Hustling Extra Cash (Part 1): Renting Out Spare Space to Travelers

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Hustling Extra Cash (Part 1): Renting Out Spare Space to Travelers

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Got extra space? (Even just a couch or backyard big enough for a tent?)

Need extra cash? Great! Now you can host a traveler, meet new and engaging people, and make money doing so.

Here's how, along with some tips and resources to ensure your experience is top-notch.

Short-term rentals to travelers are gaining popularity; it helps them get off the beaten track of sterile hotels and grimy hostels, save some money, enjoy the comforts of "home", and occasionally enjoy the hospitality of an enthusiastic local.

As a host it's ideal for earning extra cash, meeting new people, and enjoying your home town through fresh eyes.              

You will see below that you can rent out anything from a spare room, to a guest suite, couch, tent space, or even a full house.

Short-Term Rental Resources

Most of these sites are free to list on, and their services include marketing, payment processing, and a secure communication module to interact with potential renters. 

Air BnB

This site has some of the coolest digs, so use your imagination in drumming up rental space; anything goes from spare couches to tree houses, tipis, parking spaces, igloos, shared rooms, caves, and more. (Oh yeah, and you can just rent out a spare room too).

With AirBnB you list your space for free, but they will take 3% of what the guest pays as their fee.


You won't pay a dime to use Roomorama (the guest covers the booking fee), but for the most part rental space is limited to spare bedrooms or entire houses/apartments.


Rental options with Wimdu are pretty wide-ranging, including full apartments and houses, spare couches, tents, etc. Similar to AirBnB, they take a 3% cut to cover their fees.


This is also free for hosts (the guest is charged an additional percentage which goes to 9Flats). The variety of accommodations is wide.


Here are the ground rules for your end of the bargain: 

Meet 'n' Greet

You (or somebody you designate) need to meet the guest on arrival, and give them keys and a brief orientation. Set your own check-in and check-out times to work with your schedule.

If you're sharing common space with your guests, lay out the ground-rules at check-in.


You need to provide a clean space on check-in, and clean up after guests check-out. Some sites allow you to charge an extra fee for optional cleaning services. You can specify whether or not linens are provided; it's a nice touch though. 

Hospitable Host (Optional)

Although not required, it's nice to spend some time with the guest and orient them to the area. If you are sharing the space, preparing a welcome meal or breakfast is a nice touch.

Legal Stuff

Here are some of the not-so-petty details you should be aware of:


Your income from short-term rentals is taxable, and you must claim it on your return. The good news is this increases your possible deductions; if you play your cards right you could end up getting extra tax back.

Security Deposit

To fend off potential breakages or vandalization, some sites allow you to charge a security deposit (cash or credit card authorization). You are responsible for collecting the deposit, and reimbursing it at the end.

Check the Regs

If you rent your place, double-check subletting regulations with your landlord.


Some sites offer insurance (additional or included); this is country-specific. It's also worth checking your home insurance policy for their coverage of paying guests.

Do you have any experience as a short-term host or traveler? Please share in the comments!


Single Parents' Ways to Make Extra Money 

How to Rent for Extra Income

4 Ways to Get Free Accommodation on Your Next Vacation


Nora Dunn, travel and lifestyle expert guest blogger for leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Nora Dunn

Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo: a full-time traveler and freelance writer. She is a contributing writer under the CareOne Debt Relief Services A Straight Talk on Debt blog. Having sold her business and belongings to travel, she has been on the road since 2007. She travels in a financially sustainable manner, taking advantage of creative volunteering positions. As a former certified Financial Planner, she is financially responsible for her actions along the way. She believes there is a fine balance between planning for tomorrow, and living for today. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • I've been hosting on Airbnb since April and it's been great! My room has been booked pretty consistently and I've met some very nice and very interesting people. The travel market works out much better than the room mate market for sure. It's a little extra upkeep, but so worth it. I've stayed in one Airbnb...a whole house with a group of kayaking friends and it as awesome as well. Love the security Airbnb offers and that they handle all the transaction details and pay to schedule via papal ....easy to schedule, change your own listing details, block out dates. Love it! And it's getting me on my way to traveling full time... headed to Mexico in a couple months, where I may just airbnb some more as a guest and as a host. Thanks for posting the other services Nora...will look into those as well.

  • Hi Cheryl,

    WOW - Thanks for the great testimonial! I'm so glad airbnb has worked out so well for you. I hadn't thought of it as an alternative to having room mates, but  it's perfect - right down to deciding when you want the place to yourself! (As long as your place can fairly consistently rent through airbnb etc - as it does for you).

    And it's a great plan to hustle some extra cash for your upcoming full-time travels! Bon voyage!

  • I have used Airbnb and loved it too. It is a great way to make a little extra money and less hassle than a full time tenant.

  • We're going to explore five creative ways to earn extra money online - regardless of your expertise.

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