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budget travel

Budget Travel

The Best Remote Airbnbs for less than $200/night

While 2020 may not be filled with the international trips you had planned (we were devastated to cancel our trip to Norway…WHY of all the years Corona??) that doesn’t mean all travel has to stop. These remote Airbnbs will have your travel soul filled once again.

We’ve been embracing this summer and finding joy in the things we can still do — like a last-minute road trip to a National Park we’ve never been to (plan your own National Park trip HERE)!

A getaway off the grid will help eliminate any of these “new normal” anxieties of travel regulations, mask mandates, and business closures. For a socially distanced getaway, plan a road trip to one of these remote Airbnbs (and don’t forget your road trip essentials).

Whether you want a unique stay in a renovated train car or a treehouse or you’re just looking for a cozy cabin in the woods, here are a few remote Airbnbs we can’t wait to book ourselves — all for under $200 a night, STEALS!

An A-Frame in the Woods


Where: Brook Park, Minnesota


The restored A-frame of our dreams! This precious 1978 A-frame cabin named after “Little North” in Swedish is located on 5 acres of woods along Snake River in Minnesota. The owners have restored the cabin and use it as an extension to their vintage shop in Minneapolis. The rehabilitated space focuses on sustainability and aims to keep era-specific furniture and pieces in the space. This place is clearly special and incredibly well decorated, at the top of our best remote Airbnbs in the US for SURE.

Brand New Studio Earthship

Where: Taos, New Mexico


If you’re ready for an out of this world adventure, behold the Studio Earthship. The owner built this house by hand and it’s eco-friendly — rainwater is caught and used to generate electricity while staying at a steady 72 degrees year-round. While the location is off the grid, you won’t be short with amenities; this house still features wifi, Netflix, TV, and a luxuriously deep tub to relax in.

Converted WWII Train Car with Patio


Where: Maryville, Tennessee


For any history buffs out there, book this converted train car dating back to World War Two. Platform1346 is a renovated troop train kitchen car that features wood flooring, modern furnishings, and an open layout. Relax under the stars with the outdoor fire pit, gazebo, and BBQ station. You’ll be greeted with one-of-a-kind details and exceptional hospitality — the hosts have worked to transform this train car, an airplane hangar, and an old camper trailer into unique Airbnb experiences.

Glass and Grain Bin Cottage

Where: Manhattan, Kansas


It seems they can transform anything into an Airbnb these days and this grain bin cottage is no different. If you’re looking for a unique stay in the Flint Hills, this stay is perfect for you! Two grain bins were connected using glass walls so you can sit and be one with nature without going outside — it’s the perfect combination to be in the middle of a peaceful sanctuary. Enjoy sipping your morning coffee in the living room, looking out the glass windows, or head outside to enjoy the fire pit and grill.

Gashes Fluss Haus


Asheville, North Carolina


OK I think this might be my favorite remote Airbnb on the list…while this two-story cottage is over 100 years old, you would never guess it because of its rustic yet modern transformation. It features whitewashed stone walls, but still feels incredibly cozy because of its open wood-burning stove. Cuddle up on the love seat or massage tired feet with their polished river-rock shower floor. It provides a cottage feel with modern touches — perfect for a cozy getaway.

Modern Off-the-Grid Treehouse 

Where: Tiller, Oregon


Warning: this stay is best for those that don’t have a fear of heights. This truly unique and private treehouse sits on 160 acres of land. So not only are you offered privacy sitting 40 feet in the air, Summit Prairie treehouse is also situated atop a 40-acre meadow surrounded by Umpqua National forest. This unique stay was modeled after Fire Lookout Towers built by the US Forest Service in the early 1900s. Old world inspiration enhanced with modern essentials — it features a full kitchen, running water, propane stove, heaters and lamps. Spend the day relaxing, lounging in hammocks down the hill, or soaking in the secluded wood-fired spring-fed hot tub.

The Majestic Mountain Retreat


Prescott, Arizona


A serene mountain retreat with decor and design worthy of a TV  show — this majestic retreat known as the Walker Getaway was featured on Cash Pad on CNBC and it shows! They made over this small cabin and now the thoughtful decor and details truly make this serene setting a place to enjoy. The house sits at 6,500 feet so you’re surrounded by beautiful vistas. Use the full kitchen or outdoor gas grill to cook and enjoy your meals at the alfresco dining area outside. This remote getaway just looks MAGICAL.

