Airbnb travel San Francisco

How Much Does it Cost to Live Out of Airbnbs for a Year?

“So, how much is this costing you?”

Question. Of. The. Year. Whenever we excitedly present our new lifestyle to a friend or colleague, the very first question, every single time, without fail, is about the money. “How much does that cost?” “Oooooo that must be expensive,” or my personal favorite, “How does that stack up to regular rent prices?” (Please, if someone knows what regular rent prices are, please tell me and give them to me, because as far as I’m concerned, they don’t exist in San Francisco.)

The thing is, I get it. Most non-traditional living situations that aren’t hostels, collectives, or prisons, are assumed to be pricier than say, owning or renting a home. If I wasn’t the one adding the numbers up all the time, I’d want to know how much it costs too. And that, my friends, is why I’ve prepared a breakdown of all of the costs associated with this adventure between April 1st (when we began) and August 16th (the date that we’re currently book through.) Now go get your weird cost-of-living-comparison-buzz on, so you can start questioning (or justifying) your life choices.

The Cost Breakdown


Cost per night: $80
How many nights we stayed: 6
Airbnb’s service fee: $58

Total cost: $538


Cost per night: $93
How many nights we stayed: 7
Airbnb’s service fee: $78
Occupancy Tax: $91

Total cost: $859


Cost per night: $56
How many nights we stayed: 28
Airbnb’s service fee: $124
Occupancy Taxes: $220

Total cost: $1947.00

West Portal

Cost per night: $49
How many nights we’re staying: 35
Airbnb service fee: $128

Total cost: $1843.00

The Inner Sunset

Cost per night: $69
How many nights we’re staying: 30
Airbnb service fee: $140
Cleaning fee: $50

Total cost: $2273

Duboce Triangle

Cost per night: $76
How many nights we’re staying: 33
Airbnb service fee: $150

Total cost: $2652


A closer look at the numbers:


Total spent on rent between April 1st and August 16th:


This averages out to:

  • $2247.11 per month for two people
  • $1123.55 per month for one person
  • $73.28 per day for two people
  • $36.64 per day for one person

Total amount of Airbnb service fees paid between April 1st and August 16th:


Total value of food and drinks consumed at Airbnb meet ups thus far:

$136 (wow, we have a lot of catching up to do.)

Occupancy Tax paid: 

$311 (This is San Francisco’s Accommodation Tax. We have to pay 14% of the total on trips that we book for fewer than 30 days, because that length of time constitutes them as a short term rental.)

And my favorite stat in the lot…

Utilities paid:



What will the rest of the year cost us?

We are trying to keep our month stays under the $2400 mark, but admittedly, it’s getting tough. The closer we move towards San Francisco’s more desirable neighborhoods, the more expensive the cost of our monthly stays are. And I’m not talking $3,000 expensive. I’m talking $5,000 – $8,000 per month expensive. There is A LOT of money here. The fact that we’re two people works both for and against us. In most of the spaces, there’s a significant up-charge for a second person, but splitting the total price is still a better deal than it would be to pay for a space on our own.

The rent crisis here is real, and it sucks. We don’t feel like we’re beating the game by living in Airbnbs, but we certainly don’t feel like we’re losing it either. The experience, knowledge, and connections were gaining with each new stay is making us a more educated contender in the rental market, and when you’re a brand new resident of the most expensive city in the US, I’m not sure that’s something we can put a price on.

Follow along on Instagram or join our newsletter below to stay updated on our whereabouts, finances, and other logistics of living out of Airbnbs for a year (because trust me, there’s ‘lots of them!)

Airbnb Travel San Francisco

We’ve Been Living Out of Airbnbs for a Month!

Hey guess what?! We’ve been living out of Airbnbs for one whole month! In the last 4 weeks, we’ve stayed in 3 different homes with 4 different hosts and 10 housemates from 5 unique countries, all while working full time jobs and hanging out with old and new friends around town. To sum it up, we’re exhausted, a few pounds heavier, and pretty damn happy.

