1. Meet Katrina, 27. Like many people in the news lately, she quit her 9-to-5 job at a startup to travel the world full-time.
“I felt such a huge gap in my life between where I was and where I wanted to be,” Katrina tells BuzzFeed Life. “I felt too close to people and society telling me what I should be doing with my life, and I wanted to get away for a while and just be.” (Katrina spoke with BuzzFeed Life under the condition that she remained anonymous, and asked to be referred to by this name — and we verified her story.)
2. But unlike many full-time travelers who have ended up broke as a result of their wanderlust, Katrina has found a way to remain financially stable.
3. She’s been renting out her 2-bedroom California condo, which she owns, on Airbnb while she’s away, and using the money to fund her trips.
The condo is 1,100 square feet and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Katrina rents it out by the month and charges $4,600 to $5,100 a month, depending on circumstance. Her clients are mostly working professionals in town for long-term projects.
Granted, not everyone can afford to buy condos to rent out in the first place, but most of her tactics are still applicable to those who don’t own their own places.
4. Her plan is working. Since January 2015, she’s hopped around to 21 different places — and she remains debt-free:
6. “On average, the condo is making over $60K a year, and then mortgage, maintenance, taxes, and cleaning costs around $30K,” Katrina tells BuzzFeed Life.
9. 1. First, be sure that Airbnb-ing your place is legal.
Local laws are different all across the globe. In New York, for instance, it’s illegal to Airbnb your apartment for under 30 days if you’re renting. Here’s all of the legal info you need to know.
10. 2. Make sure your apartment is clean, tidy, and well-decorated.
“Making people feel like they are staying in a nice place is key to getting good feedback and charging a premium price,” she says. “I furnished a lot of my apartment with name-brand decor — World Market, Pottery Barn, Overstock, and Ikea — off of Craigslist, so I paid way less.”
11. 3. Communicate with your guests — A LOT.
“Guests always have a lot of questions. Before they get worked up about them, send a long, thorough, detailed email with EVERYTHING they need or want to know about how to get in, what to do, etc. They won’t have any questions after they get that email; that’s how good it has to be,” Katrina tells BuzzFeed Life.
Bonus: Include a list of places to go in your neighborhood — coffee shops, activities, views, restaurants, and more.
13. 5. And take advantage of Airbnb’s free professional photography service.
Did you even know they have one? Pro shots make your place look so much better, so you’re more likely to attract better guests.
14. 6. Score as many cheap travel deals as you can.
Katrina bought her one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, where she’s decided to stay for about a year, for a total of $9.50 (in taxes), because she opened a credit card that gave her 50,000 miles in rewards. Also: Check out these smart budget travel tips, and these affordable countries to head to in the first place.
15. 7. “Be aware of your thoughts and how they’re impacting your life, and trust that if you want something authentically and badly enough, it can be brought to life,” says Katrina.
That’s a lesson she can’t emphasize enough. Even though she misses her routine and her family and her “impromptu girls’ wine nights,” she wanted this experience so badly and wouldn’t give it up for anything.
16. “The best part is the humility and the freedom of knowing that there are so many definitions of success in this world, so many definitions of good and bad — and simply so many ways to live.”
And when people ask her when she will go back to “real life,” she is quick to point out that her life right now IS her real life. “I felt I wasn’t living a ‘real life’ when I was living less authentically, bound by other people’s expectations and definitions of success that were not my own. For me, life has never been as real as it is now.”
Several photos originally included in this post have been removed.
Katrina’s renters are mostly professionals in town for long-term projects. A previous version of this post misstated their purpose.
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