Charming Riverfront Cottage

Where: Brightwood, Oregon


Enjoy the beauty of Sandy River just 100 feet from the back door of this charming cottage. Just seven miles from town but surrounded by scenic pine trees, this one-level cottage has plenty to do. Utilize the fire pit for smores, enjoy the wood-burning fireplace, or relax outside and listen to the sound of the river. With Mt. Hood just 24 miles away, there’s also plenty to explore when you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

Modern Vermont Cabin


Where: Wardsboro, Vermont


If you’re looking for a chic ski getaway, this Vermont cabin is within 20 minutes from Mount Snow and Stratton Mountain Resort. This cozy Adirondack style cabin is uniquely modern, with clean mid-century inspiration vastly different compared to surrounding cabins. Enjoy the outdoors to bike, hike, ski, or simply relax. Cuddle up with your favorite book in the living room next to the vintage fireplace for any cold-weather weekends. Of all the remote Airbnbs on the list, this one definitely looks the most cozy.

Modern Cabin Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Where: Big Island, Virginia


Escape from the busyness of life with this tiny house. At just over 300 square feet, this cabin is the definition of tiny living but still offers enough space and plenty to do. The surprisingly spacious floor plan can accommodate 5 people with a loft bedroom and cathedral ceilings. It sits just minutes from Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, and countless hiking trails. Located on 2 and a half acres and right near a mountain stream, this space is great for any outdoor enthusiasts.

Where are you looking forward to exploring next? Hopefully, we’ve left you with plenty of inspiration for your next off the grid vacation.


How To Prep Your Home for Airbnb Guests

Making money while you travel — sounds like a dream come true right?

Annnddd if you haven’t checked out our How to Make Money While You Travel 101, it is definitely worth a read HERE.

With the rise of vacation rentals, there’s an easy way to utilize that empty house of yours and make money on your next trip. But turning your home into an Airbnb takes a lot more than adding a listing online with a few pictures. From basic amenities to how to store your valuables, here are a few key things to consider when preparing the home for Airbnb guests.

Make Sure It’s Safe

First things first — you want a safe experience for your guests. Critically examine your home with safety in mind. Are there exposed wires or loose steps?

When we were prepping our home for our first Airbnb guests during our month long stay in Italy (see how we did it all for 1k here!), there were definitely a handle of things we just lived with and didn’t think about, but knew needed to be fixed (i.e. that hole in the bathroom wall that we never fixed, or those pesky closet doors that posed a risk for little fingers)

Take stock of all the potential hazards and fix them before you begin advertising your home. Make sure there are working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Add a small first-aid kit somewhere in your home and of course, leave your phone number or email address for guests to reach you in case there are questions or problems.

Lock Away Your Valuables

The most important part of inviting guests into your home is safeguarding your personal items. There are two parts to this — the first is to screen potential guests. The second is to remove your valuables completely.

This includes jewelry, family photos, legal papers, fine china, firearms, and other items important to you. If you don’t want to remove them from your property completely, decide on accessible areas for your guests. You can keep basements, rooms, cupboards, and closets off-limits to keep as storage while you have guests. I know so many Airbnb’s we have visited have that one closet that is locked shut….that you wonder what might just be in there, but is effective nontheless.

We are pretty avid minimalist, so we really don’t have much to lock away when we have guests…and typically we are taking our camera and laptops with us. But we do keep a small lockbox, for other valuables we don’t want accessible to guests.

(Also just for your peace of mind- worst case scenario if something did happen, Airbnb’s Host Protection is BOMB.)

Keep It Simple

Minimalism is key here — guests don’t want to live among your belongings. We push our clothes to the back of the closet, remove our kids artwork on the fridge, put out personal tolietries in a basket under the sink…you get the picture.

Don’t feel like you need to completely strip you home to a stark hotel room, but definitely clear the clutter and remove those super personal, red flashing light “someone lives here!”, items.

Lock in a Competitive Price

Airbnb only acts as a way to make money while you travel if you actually book guests! Do research on comparable listings to get an idea of rates and lock in your competitive pricing. Update your calendar regularly and consider adding a discount for extended stays since it’s easier to manage fewer people coming and going.

