I’ve been using Airbnb for a few years now in various places – Toulouse, Copenhagen, Adelaide, Byron Bay… and it almost always wins over staying in hotels. They’re generally cheaper, often more spacious than a squishy hotel room, and you can prepare your own meals if you feel like it. I can’t remember how Alex and I decided to put our spare room up on Airbnb in August, but it’s been such an interesting experience. Many people have asked me what it’s like to share my home with strangers constantly coming in and out, so I thought I’d do a post about it! Plus a few tips for hosting an Airbnb.
I’ll talk about the pros first. Obviously aside from the extra income, there are so many good things about having people stay that I didn’t expect at all. Living in Melbourne I don’t have the same network of people around as back in London, so it’s so great to have people to chat to in the evenings, especially as they tend to be from overseas and it’s nice to have a good ol‘ chat about Melbourne life with another outsider!
The great thing is, we’ve had a few people who have come to stay with us at the beginning of their move to Melbourne while they’re looking for permanent accommodation/jobs. A French couple who stayed with us in August now live in the same apartment block as us and we see them regularly for wine & cheese nights, and BBQs! It’s like a little community. We also socialise quite a bit with guests when they stay with us – we ended up dancing until 3am last night with our current guests! It’s nice to go out for dinner with them in the area, or have a game of Cards of Humanity and drinks at the weekend. It’s made me realise how many lovely people there are in the world! I feel like we will definitely stay in touch with a few guests, and now we have friends all around the world, with great travelling tips for us too 🙂
From a practical point of view, hosting an Airbnb forces us to always keep the flat as spit-spot as we can, especially when guests first move in. It means we can’t be lazy with cleaning! We also tend to get out the flat a bit more if we need space, so we don’t end up lying on the sofa every evening if our guests want to cook or spend time in the living area.
There are less cons than I expected there to be. There is the fact that of course sometimes you just want your own space. There’s been a couple of times when Alex is out in the evening and all I want to do is watch a chick flick, paint ma nails, eat all the pizza, and not talk to anybody. I’m not the best at small talk but there’s always our bedroom to chill in if I really don’t feel like being sociable after a long day at work.
It is quite a bit of work changing the room around, especially if we have a quick changeover. It means lots of washing if we only have someone for a night or two. Thankfully most people we have tend to stay longer. There’s definitely more cleaning involved as well, which takes a bit of extra effort at weekends. We like to add nice touches like a welcoming card, and chocolates on their pillows.
And then there’s the trust issue. For me, I’ve lived with lodgers in my house since I was 13 so it’s not too weird having strangers in my home. We’ve been really lucky so far with people being respectful of us and our home, and there isn’t much for them to steal anyway.
Let me know if you have any questions about hosting an Airbnb! If you can’t tell from this post, the pros certainly outweigh the cons for me. I would definitely recommend opening up your home with Airbnb if you are able to. And let me know if you ever need a place to stay in Melbourne, we were just awarded a Superhost badge on Airbnb for good ratings 😉