dotshock / Shutterstock.com While countless workers dream of retirement, millions more have decided to work full time or part time after age 65: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, there will be more than 13 million working Americans ages 65 and older. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 74% of working Americans planned to work past retirement age. Working longer might be your best... [...]
Confused by airline bag fees? Not sure what “basic economy” means and how much extra you’ll pay for bags, carry-ons or seat assignments? You’re not alone. Airlines have made it increasingly difficult to determine how much you’ll end up paying for a given ticket. We created this calculator to help make sense of basic economy...
Sam Kemmis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @samsambutdif.
The article Calculator: How Much Does That Basic Economy Seat Really Cost? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
So you live in San Diego, the land of beaches, beautiful weather and a bunch of tourist attractions.
Have you thought about becoming an Airbnb host? In a region that’s so expensive to live in, home sharing can be a great way to supplement your income. Thousands of Airbnb hosts list places in and around San Diego, according to data from the home sharing platform.
“There’s so much to do here — the beaches, the harbor, all the microbreweries. Within one hour from here, you could be in the mountains or the desert,” says JoAnn Jaffe, a 60-year-old Airbnb Superhost. “It’s just a great place to be. There’s always something going on here.”
Between the beaches, attractions like SeaWorld San Diego, and annual events like San Diego Beer Week, there’s a demand for space year-round.
If you’re curious to see how much money you could make by listing your San Diego space, use the Airbnb calculator:
Then, follow our step-by-step guide to set up a listing in the San Diego area.
How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in San Diego
Before becoming an Airbnb host, you’ll want to check your local laws and prepare your space for guests. (We’ll get into that later.) Creating a listing itself is simple, but you’ll want to put some thought into it, so your space stands out from all the others.
We’ll walk you through the process, plus share some pro tips from Jaffe, a yoga instructor and nonprofit organizer who lists a three-room suite in her historic home near the San Diego Convention Center. She’s been hosting since 2014.
Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space/Amenities
In this first part of setting up your listing, you’ll answer some basic questions about your space, which could be anything — an apartment, an extra bedroom or house, a campsite, yurt or even an RV, depending on your local laws.
Basic questions in this section include the number of guests your space can accommodate and the included amenities.
If you don’t have an entire place, list your spare room.
Set the Scene With Photos
With Airbnb listings, photos are everything. “Have a good photographer,” stresses Jaffe, whose listing highlights the beauty of her restored historic Victorian home and its remodeled kitchen.
The platform offers some basic photo tips, which include utilizing natural light, avoiding flash, and shooting in landscape mode from the corners of rooms, so you add perspective.
Think about what makes your space and your location appealing, and illustrate those elements through photos. You might also include photos of the surrounding neighborhood and nearby tourist attractions. If you’re near the beach or the San Diego Zoo or the Gaslamp Quarter, include a picture of that!
Write a Description
Once you hook people with your photos, continue to lead them through your listing with the description.
Here, you’ll be able to highlight what makes your space unique — in Jaffe’s case, it’s the historic nature of her home and the availability of a three-room suite.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at other Airbnb listings in your area to see what other hosts highlight. In San Diego, hosts’ listings often make a point of noting exactly where in San Diego they’re located. So you’ll see titles like “Small Room Gaslamp/SeaWorld” or “RV near Mission Bay.”
After you host several guests, you’ll get to know your audience, so you can lean into that.
Name Your Listing
This might seem like a small task, but naming your listing is just as important as nailing your photos. Airbnb urges hosts to create a title that highlights what’s unique about the space.
Jaffe’s listing is named “San Diego Historic Victorian Private 3-Room Suite,” which highlights the most appealing things about her property. A three-room suite isn’t always easy to find on Airbnb, and the historic nature of her home appeals to certain travelers.
Set House Rules
Airbnb has a set list of rules you can opt into if you’d like them included in your listing. A few of these include: suitable for pets, smoking not allowed and whether events or parties are allowed. You also have the option to write in additional rules.
Jaffe, for example, prefers to be present when her guests first arrive. “I’ve chosen not to have anyone come here when I’m not here to greet them,” she says.
Set up Your Calendar
Taking time to set up your calendar is important, because if you cancel on your guests, Airbnb will charge you a penalty fee.
