It’s a tempting idea — you get to recoup some of the money you dropped on your fabulously exotic getaway, and your apartment would just be collecting dust while you’re gone anyway. Plus, the internet makes it so easy to find someone to occupy your place. Airbnb lets you rent out your place, hotel-style, while Couchsurfing just asks that you have an available sofa you’re willing to let someone crash on. And Craigslist lets you tailor the arrangement to your needs, however formal or informal those may be. But while the idea of making money while on vacation is appealing, there can be some snags along the way. Below are some of the pros and cons of using this kind of service in your home.
1. You make money. That’s the main one, right? You already have a place to live; might as well defray some of its costs.
2. You can always say no. Unlike a hotel, you’re not obligated to accept every or any guest.
3. You may meet interesting people. Travelers tend to be adventurous, worldly people; many people host on Couchsurfing simply because they like the varied company. This is a plus if you’re social; less of one if you suffer from agoraphobia.
4. It may be safer to leave your apartment with strangers than to thieves. If you’re the sort that worries that an empty home will attract Home Alone-like attention, leaving your keys with some reputable strangers might help you relax on vacation.
1. It’s apparently difficult to list a single space, so if you just have a twin bed available, you might spend a lot of time explaining that.
2. People can be annoying. According to our sources, you cannot block anyone from sending you millions of requests or complaints. There are always crazies.
3. You can get docked points on some services for things like refusing a guest, even if that guest has been verbally abusive or seemingly sketchy in your online correspondence. Not the biggest deal, but can put a dent in your ratings when compared with your competitors.
4. It could potentially be dangerous, although now Airbnb, at least, offers an insurance guarantee up to $50,000 in case you get the guest from hell. From what we can tell, however, most people are not as concerned about the safety part of these services.
5. Your landlord might not approve. Hell hath no fury like a landlord tricked.
Have you ever rented out your apartment while you were away? Share you experience and recommendations here or on Facebook!