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Do you travel often? Are you looking to make some extra cash when you're out of town?

For a lot of homeowners, their properties sit empty whenever they're traveling. They're missing out on a huge opportunity to earn extra income while on vacation. This extra cash might even lessen the burden of their traveling expenses.

The average Airbnb host makes $924 per month. If you're on a two-week vacation, that's an extra $462 you could earn.

In this article, I'm going to share with you how you can host on Airbnb while you travel.

Related Post: The Most Comprehensive Airbnb Hosting Guide On The Internet

Where Do I Leave Personal Items?

When it comes to personal items, a general rule of thumb is:

If you can't afford to lose it, don't leave it out.

People aren't as careful with items they don't own.

Protect Personal Belongings

Here are some ways you can protect your personal items.

  • Use zip ties, padlocks, or deadbolts: You can prevent access to cupboards, closets, and doors.
  • Get a lockbox: You can lock all your valuables in a lockbox and store it somewhere unobtrusive.
  • Remove valuables: If you're worried about something, you could bring it with you. Or, if that's not possible, you could leave it with a friend or store it in a bank or storage unit.
  • Give guests storage space: Guests will need a place to store their own personal items. If you clearly designate space for their belongings, they'll be less likely to search through your home for storage space.

Share Personal Belongings

There are some personal items you may want guests to use, or at least have access to.

airbnb hosting while you travel

These can include:

  • Entertainment Items: You may want to leave out books, magazines, and board games. If you have subscriptions to streaming services such as Netflix, you can let guests use them. These additions can make your property seem more welcoming.
  • Basic Toiletries: While not required, you should provide shampoo, conditioner, soap, and a towel.
  • Kitchen Basics: Some guests may want to cook during their stay. It can be helpful to include some pots, pans, plates, and utensils. At the very least, you should provide a coffee maker or tea bags.
  • Extra Blankets and Pillows: Everyone has their own sleeping preferences. Some guests may prefer adding blankets instead of turning up the thermostat. It can be nice to give guests the option to do so.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Sometimes, messes and spills can happen. It can be a good idea to leave some basic cleaning supplies for guests to use to clean up after themselves.

Ready to start hosting on Airbnb?

Related Post: Beyond Pricing Review & Tutorial: Automated Pricing for Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO

How Do I Let Guests in if I'm Away?

Ask A Friend

The traditional approach was to ask a nearby friend to come and personally let guests in. While this was mostly reliable, it was often a hassle. You had to find someone who was willing to help and fit in a guest's arrival with his/her schedule.

Use Lock Boxes

Some hosts have used lockboxes. Hosts would store their keys inside these lockboxes and give guests the code when they arrived. This allowed guests to enter the property without having to be let in. But, the downside was that the host had to come and change the lockbox code after each guest. This would've been impossible for hosts who were out-of-town for multiple back-to-back bookings.

airbnb hosting while you travel

Install Smart Locks

Fortunately, there are smart locks designed for Airbnb hosts. These smart locks use codes instead of keys to maximize security.

For instance, RemoteLock allows hosts to control access to any door remotely. Hosts are able to create, delete, and manage lock codes from their phone or computer. This means you'll be able to change the code after each guest without having to be there in person. You'll also be able to see when someone unlocks your door and what code was used. This allows you to be aware of all entries into your home.

remotelock airbnb hosting while you travel

If you want to completely automate your Airbnb, check out this guide on Airbnb automation.

Related Post: Beyond Pricing Review & Tutorial: Automated Pricing for Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO

Can I Airbnb a Rental?

Yes, you can, provided you've spoken to your landlord about it.

Most lease contracts prohibit subletting without the explicit consent of the landlord. You should read through your lease to see if it has that provision.

can you airbnb a rental

Violating that clause may result in fines and even eviction. A New York host was forced to pay a fine of $185,000 and evicted from her home of 40+ years.

These are serious consequences. That's why involving your landlord in your Airbnb decision is crucial.

Most landlords see Airbnb as a risky business. So, when you ask your landlord for permission, you want to create a win-win situation. Focus on how Airbnb will help both of you. You can demonstrate that you'll apply security measures like guest screening or installing noise sensors.

Ready to start hosting on Airbnb?

What's the Best Strategy for Hosting on Airbnb While Traveling?

There's a lot of debate over what the best strategy is for traveling hosts. Should you book your vacation first? Or should you wait until after you've gotten a booking?