A few questions you’ll answer include:
How often do you want to have guests?
How much notice do you need before a guest arrives?
When can guests check in?
How far in advance can guests book?
How long can guests stay?
You’ll be able to adjust these settings as you go, so you can find out what works best for you.
Price Your Space
Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool, which you can opt into to automatically adjust the price of your listing according to demand. For example, when the demand spikes during San Diego Beer Week every November, Airbnb will likely increase the price of your listing automatically.
You can set price minimums and maximums, so your listing won’t dip below a certain amount or spike to something unrealistic. Although Airbnb will suggest these amounts when you’re signing up, Jaffe urges new hosts to do their own research.
Here are a few tips to help you determine these numbers:
Consider your expenses, i.e. utilities, cleaning and any maintenance requirements.
Search other Airbnb listings in your area and price just below those.
When you’re starting out, you’ll want to price your place lower, so you can get guests in and accumulate reviews, which will help increase bookings in the long run.
Note Your Local Laws
You’re almost done setting up your listing! Now Airbnb will remind you to familiarize yourself with your local laws.
San Diego officials have long debated restricting short-term rentals in the city, but there currently are no clear restrictive rules. In the city of San Diego, you have to get a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate, which you can do online. You also have to pay a 10.5% tax on your rental income, which Airbnb collects and remits on behalf of hosts.
In addition to hosting laws, you’ll also want to check with your homeowners association or landlord to make sure short-term rentals are permitted.
Also note that short-term rentals could invalidate some homeowner’s insurance, so check these policies with your provider.
Airbnb also includes liability insurance for up to $1 million, but Jaffe suggests setting aside some money for damages.
As you start booking guests, you’ll also want to keep tabs on expenses and revenue for tax purposes.
She also reminds hosts to take advantage of tax deductions. Because she has guests staying in her space, she can deduct many charges as business expenses, including utilities, furniture, home improvement, even electronics — basically anything guests will also benefit from or use.
Listen to Feedback from Your Guests
If there’s anything about your guests’ experience you need to improve, they’ll let you know. All you have to do is listen.
“Guests would tell me things, and I would accommodate them,” Jaffe says. “Someone would say, ‘You need a hook for the towels right by the bath,’ or ‘You don’t have enough wine glasses.’ So I went out and bought wine glasses.”
“I didn’t take the comments personally. I used them to inform how I was going to be a good host.”
Ready to Give This Whole Hosting Thing a Try?
How are you feeling? Like we said, listing your place on Airbnb is simple — but it does require some creativity and strategy. The good news is you can adjust or change your information and settings at any time, so you’re not locked into anything permanently.
Jaffe’s favorite part of hosting has been all the interesting people she’s met.
“Everyone who comes here has been genu [...]
Here in Florida, we’ve got more than a few options for quick, inexpensive trips to waterfront destinations (seriously — you’re almost never more than an hour or two from a beach).
But while we love a good beach trip, the real hidden gems of Florida are the natural springs that dot the landscape from the panhandle down through the center of the state. If you’re headed to Florida, consider putting the springs — any springs — on your “must-see” list.
If you’re not headed to Florida anytime soon, there’s probably a great water feature (a lake, a river or even a natural spring) near you that would make for a fun, inexpensive weekend getaway.
Not convinced? Last year, three of us Penny Hoarders took an overnight trip to a natural spring located near Gainesville, Florida — about a two-hour drive north from The Penny Hoarder offices in St. Petersburg. The grand total? $137.57. Split three ways, that means we each got to take an exciting (and we even managed to make it relaxing!) overnight adventure for just $45.
Want to take a waterfront (or, well, maybe water-adjacent) vacation of your own on the cheap this summer? Here’s exactly how we did it.
How We Prepared
Our plan: A 36(ish)-hour road trip to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park (which was only turned into a state park in 2017 — for the better part of a century, it was privately owned and passed down through a family before being sold to the state).
On a Wednesday morning, two of my coworkers and I packed a red SUV with a cooler, two tents, three sleeping bags, two day’s worth of food, a few flashlights, a camp stove and various camping and cooking supplies.
