Quora

What’s It Like to Airbnb-Hop Instead of Renting an Apartment?

James Altucher speaks onstage during Airbnb Open LA on Nov. 18 in Los Angeles.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Airbnb

This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Answer by James Altucher, author, entrepreneur, and Wall Street investor:

For a year I’ve mostly lived in Airbnbs. I decided my life needed a purge. I don’t know why I felt this way—probably a combination of a lot of things. It wasn’t a consistent life strategy. It’s just something I did. I threw everything out, I didn’t renew two apartments I was renting, and I didn’t start renting anyplace new. I had no place to live.

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I’ve stayed in so many Airbnbs that the founders of Airbnb asked me to speak at their annual Airbnb Open, where 15,000 hosts were in attendance. I was the “super guest.” I’ve seen every possible Airbnb in a dozen or so different countries and all over the U.S. Not every situation is perfect, and there are some situations that are tricky. And it’s a lot different from having a place called “home” that you know you can kick back and just disappear to.

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Some questions:

Is it more expensive? Yes, it’s more expensive than renting—maybe 10 percent more, give or take. But I don’t have to provide credit scores, references, and taxes, nor do I have to interview with landlords. And I don’t have to provide first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and security deposit. So it’s a lot easier for me, it saves a lot of time, and I don’t have to deal with any hassles. For instance, in my entire life I’ve never had a credit card (I’ve had only debit cards), so my credit score is weird. I always have to explain this because unlike the rest of America, I have never had credit card debt. People get suspicious and I’ve even had to have my accountant write letters. I also don’t have to buy furniture. Many good places have tens of thousands of dollars worth of furniture and artwork. I have to pay for none of that, but I get to live as if I own all of it. I love that.

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What if you want to stay in one place for a long time? I’ve never in my life wanted to stay in one place for a long time, so I know myself. But even if I did want to “settle” for awhile, there are many good places on Airbnb where you can “rent” by the month through the system. In July, I have to stay in Brooklyn for five weeks because my daughter is taking a class there. So I will “move” from Manhattan to Brooklyn for those five weeks and find a place that’s convenient for her to get to her class and me to be around stores, bookstores, friends, etc.

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Is it hard to move a lot? You have to be packing all the time? I don’t own anything. It’s one bag with a couple of outfits and one bag for computers. When I spoke at the Airbnb conference I brought up all my belongings onto the stage. That’s how easy it is for me to move—I can pack and move within 60 seconds of writing this answer.

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What if no place becomes available? One time I did encounter that. And I called up Airbnb and got someone on the phone and the representative was nice enough to make phone calls and find a place for me.

What if the owner of a place claims you broke something and you didn’t? This happened to me once, and it’s unclear; maybe it was my fault. Airbnb has excellent mediation services, and nobody wants to cause trouble, so we figured it out.

Will you ever settle down in one place? I don’t know. Probably not. I like seeing how many people live. I already know how I live—how great is it to peek into the lives of dozens or maybe eventually hundreds of other lives and learn more about this great big species called the human race. We’re moving into an economy where it’s not about ownership but about access. I love not owning things but being able to access anything I want without too much hassle or with no hassle. So maybe I plan to live this way forever. But just like I don’t like to carry things around. I don’t like to carry the future around. So I take it one day at a time.

What’s the hardest thing about living out of a suitcase and Airbnb hopping? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

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