The Internet has revolutionized a lot of things. In particular, it’s made it possible for one person to start a thriving business selling just about anything. If you’ve been dreaming of turning your humble abode into a bed and breakfast, you can now do so for free with AirBedandBreakfast.com – a site that’s almost exactly how it sounds.
You simply create a profile, list a spare room in your apartment or house for rent, and let the money roll in. You don’t even need a spare room, just a patch of open space will do. You can list whether you have an actual big-boy bed for your guest or if they’ll be sleeping on an air mattress, a pile of hay, the floor, or in a hammock. Then, price your room accordingly. Nobody’s going to pay $130 per night to sleep on your carpet.
Conversely, if you’re a weary traveler in search of a cheaper alternative than a hotel, you could grab a place to sleep for a low, low price – like $20, low. The site is currently pushing rooms in and around Denver, Colorado and St. Paul, Minnesota for the Democratic and Republican national conventions, since hotel rooms in those towns are completely sold out. Places to stay in St. Paul during the RNC, for instance, range between $40 per night for a “private room” with a “real bed” to $1,500 per night for a private loft a few blocks from the Excel Center, where the convention will be held.
It’s free to list your room – the person who rents your room will pay a 5% to 12% surcharge, which is how the site makes money. Rooms are rented with a credit card and the portions of the proceeds can be donated or the entire amount can be shushed into the room owner’s Paypal account or paid by check.
I think this is all a bit sketchy (for both renters and guests) until things really get rolling and user reviews start trickling in but, hey, when I got stuck in the Denver airport overnight last week, I would have used a service like this without even thinking. This also seems like a great site for existing bed and breakfast operators to use, especially ones that don’t have a good web site yet.
There’s also CouchSurfing.com, which has been around for a while.