Over 50 life

Your Over 50 Side Hustle: Make Extra Income on Airbnb

Updated October 30, 2023

Need a little fun money? Why not make some extra income on Airbnb as a side hustle?

Are you familiar with the term “side hustle”? It’s simply something you do on the side to make a little extra income. Of course if you don’t have a day job, then your side hustle could become your main hustle. If you have a pension, Social Security or investment income your side hustle could be a fun little business you run to keep the cash flowing.

I have mixed emotions about retirement. On one hand, the idea of not having to be somewhere at a set time is appealing. On the other hand, all research points to living longer and healthier when our minds and bodies are active.

How to make extra money in retirement

So back to the idea of a side hustle. Whether you pursue your hustle to keep a little extra income coming in or whether you do it as a bit of fun, it can only be a positive right? And that’s what we’re after. Keeping positive and staying active and engaged.

make extra income

Make Extra Income on Airbnb or VRBO

Make a little extra by signing up to the booking site Airbnb to rent out a spare room or your home while you’re away.

In my travels, I’ve stayed at quite a few different Airbnb’s. It’s revolutionised travel. Gives real meaning to the concept of a home from home. I love having the option of making my own tea and cereal in the morning and not having to be confined to a hotel room. Apparently so do lots of other folks! On any given night over 2 million guests are staying in an Airbnb.

If you’re not familiar with it, Airbnb is a guest hosting site with a worldwide audience. You put up your flat, home, room or casita for rent for a night or as many nights as you choose. Your guests come from anywhere in the world. Basically you become a mini hotelier. You get to decide how much to charge for your space with some discretion about who can book your space.

The upside is you can make some serious cash. The downside is you have to think like an innkeeper. Your home, flat or vacation rental is no longer yours alone. You share it with “virtual” strangers. It does require a mindset shift. You need to be willing to give up a certain amount of control. If that’s not something you would be comfortable with or if you don’t see yourself as the gracious hostess type, then perhaps this side hustle isn’t right for you.

How Do You Get Started?

  • Visit and search for your town and look at what’s available. Look at the photos, amenities and descriptions.
  • There are primarily two types of listings. Shared and Entire Place to yourself. What would you be able to offer? A room with a shared bath. A room with a private bath. A room or annex with private entrance. Perhaps your second home?
  • While you’re searching, look at pricing. Focus on your town or local area and get a feel for what other hosts are charging.
  • Let’s say you have a room with private bathroom and the going rate is $59. per night. With Airbnb, the host  and guest each pay a service charge. In addition, you as host may charge an extra fee for cleaning. Depending on whether or not you do the cleaning yourself or hire someone, that could be extra income. Deduct the service charge and that’s what you net per night.
  • Do the math. If you have a monthly occupancy rate of 25% that’s about 7 nights x 59. equals $413. extra income per month. If you have an entire place to rent out, you charge more. A nightly rate of $125. per night would create $875 per month income. Minus expenses.
  • If you’re in a rural area, you probably won’t be able to charge as much as in a high demand city. However you’ll probably have less competition and will get a different type of traveler. Which type of guest would you like? A business person or a casual traveler who may be biking or hiking through the countryside.
  • Don’t forget to factor in the extra costs you may incur renting out a room or your entire place. Figure out what additional utilities like electric/gas will cost you. Add in the costs to provide good linens, bedding, towels etc. If you have a kitchen you’ll have to stock it with essentials like dishwater, pots and pans and utensils.
  • With a shared room situation, you may also provide some kind of breakfast although it’s not mandatory. If your rental is self-contained, guests can do their own food prep. You might provide the coffee, tea etc.
  • Do some research in your local area for additional charges like taxes.. In some larger cities legislation has been passed to collect sales or hotel taxes from Airbnb bookings. You may also be subject to withholding from your earnings if you live in the US for example.
  • Keep in mind, you’re now running a business. Consult a tax specialist or accountant to find out what expenses can be deducted from your new side hustle income. So keep track of the cost of toilet paper, towels and any other expenses!

Do some soul searching sweetie. If you’re a very private person, this side hustle may not be for you. If you’re not comfortable with computers and using the Internet you may find it challenging to run an online B&B.

The Fine Print on Becoming a Host on Airbnb

However if you’re up for being a hostess with the mostest you can make some serious money and start stashing it away for a rainy day! If you’ve never stayed in an Airbnb property, you may find this article helpful. I’ve also written about how to make your listing stand out from the crowd.

Are you ready to get started? Wonderful! You’re going to love that extra income. Here’s how to calculate what you might be able to make in your area.

Not sure about managing all the different age ranges you may encounter with an online B&B? A new site has started up just for over fifties. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Lots of lovely people out there, it could be just the thing to spark your life up and add to your bottom line.

About Author

With over 30 years in a creative role in advertising and publishing, and a lifetime of journeys between the US and UK, I've created Hipoverfifty for you. I hope my journey and perspective will guide you on yours.