KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Derek and Roxanna White sold their Lee’s Summit home after they became empty nesters and rented an apartment in the Crossroads District while hunting for their next home.
But then COVID hit and real estate demand soared. They bid on at least 10 houses over the course of a year and lost to higher bids each time.
So they decided to try out another idea. In fall 2021 they put almost everything they own into storage and went on the road. Every month they move to a new rental house they find on Airbnb.
“We had thought about this anyway, but definitely it made the decision really easy when we couldn’t find a house,” Roxanna said.
They take clothing for all seasons, a few things for the kitchen and their two cats.
Derek works remotely as a software developer so all they really need is an internet connection. Roxanna said “We have a system for the clothes because we’ve had to pack for all seasons, so it’s just been a lot of trial and error.”
From November to May, they stayed in seven cities in four states.
“It comes down a lot of times to where we find a place. We have a general idea of different places to try out, but then where the right Airbnb comes up is kind of the deciding factor,” Derek said.
They chose to live in Airbnb rentals instead of living in an RV because they wanted to try this lifestyle before committing to it with a major purchase. They also did not want to deal with the maintenance of an RV.
They look for cities with warmer climates during winter, great scenery and places to hike and explore.
“Finding out what the locals love to do and where they like to hang out, and going and getting to know them and just really immersing ourselves in the community that we’re living in,” Roxanna said. “It opens up a whole new way of life.”
They try to stay flexible but also carefully research each place before they rent. Roxanna reads every review before they commit. They also made a budget and they stick to rentals that are in their price range. It prices out to approximately what they paid to rent in Kansas City.
“The Airbnb’s for the month have been pretty similar to what we were paying in rent. Of course we’re having to pay storage for all our stuff but we’re not paying utilities so it kind of evens out for the most part.”
And they’ve learned to live with less stuff.
“The hardest for me I think was limiting the amount of shoes I was bringing. But it’s been kind of nice to realize that home is really where you are and who you’re there with,” Roxanna said.
They say if you want to try it, you can find ways to make it work for you. They recommend being flexible and realistic in your expectations.
“Remember it’s temporary if you don’t like something. There’s going to be something about every place you don’t like, but if you get somewhere there’s a bunch of things you don’t like, you’re only committed for a couple weeks or a month,” Derek said.
They consider it an adventure and look forward to many more. They also say they’re glad they did not wait until retirement to try this way of life. They plan to eventually buy a home in Kansas City, but they plan to rent it out on Airbnb during the winter months so they can continue this way of living.
They say both their grandmothers loved to travel and advised them to do as much of it as possible while they can.
“We are just getting out there and having fun, living life and being grateful for the opportunity to do this and to do it together,” Roxanna said.
If you’d like to follow their adventures on social media, You can find Roxanna white on Instagram at @reluctanthealthfreak.