Home Swapping, sublet, AirBnb… and also Facebook groups and so many other ways can allow you to travel more thanks to your house!
People often think, especially at Italian latitudes, the place where I come from and currently live, that a house is associated with a sense of radical rooting, a static condition and the desire to stay like “forever”.
Easier said, people think that owning a house can be so expensive that all the rest, including the desire and chance to travel, becomes difficult or impossible.
As a matter of fact, the association of ideas according to which a “house = no more travels/less travels” (comparable for frequency and wrongness only to “family = you can burn your passport or sell it to Isis”) can be deconstructed through several good practices.
Because, my dear female travellers who are afraid of getting a permanent home, either owned or rented, my sweet fellow Holly Golightly who’d rather live out of a suitcase all the time – just like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – and as wild as a cat, you gotta know that the place called home won’t take the desire to wander around away from your little feet, yet it can also practically and technically enable you to travel more without having to spend a fortune.
Yet, as my beloved Robert Carlyle says in his interpretation of Rumpelstiltskin, “all magic comes with a price” and, in order for this magic to happen, we need to leave behind some small hindrances created by the Mediterranean way of seeing and perceiving the house.
Here a house is, more or less in the following order:
- The fruit of several years of sacrifices.
(this is the result of a choice and of the chance to work in this direction, which not everybody gets, so enough with this sacrifice thing. Get a life and be happy and grateful)
- an idea of a more or less immobile stability.
(read as follows)
- synonymous with safety.
- a longer “forever” than a ring on your finger.
(Wrong. Once you don’t need it anymore, you can sell it. More or less like a ring on your finger).
- a jail.
(I’d let you try a real jail, when you say such bullshit!)
When I didn’t own one, I wondered how some people could call “jail” such a beautiful and important thing, coming from commitment and planning. A safe shelter for your daydreaming.
Now… I’m still wondering how can they.
Read if you are interested, Buying a home and travelling… working as a creative freelancer. Is it possibile?
But let’s get practical: How to use the place you call home as a means to travel also for long periods?
Let’s find out the best systems, strategies and free Apps created especially for this.
Put your home on AirBnb (how?)
Let’s start with the most obvious thing.
Airbnb is a system that now has an App too and allows its users to find rooms or houses made available by people who can rent the whole house or have just one room or bed available in any part of the world. It clearly allows you to do the same with your vacant flat/room, by fixing a price.
If someone books your bed/sofa or flat, the payment will be made immediately with the method you suggested (PayPal, bank account etc.) and AirBnb will earn a commission on that transaction (whereas the site offers free subscription)
So you can rent just a room or the whole apartment when you are away. If you plan to be away for several months, you can also…
rent out or sublease your vacancies (how and to whom?).
Ideal for your gap year or period on the other side of the world.
Renting out your home/apartment/flat can help you raise some more money for your travel or else it can be a way to pay the instalments of your loan without resting heavily on your resources (as we all know, wings and roots, as well as travelling and living a static condition are two economically challenging things).
But who are the customers?
- Keep track of the groups of foreing people in your town (look up Erasmus in + name of your town, Foreigners in + name of your town etc. ).
- Subscribe and promote your vacancy on the group “Looking for a house in + name of your town”
- Create an announcement on Facebook and choose how to spread it (making it public on your wall or sending it privately to your contacts, asking them to forward it only if they know who might really need it, thus using a more personal and reliable channel)
Home swapping (how?)
There are many apps for home swapping, that let you welcome people at your place as well as spending peaceful periods in other people’s homes. In Italy, one of the apps leader in this field is called Scambiocasa.com, even if it’s a bit expensive. The yearly subscription actually costs 130 euros, so it’s worth the expense only if you know you’re gonna travel at least twice for two weeks in two houses made available by the community.
On the other hand, Love Home Swap also offers specific options for a targeted experience, such as “adventure”, “sea”, “skiing” etc., enabling users to choose not only the destination they are looking for but also the kind of journey they wish to make.
Therefore, when listing the details of your house, you’ll also have to point out the features of the area (that is, whether it’s possible to practice specific sports, or if your place is by the ocean coast or close to amenities suitable for some kinds of activities etc.)
Fees are not clear though: you get two weeks free trial and then start paying for the services, yet you are not supposed to know how much you’re supposed to pay until you subscribe.
Yet, in my opinion, the most practical, cheap and cost-effective App is GuestToGuest.
It’s free and lets you look for a place to stay (belonging to other registered users) and spend some time in another country. This happens in case of mutual hospitality.
But if you want to leave in six months and someone is looking for a place to stay right now, you can welcome people and collect the points that will eventually allow you, in six month’s time or a year or less, to go wherever you like (even by leaving an empty house).
The system is flexible and well insured, thanks to the deposit and insurance protection that have to be signed once subscribing to the service and which GuestToGuest takes care of.
Even those who rent an apartment can use one of these systems, by checking that the provisions in the lease contract do not rule out any form of sublease or hospitality. In case of doubts, it’s always advisable to talk to the owner.
Yet, come on, I’m an experienced woman and I’ve changed 5 houses in 10 years: I know well that every landlord sees his/her house as an untouchable and vulnerable jewel and often thinks he/she’s doing you a favour by renting out a room with sofa for 700 euros a month (can you see I used to live in Milan?).
So, 9 landlords out of 10 will never accept to have you swap their apartment with “those people who walk away from that kind of countries and who’d better stay at their place”.
Thus, between me, you and the 30.000 readers this week:
– if you’re planning to leave for a short period (let’s say up to a month)
– if you think the system offers appropriate warranty coverage
– if you asked for a good deposit
– if the owner of your apartment doesn’t live on the same block…
just risk and don’t give a damn!! You can always say that your host is a friend who passes by every once in a while, to water the plants and/or change the litter box of your imaginary cat.
Winners in life are those who dare and break the most useless rules as well as those who overcome the most narrow-minded ways of thinking.
I’d like to stress the initial idea that having roots and a place to call “home” or a “family” is not a hindrance to any kind of freedom, unless we want it to be.
Roots can bring you farther than wings.