Manage Your Calendar

If you decide you only want to host on Airbnb while you're on vacation, make sure your calendar reflects that. Keep your calendar open for the days you know you're going to be away.

And, if you know there are dates you don't want to be booked, don't leave those dates open. Turning down too many bookings can hurt your search ranking.

Book Your Vacation First

Let's say you already booked your vacation. You want to make sure someone books while you're gone, so you're not leaving an unoccupied home.

The easiest way to ensure a booking is to offer a cheap price. Try to be the lowest price in your area and for your house type.

The one downside is that you might be leaving money on the table. Guests may actually be willing to pay a higher price. This strategy sacrifices maximizing profits for ensuring a booking.

airbnb hosting while you travel

Book Your Vacation After

What if you only want to go on vacation if you know you'll be making a solid profit?

One strategy can be to keep your prices high and only travel if you get a booking.

This guarantees you'll make a profit, but there are a few problems.

Guests usually only book at high prices for event-related stays (e.g. the Superbowl). And, most of these bookings are only for the weekend.

You'll also have to worry about last-minute bookings. You don't want to get kicked out of your home at the last minute.

To avoid this, you can either require advance notice or turn off instant booking. Advance notice gives you a set amount of time to prepare for a last-minute booking. If you decide to cancel the booking, this allows you to do so penalty-free.

Turn Off Instant Booking

Instead of allowing guests to instantly book, you can choose to manually review all requests. This allows you to see how much money you could make and then decide if it's worth it.

But, there are some downsides to turning off Instant Book. Airbnb has an “instant book filter”, so guests who use this won't see your property at all.

Because Airbnb values “ease of booking“, it's possible they might bump the search rankings of listings with Instant Book. While this isn't explicitly mentioned, it's an opportunity that you might not want to miss.

Hiring a Property Management Company

If you want a completely hands-off approach to hosting, you may want to consider working with a property management company. These companies handle everything, from creating the listing to cleaning the property.

All this convenience comes with a cost. Most property management companies charge a fee of 10-20% of your revenue. But, these numbers can vary greatly among property managers. Some may even charge up to 50% of your revenue!

If you'd rather pay a fixed fee per month, that's also an option. Some companies may charge around $300/month.

When it comes to working with property management companies, do your research. You can use platforms like Co-Host Market to pick a property manager (check out my Co-Host Market review here). You should understand their fee structure as best you can. If you're ever confused about something, ask them to clarify. There's nothing worse than getting hit with an unexpected setup or cleaning fee.

Want a list of the tools I used to build a 6-figure Airbnb business?

Is Airbnb Hosting Safe?

First-time hosts are often hesitant to Airbnb their houses because of safety concerns. Especially when they're out of town and can't physically check the property.

Airbnb hosting is safe, if you take the right precautions.

But what about all those Airbnb horror stories out there?

If you read these horror stories, there's a common theme throughout them: The hosts didn't screen their guests.

Preventing Airbnb Horror Stories

You can prevent being the victim of an Airbnb horror story by asking the right questions.

By asking guests questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of your stay?
  • Why are you interested in this property?
  • Where are you traveling from?
  • What is your experience with Airbnb?

You'll be able to identify bad guests. People who book an Airbnb to throw a party are more likely to be from the same area as the property.

It's crucial that you screen your guests. It's never a good idea to let strangers into your home without knowing their intentions.

airbnb hosting while you travel

Host Protection

Airbnb requires all guests to provide a verified phone number and email address. And, if you want to be extra careful, you can choose to only allow certain guests into your property. You can require guests to be ID verified and have recommendations from other hosts.

But, sometimes, accidents do happen. Maybe a guest broke a window or injured himself on your treadmill.

Fortunately, Airbnb offers two separate programs that help cover you.

Airbnb's Host Guarantee protects you against property damage of up to $1 MM. Airbnb's Host Protection Insurance provides coverage of up to $1 MM in the event of third-party claims of bodily injury or property damage.

Both of these programs are free of charge and come with every booking.

Getting Started on Airbnb

If you're looking to earn some extra cash while on vacation, the first step is creating your account. Once you do that, you'll be able to list your property and receive bookings.

airbnb hosting while you travel

For tips and tricks, check out this in-depth guide for new hosts.

Want a list of the tools I used to build a 6-figure Airbnb business?