PHOTOS: Check Out These Unique Airbnbs in Casper, Wyoming
More than 15 years ago, three guys in San Francisco began renting air mattresses out of a loft to make a little rent money.
Over the years, they've managed to turn the idea into a multi-billion dollar business.
For one local family, the summer of the eclipse inspired a handful of creative lodgings. They offer two sheep wagons, a treehouse, two teepees, and a suspended tree tent for rent on their 30-acre property.
During that summer they hosted over 40 people from all over the world including China and Germany.
Steve and Coebie Logan never expected their rentals to take off the way they did, but they've enjoyed it so much they continue to expand.
Could this be the way of the future? Coebie thinks so. Their property gets visitors out of the hustle-and-bustle of the city, but not too far. The location is about a mile from the pathway to the Platte River, within walking distance to hiking and biking trails, and along "a cute little creek."
The Logan boys also rent mountain bikes and guide trips. They've created a mindfulness path along the creek so people can meditate and enjoy the scenery.
Another Casper-area family hopped on board with the Airbnb craze. They bought a farm a few years ago that came with a 3-bedroom guesthouse built in the 1930s.
The Evansville rental boasts a petting farm including horses, donkeys, chickens, and a micro-mini cow.
With the animals and beautiful location, super host Deb says it felt like a great opportunity to share the property with others.
One reviewer wrote:
"When I saw 'Farmhouse' listed on the listing I knew immediately this was the place my family and I would enjoy the most. What made our stay even more special was the “please feed the animals” sign and all the jars of treats for varies animals. My girls had so much fun visiting each one, and our Great Dane thinks he’s best friends with the family Micro Cow."
The rental was originally being used for storage, but has since been totally remodeled inside. The renters gutted it down to the studs and put in "all new everything."
I asked Deb if she had any reservations letting strangers stay on the property.
"Well when you put it like that..." she chuckled before stating, "Of course. There's always a bit of risk that someone might not treat the property the way you would like, but for the most part, people are great, and if you treat them right, they respond in kind."
What's the advantage of Airbnb over rentals, you ask?
Deb notes that it gives her more control over when they will open and close the house to renters. She likes being able to use it as a guesthouse for visitors, and rent is much higher on a nightly -- or even weekly -- basis than it is on a monthly basis.
A super host named Alicia concurs. She has two townhome rentals through Airbnb.
Shortly after getting married, Alicia and her groom bought a home built in 1954 under the loan condition that they fix it up by a certain point. The house had lead paint and wobbly window panes. Little-by-little, they've revamped it into a stunning Bohemian meets Mid-Century Modern rental.
The home holds a special place in the hosts' hearts because they lived there for three years. It's the place where they brought their first daughter home from the hospital.
When they were ready to grow their family, they bought a second one.
The first house was rented out long-term until last December, but changed to an Airbnb rental for a better payout and, like Deb, more control over the property.
They began renting the second house -- built in 1914 -- in September. Alicia says it still has its original hardwood floor.
Both properties see all kinds of renters: families for sporting events, wedding guests, people coming to visit old friends, traveling nurses -- oh! and people who can't leave because of the weather.
I'm not surprised to learn that Alicia's main job is photography. She is adept in set design and says that the trend of-late has been the boho vibe.
Her favorite part about hosting is gathering pieces and pulling them all together. She enjoys refurbishing and thrifting, and splurges when it comes to bedding. High quality pillows and linens are a must for this superhost. Evident in the hundreds of positive reviews she has received, her guests appreciate it.
I ask Alicia why she thinks so many people are opting for Airbnbs over Hotels. She says it might be that people want something different -- no doors slamming all night, for one thing.
Fans of the popular rental site say that it offers more ease and comfort for traveling families and people with pets.
And while hotels often offer rewards and loyalty systems, Airbnbs can provide a more localized, homey option.
More space, kitchens, a washer and dryer... or heck, possibly a mini-cow. The options are endless.