We actually use the AirBnb smart pricing feature and it has worked great for us! It automatically adjusts the price based on the time of year, demand etc….we have never not had a booking for a time we opened up our calendar.

In addition to a comprehensive description, make sure your photographs are well-lit and plentiful. Consider hiring a professional photographer for this portion. We actually contacted our realtor and she had her photographer take our images for us for only $100! Well, worth the upfront cost given the thousands we’ve made off our empty house while traveling…it really does make a difference.

Don’t Forget the Amenities

Make sure there is a comfortable bed, good pillows, and high-quality sheets. It’s helpful to provide extra pillows and blankets. Make sure there are clean hand towels and bath towels.

Mu number one thought when we first considered listitng our house on Airbnb while we traveled was- “but they aren’t going to sleep in our sheets right??”

Have an extra sets of towels, bed linens, and pillow protectors for your guests aside from the one your family normally uses. You may also want to consider a separate mattress topper and pillows for an extra level of sanitation for your home. We stash our personal linens in closets while we are gone, and have our house keeper but them back on at the exit cleaning before we return!

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Leave Written Out Rules

Have written instructions on how to connect to the internet, how to use the TV, and operate other major appliances like the AC, heater, or security systems…as well as all those weird quirks about your house that only you know:)

Outline expectations for parking, trash removal, and checkout for guests. Make sure to state any house rules as well. For example:

  • Can your guests have parties?
  • Is smoking allowed? If yes, specify where.
  • May your guests play loud music after 10 pm?
  • If you allow pets, provide specific pet rules.
  • Do you have sensistive plumbing?


We always schedule our house cleaner to come the morning the guests are checking in and the day they check out. AirBnb allows you to set a custom cleaning fee in your listing, so we opted to have that fee cover both the initial and final cleaning.

So we do all the straightening up, and then we leave the actual wiping down, vacuuming, mopping etc to the house keeper…we tried to do it all ourselves once, and trust us, THIS is the way to go. Makes leaving a breeze!

It’s always a bit of a mad dash to prep our house for guests, on top of all the work to get ready for a trip…but it is 100% worth it when we get that deposit in our account that essentially just paid for our trip! (Not the mention coming home to a sparkling clean house!)

We also love adding thoughtful touches, like a personalized welcome note or travel inspired touches around the home to really elevate our guests experience. It’s the little things that take a guests stay from good to unforgettable.

Ultimately, to prepare your home for Airbnb guests means to prepare to become a great Airbnb host. This boils down to one factor — a great guest experience. There are so many great places to stay on Airbnb, so to set yourself apart, be friendly and responsive without being obtrusive. By improving the guest experience you’ll build relationships, get returning guests, and earn amazing reviews — in addition to earning that extra cash!

Get to more traveling now! Sign up to be a Airbnb host HERE!

Budget Travel

Italy: 1 Month for $1k

“We can’t travel now, not with the kids at this age”

“We don’t have the money, we could never afford it.”

Sound familiar? We dreamed FOR YEARS of taking anniversary trips to Europe, but to leave the kids for that long? Could we really afford to invest thousands of dollars on just a week or two?

Finally, after way too many hours spent wanderlusting and booking nothing, we said ENOUGH. Europe was going to happen, with kids in tow. Because life is way too short and we didn’t want to wait 10 years to get back there!

It is possible and hopefully we can share with you a bit of our story and the helpful how’s to stop merely Insta-Wasting so much time and start booking, traveling, and if you have children, bringing them into that passion of yours too!

Being self-employed with Wayfaren, we absolutely know we have some of the flexibility others do not, and we do not take that for granted one second. But how we made it possible to spend 1 month in Italy for 1k (not including the cost of food and transportation within the city) can absolutely be applied to anyone, in any stage of life, in any situation.


Meet your new best friend…your really fun, dangerous best friend.

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a website that finds incredible deals on international flights. When an airline makes a mistake (error in the system, typo, etc) or offers a great sale, Scott finds it and emails you with instructions on how to book- then boom, you go on that trip you have been dreaming about for way less than you ever thought possible.

With Scott’s deal alerts, we ended up getting peak summer season tickets to Europe for $490/each. Normally they are $1000-1200! Yes, three tickets for the price of what would normally be ONE ticket…unreal right?!

