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How I used Airbnb to fund my world travels, and first business…

If you are a fan of the podcast ‘Lifestyle by Design – The Series’  you know part of my story. I set out to travel the world to meet with entrepreneurs, start up founders, and inventors to learn how they brought their ideas to life.

But what you dont know is how I funded my travels without breaking the bank, especially in the beginning.

Well, there are a few different ways, but the one that has been the most crucial has been renting out my place on Airbnb.

It has covered virtually all of the costs behind starting my new business adventure, and my travels.

Enter my Airbnb experience:

Rent at my Lincoln Park Chicago studio was $1050/month.

My first AirBNB renter was for two nights over a weekend. I stayed with friends in Chicago, so that I could give it a ‘test run’ while I was still in town.

I arrived home on Sunday to a clean apartment, $184 richer, and wondering why the hell we got rid of sleep overs as adults. -Seriously, try it. Ask a friend to crash at their place for a night or two because you are testing Airbnb. Likely they will be thrilled. Bring a bottle of anything, and remember that fish and visitors get old after 2-3 days.-

It was a solid first test run with Airbnb.

The very next weekend I drive to Michigan to visit my girlfriend. I bump the price up, and come back to a clean apartment and an extra $228. All for visiting my girlfriend, a trip I was planning on taking anyway.

I begin to think ‘I’m on to something here…’

For LBD the Series, I wanted to travel to Denver to do an episode on a company called MassRootsMassRoots essentially merges two of the most interesting industries right now; tech, and the newly legalized cannabis industry.

In the shortest description possible, MassRoots is a photo rich, social media app for cannabis users. (Only available in states that have legalized medical marijuana). A group of 4 friends in their early 20s built it, after the idea came to them while they were high. (Check out our MassRoots/Denver episode here)

Paying for the trip:
I have some points on my Chase Sapphire credit card that I use towards my trip (most of the points were earned just for signing up for the card. And no, they don’t pay me to say that).

I find two round trip flights for me and my camera guy Chris, for around $225 each. The downside is that they are on the crappy, cheap airline. The airline that doesnt seem to have a soul (or a scheduled gate to use whenever they land…)

But I have just enough points to cover both flights and a rental car, and just enough excitement to not care about waiting on the landed plane for an hour and a half waiting for a gate to open up. (Seriously? You’re just landing at airports without a gate lined up?)

Cost: Even-Steven, so far.

For the 3 night stay in Denver, I rented an Airbnb.

Total 3 night cost of the AirBNB: $202.

We stayed with an awesome host, a single lady in her 30s who loves to travel and help children in need. She had a Buddha statue in her living room and inspirational quotes on the painted-on chalk board that covered an entire wall of her kitchen. She had a one-eyed dog, and great recommendations for food and beer at local spots. The trip was a blast!

We met some incredible people, tried some incredible food, hiked in the mountains, learned what it was like to buy weed legally (for journalistic purposes of course), and I arrived home to a clean apartment and an extra $258 from renting my place out while I was gone.

Trip… covered.
Experience… priceless.

My earnings from Airbnb over a 4 month period total $4,441.

I’ve had 2 cancelations that would have earned me another $1,500.

$4,441 may not seem mind-blowing, but the fact that I’ve learned how to monetize vising my girlfriend and traveling, is.

What would you do with an extra $4,400-$5,500?

Travel?

Maybe start that side business you keep thinking about?

For me, I started a podcast and webseries on entrepreneurs who have created unique companies.

I’m now catching a $636 round trip flight to Brazil, where I’m spending a month. I’ll be meeting with a few entrepreneurs for the series. Also doing some writing for the episodes, surfing, and mainly relaxing and recharging.

I will be bouncing around to multiple Airbnbs while I travel through Rio de Janerio, Recife, Sau Paulo, and Florianopolis, to which my monthly cost for housing will be somewhere between $700 and $900, (I could have gotten it even cheaper, but opted for nicer digs for the 9 nights my girlfriend is in town). Still though, less than my monthly rent in Chicago.

If you’ve ever wanted to start your own business to be able to travel, or simply just to escape the 9 to 5, you should check out my podcast and webseries LBDtheSeries, where I hang out with entrepreneurs to learn how to bring ideas like yours to life.

However, the best resource I’ve found for such an endeavor has been The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. That book should be your first stop.

Creator of 'Lifestyle by Design - The Series'. A Podcast and Webseries on how to bring ideas like yours to life.

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