Between the three of us, we already had the tents, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, cooler and flashlights. We borrowed the camping stove from a friend and picked up a small tank of propane for it (a 2-pack for $6.24 at Walmart). Additionally, we bought a can of bug spray and a citronella candle to keep the infamous Florida mosquitoes at bay ($5.89 and $5.29 at Target, respectively).
We also bought food for the four meals we’d be eating on our trip, but we’ll come back to that.
Total so far: $17.42
How We Got There
With its mild weather, flat, seemingly unending landscapes and straight-shot interstates, Florida makes road trips an easy decision. We were driving from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, located just north of Gainesville — a 168-mile drive.
We budgeted $60 for gas, and while the round trip itself only cost us about $47, we did quite a bit of driving around town while we were there, so our estimate was pretty accurate.
If you’re renting a car to take a day trip to break up a Disney World vacation or are traveling from out of state, your transportation costs might be higher. But that’s all the more reason to find a natural hot or cold spring, lake or river in your state that would allow for a quick day or overnight trip from your own home.
Total so far: $77.42
Where We Stayed
After checking out the park’s onsite campground, a couple of motels in the area and a few listings on Airbnb, we opted for an Airbnb campground facility.
Affectionately dubbed Bowman’s Landing, the sprawling 12.5-acre wooded property on the banks of the Santa Fe consists of a main house, several standalone “tiny” cabins and a handful of primitive tent camping sites, one of which has a six-person tent already set up for those who don’t own one or want to buy one on their way in.
We chose the primitive tent camping sites and paid $15 per person per night for a total of $45, but we were able to use two tent sites. A night in one of the five rustic mini cabins (these sleep between two and five people — the layouts vary) will cost you between $55 and $62, depending on which you choose.
A night in the main house will run you $135, but it sleeps eight people — so if you’re splitting the cost with a group, it’s not a bad option at $16.88 per head.
The overnight campsite rental also comes with access to kayaks and canoes for puttering around the riverfront, free firewood for your campfire and the option to pay an additional $15 per person for a personal river cruise and tour.
We opted for the Airbnb listing for the chance to see a bit more of the Santa Fe river and surrounding areas, but we could have stayed onsite at Gilchrist Blue Springs for just $18 total for a tent or RV camping spot (which accommodates up to eight people and at least a couple of tents).
Total so far: $122.42
What We Ate
We ate as cheaply as we could, and ended up spending just $15 on food for the entire trip.
We each ate breakfast before leaving home in the morning, so we needed food for lunch and dinner, and then breakfast and lunch the next day. We picked up a loaf of bread ($2.39), a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly ($2.29 and $2.09), a box of pasta and a jar of sauce (99 cents and $1.89) and protein muffins (homemade, but we estimated $2.50 to make). We also stopped for coffee at a gas station before our morning swim, which added $3 to our total.
All in all, we paid about $15.15 for food for three people eating four meals.
Total so far: $137.57
What We Did
There are a surprising amount of fun things to do at and around Gilchrist Blue Springs — and around most Florida springs parks — despite their often remote locations.
It costs $6 per vehicle or $2 per person (pedestrians and cyclists) to enter Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park with a day pass — a pretty significant difference from the $10 a head the park charged when it was privately owned. (The park attendant on duty when we arrived early that morning gave us free entry — otherwise, our final trip total would have come out to $143.57.)
Once you’re inside the gates, how you spend your day is (largely, anyways) up to you!
There’s a rental station inside the park (other springs parks have similar services) that offers inner tube, canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, as well as the option to purchase a mask and snorkel. Pricing varies from $45 for an all-day canoe rental to $7 for an all-day inner tube rental, while a mask and snorkel set will cost you $20.
You’re also welcome to bring your own boogie board, inner tube (you can purchase inner tubes and other pool floats at most dollar stores) and mask-and-snorkel sets. You can bring your own canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board, too, but if you want to catch the shuttle up or down river, you’ll still have to pay the shuttle fee.
We opted to stick to masks and snorkels (which we brought with us), so we could take in everything below the surface and explore freely without worrying about keeping track of a tube or boat.
In the main pool, a diving platform situated over the spring head lends itself to hours (and hours) of fun, with a constant line of people waiting their turn to jump off it into the chilly water below.
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Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park also has a network of h [...]
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