But since we’re at the one month mark, we figured that now is as good of a time as any to check in and review what’s working, what’s not, and what we love about California. Because honestly, while there are some things about our new lifestyle that we love, there are certainly some aspects that I don’t think we’ll miss once we have a place of our own. Enough chit chat. Let’s review.

  • Living With Less. Living out of a single suitcase has been an amazing lifestyle change. My wardrobe currently consists of 33 items total and a lot of those items are black and white. I use accessories, jackets and shoes to make outfits feel unique, and so far, I have yet to be bored with them. The takeaway: Spending less time picking out what we’re wearing has allowed us to spend more time nurturing new friendships and adventuring around San Francisco together.
  • Cooking. We miss luxurious kitchen gadgets like sharp knives, potato peelers, and strainers. These things do not exist in most temporary housing situations, and therefore make cooking at home slightly more difficult.
  • The Hills. Okay, so the hills? They are much steeper than we thought. Just walking to the top of our street a couple of times a day feels like the cardio workout equivalent of running a mile. I realize how pathetic that sounds and I’m working on getting in better “hills shape.” They’re just like really steep, you guys.
  • The Fruits and Vegetables. The produce here is on another level. It literally takes up half of the grocery store. Also, have you ever seen orange cauliflower or white asparagus? It’s everywhere here. And the strawberries? They taste like candy. Getting our daily serving of fruits and vegetables has not been a problem thus far.
  • Bike Theft. We’re glad we brought two bike locks, because there is literally no one here who doesn’t have two bike locks. If you only have one bike lock, your bike will get stolen and then you won’t buy another one because you’ll tell everyone it’s a sign from the universe that you’re simply not meant to own a bike in San Francisco. We’ll both know, however, that it’s just a super convenient excuse to not have to suffer through riding the hills. You know who you are.
  • The Little Things: Like finding a piece of tape or an envelope. These things are hard to come across when you don’t have a designated “office supply drawer” in your life. It forces us get resourceful though. Like the other day I bought a 99 cent card at Walgreens just so I could mail a check to my accountant, and frankly, I think he’ll be appreciative of the “Just Because” card included with his payment.
  • Internet. When you work from home and don’t technically have a “home,” you have to trust your Airbnb hosts to set up a reliable internet connection for you. While we’ve had pretty good luck in a majority of our stays this month, there was one where the connection was shockingly slow. Airbnb, if you’re listening: can you add a section in the host’s profile where they can run a speedtest directly from within their profile, so that their upload and download speed can be displayed?
  • Cleaning. Hey, so guess what we don’t have to do every week? Clean! Aside from keeping our room neat and tidy and cleaning up the kitchen after we cook, we aren’t obligated to vacuum, mop, dust, or spray anything clean. Most of our hosts handle the cleaning on their own or hire a cleaning service. Either way, I’m not the one doing it and that is something that I will not take for granted even for a second.
  • Public Transporation. It’s all good until it’s 40 degrees and 11pm. I forgot how much I hated taking public transportation home at night. I’m the kind of person whose mind switches off when I decide it’s time for bed, and unfortunately that doesn’t fly when you have a 45 commute ahead of you no matter which way you’re headed. #cityproblems #sorrynotsorry
  • Routine. I’ve been taking routines for granted. Living out of so many different places makes building a routine difficult and life without any sort of routine makes my brain confused and my reactions emotional. Shit isn’t good. But I’m working on making it better. We’ve realized that we just need to look at routines in a different way now, and that’s a part of the journey that we plan on sharing.

So while this month has certainly had it’s ups and downs, we’re here, we’re alive, we’re happy, and we’re SO ready to move to our next neighborhood, West Portal! This Sunday (two days away, but who is counting?) our new Airbnb host is coming to pick up our bags so that we can take the journey to our new Airbnb by bike. How cool is that?

Stay tuned for a thorough review of our month in Ingleside and follow me on Instagram for snapshots of our new digs in West Portal!