To sign up and get the basic alerts is free. Or you can upgrade to the Premium Service (3x the deals sent directly to your inbox) which we would recommend. At $30 annually this more than makes up for itself even if you end up booking just one flight. Ever.

Simply set your departure city/cities and the deal alerts are catered specifically to you, straight to your inbox. Filter out the noise and only get deal alerts departing from your favorite airports, but consider opening your departure city to more than just your hometown. For example, if we were to see a $350 ticket from Denver to Greece, we would jump on that immediately because we know we can find a $100-200 ticket from Dallas (our departure airport) to Denver…or better yet cover the Dallas to Denver loop with points (more on that below).

PRO TIP: Always use an Incognito window when researching flights, that way you know you are getting the absolute lowest price! Airlines, hotels, search engines will adjust prices based on time of day, how many times you’ve viewed certain routes etc…Incognito always!

Know you want to head to Paris sometime in the Fall? Sign up for the alerts and keep you eye peeled on your inbox for notifications to Paris, if you can be a bit flexible on your dates and departures I can guarantee you you will snag a killer deal that will make booking that trip no question! For example, just today I received an email about NY to Paris flight for $270!


We use our credit cards for everything, and I mean everything. Maybe a bit unconventional for some, but when you keep a close tab on your bank account and use the credit card like a debit card, paying it off in full every month, you can rack up points pretty.darn.quickly with those welcome bonuses. And points equal FREE CASH, the only time in the world that money actually does grow on trees.

For our trip to Italy, we ended up redeeming $1980+ in credit cards points! Money we earned simply by using our credit card regularly for all personal and Wayfaren business purchases and snagging a solid welcome bonus.


If you are new to the travel hacking world, we recommend you start HERE with our beginner’s guide to travel hacking for families. Our favorite cards for travel rewards are hands down the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Southwest Rapid Rewards cards. When you sign up for a large credit card, you receive a large amount of points (40,000+) for spending x amount in the first few months of having that card…that alone pays for one international airline ticket. The Southwest Card we use for domestic flights, and the Sapphire we reserve for international redemptions.

Flights, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals…we’ve redeemed our points for nearly everything travel related over the years.

Signing up for travel geared credit cards from the beginning was a priority for us, as we know travel was something we loved and wanted to do more of, but couldn’t quite afford (can I get an Amen?). By using our credit cards like debit cards, paying them off in full each month, we were able to make our travels dreams a reality.


By now, if you haven’t heard of Airbnb you have been living under one very hard and heavy rock. Far and away our favorite way to travel, especially with kids. A comfortable and familiar home-like setting for little ones, more bang for your buck, the ease of being able to have separate rooms (read: more sleep for all), and what really feels like a more authentic experience in your destination city.

When researching apartments in Italy, even for very cramped accommodation with a poor location in the city, we were STILL looking at $2500-4000 for the month- and that was on the low end!

We knew we didn’t have the cash for that type of investment, yet we also didn’t want to give up on our dream of this Italy trip. So what did we do? We got creative and made it happen. Necessity is the mother of invention, isn’t it?


So, we decided to list our home on Airbnb. A few things fixed around the house, a handful of photos, and two weeks later our house was listed online. (If you are ever in the Dallas area, we would love to have you- book here!)

If we could even cover half of the cost of the apartment in Italy, we knew financially we could make the trip work. Sure enough, someone ended up booking our home for nearly the entire 4 weeks we were in Rome!

  • The nitty gritty- our apartment in Rome for 4 weeks was $3418.55
  • We made $3322.06 from renting our home on Airbnb while we were gone

Unreal right?! If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. We were so thankful for that clearly divine provision. And we do this for every trip, whether it be a weekend away or another month abroad. Hosting is not for everyone, but we figured hey, as long as they aren’t sleeping in our sheets and it allows us to spend a month in Italy, I am quite alright with that.

Potentially interested in hosting through Airbnb? Start HERE to get our basics for hosting and set your listing set up today here!

Ready to book an apartment with Airbnb? Use the link here to get $40 off your first reservation!

We are confident and so excited that this could help enable you to stop just dreaming, and start GOING. We know how vital overcoming some of these major travel hurdles are. Feel free to comment below with any further questions, and if you book a trip, we want to hear!