband, boys, and I love to travel (and fly several times a year), and are always looking at different ways to save, which is why we:

1.) Chose a credit card designated for travel points

2.) Do a lot of price comparing through third-party travel sites

Now, to expand on each point:

The Best Rewards Credit Card

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a huge fan/follower/advocate of Dave Ramsey, BUT... the one rule of his that we do not follow is not having credit cards... I know, I know; that is probably his biggest rule of all, but here is the thing: We use our credit card the same way we'd use a debit card and basically charge all of our bills/expenses to it. Here is the kicker, though: The credit card is linked to our bank account, so we literally pay of it off 2-3 times per month and NEVER put anything on there that we cannot afford or immediately pay back. 

(I cannot stress this enough: If you charge things and are not able to pay it off right away, DO NOT DO IT! You are just acquiring high interest rates/debt and will not reap the rewards of the card.)

That being said, we are able to earn quite a few points each month through our handy dandy Chase Sapphire Preferred card! 

With a million travel-related credit cards out there, why did we decide to go with this one? After my husband did a lot of research (and I mean A LOT of research), he found that we would earn points for each dollar spent AND receive 25% more points when redeemed for travel! So far this year, my husband and I have taken an anniversary trip to Las Vegas (our roundtrip airfare on Southwest and room at Planet Hollywood both covered by points), and used our points to cover the airfare for next month's trip to Disney World. 

All of this being said, if you plan to pay off your credit card at the end of each month, travel rewards cards are definitely the way to go (especially Chase Sapphire)! 

Utilize Price Comparison Sites

You probably know this trick already, but price comparison sites like Booking.com can be a huge asset when it comes to getting the best deal. Since they cover hundreds of thousands of destinations and work with countless airlines/hotels/car rental companies, you can easily compare airlines, prices, and arrival times to make sure you are getting the best deal. 

Booking.com

Accommodations: Spend

Now, when I say spend, I don't mean you need to be paying $250+ for a hotel...

...but, in a unique town like Santa Fe, I think it is both fun and important to nix the generic hotel chain for something a bit more authentic. 

Don't get me wrong; when we went to my cousin's graduation last summer, we stayed at a chain motel that was very clean and comfortable, but after booking a country casita from Airbnb on our last trip, I don't think I can go back! 

Santa Fe is famous for its stucco siding, clay roofs, and colorful desert setting, which -- for a city girl like me -- is an absolute treat to experience, which is why I whole-heartedly endorse skipping the hotel and opting for your own New Mexican home! From cozy casitas to charming adobe style homes, there is no shortage of unique places to stay in Santa Fe. 

Believe it or not, renting a home in Santa Fe is incredibly affordable, with some casitas costing a mere $49/night (meaning you do not necessarily have to spend more to get more)! 

The place my family and I stayed was on a working horse ranch, and had a living room, 2 bedrooms, a loft with two beds (which the boys LOVED), a full kitchen, and a gorgeous bathroom. The cost for the entire house was $149/night (which, split between my folks, brother, and myself was next-to-nothing) and the experience was priceless. 

Can I move here?! 

Can I move here?! 

Santa Fe Airbnb
The stable was right outside our front door! 

The stable was right outside our front door! 

Our host was so sweet and gracious, and brought out the miniature horse for the boys to pet! 

Our host was so sweet and gracious, and brought out the miniature horse for the boys to pet! 

If you need a great place to stay in Santa Fe, shoot me a message and I'll give you the info on where we stayed. 

If you need a great place to stay in Santa Fe, shoot me a message and I'll give you the info on where we stayed. 

If you have never used Airbnb, you are in luck, as my reader's can receive $40 off their first stay by using this link to book! 

Food: Spend

Repeat after me: When I go to Santa Fe, I solemnly swear to skip the fast food joints and only eat at local restaurants. 

Good? Good. 

New Mexico is home to my favorite foods ever, like green chile (What can I say? I'm a Colorado girl!), Huevos Rancheros, and breakfast burritos, so whenever I go, you better believe that I will splurge in terms of both carbs and cash! 

Obviously, smothered burritos and homemade sopapillas are not going to set you back a bunch, but I still recommend setting money aside just for food. 

Breakfast at the incredible San Marcos Cafe & Feed Store: Christmas-style Huevos Rancheros (what else?) and coffee.

Breakfast at the incredible San Marcos Cafe & Feed Store: Christmas-style Huevos Rancheros (what else?) and coffee.

Entertainment: Save

One of my very favorite things to do in Santa Fe is to just walk around and enjoy the art and architecture of this beautiful area, which costs a whopping $0. However, there are a bunch of other really awesome things to do around Santa Fe, like art museums, history museums, and other special events, so be sure to look ahead of time for potential deals and promotions. 

Another way to save on Santa Fe attractions? 

Groupon

I use Groupon for EVERYTHING (please tell me I'm not the only one), so you better believe I use it for food and entertainment whenever we travel. 

As of this publication, Groupon has Santa Fe deals for such things as:

  • Wine Tasting for Two or Four with Syrah Wine to Take Home at Vivac Winery (Up to 48% Off)
  • Luxury Spa Packages at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado (Up to 49% Off)

  • Visit for Two or Four Adults at IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Up to 52% Off)

  • Hot-Air-Balloon Ride for Two or Four from Air Carriage Hot Air Balloon Rides (Up to 48% Off)

Obviously the deals on Groupon are always changing, so be sure to check before you go!

Happy saving and happier travels, friends! If you have been to Santa Fe, I would love to hear about your favorite things to see, do, and eat. Please share your recommendations in the comments! 

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