I know that most of the time I talk about free homestays but if you “can’t do that” there are always options like airbnb and VRBO. I actually have used both of these sites and had good experiences as a renter myself. I just started renting recently and have had great success in renting my entire house and sometimes just a room within my house.
As someone who has rented for USNA graduation over many years, I thought why not try renting for an occasional weekend. I have had a lot interest during the Navy games and boat shows but there are also several summer weekends we have rented.
This weekend we rented and we are going to the Hyatt Chesapeake Bay and we will have the whole weekend paid for by renting our house. Kinda genius if I say so. My house is going to be vacant anyway, why not capitalize on the opportunity to pay for my weekend getaway!
I just have two examples to share with you to learn from my experiences in renting on these sites…
1) Be very explicit in your descriptions, almost to a fault. I had one guest, who did not read the top word that said “PRIVATE ROOM” and she ended up running out the door like some crazy person because she thought it was a private house :-0. Yes, her fault but I am putting more and more detail to be sure that never happens again!
2) I rented on airbnb in Playa Blanca, Panama (my first experience). I was unsuccessful in trying to CouchSurf so I thought I would try renting a house. It was kind of a nightmare. We got into the apt – it wasn’t clean, there were no towels and no hot water (and no Wi-Fi). I should have just said I’ll clean and have them knock money off. Instead we moved to another property they owned and that had a water leak and ants. The first one was a beautiful place with an amazing view. I think with a lot of these experiences (like in life) you just have to roll with the punches and make best of it. I had my daughter and it was so stressful moving 3 times.
As I always say, staying in the apt was “nice” but so culturally unrewarding. I really don’t know what Panamanians are like because I only met them superficially. It’s a shame because I was there three weeks!