Sharing Sydney with the world

Sep 30, 2013

With summer just around the corner and a new school year about to start, thousands of international visitors will be flocking to Sydney to soak up the sun, surf and sand.

By simply clearing out your spare room and putting some of your unused items in Containaway’s mobile self storage, you can open up your house to these international visitors. Not only is it a great way to experience different cultures, you can also earn a little extra cash on the side.

Prices vary but depending on the size, location and furnishings available to your guests, you can potentially make up to $1500 a week from your international guests.

Plenty of organisations and websites are available to help guide you through the process whether you choose to host a short-term traveller, a university student or even an asylum seeker. While these organisations will take a percentage of your earnings, they can be useful in providing support, insurance and a risk free rental.

Here are some of the common boarders you can host and how to go about it.


Many travellers enjoy staying with a local family as a way of experiencing the Australian culture. Couch surfing websites can help put you in touch with travellers looking for a place to simply place their head but if you want to make money, then look to popular sites such as Airbnb, Wimdu, Easy Roomates and 9flats. Registration is usually free and in most cases the boarders won’t need anything from you but a bed to sleep in. You choose how long to rent out the room for and how much to charge.


For those keen on a more long-term investment OzHomestay and Australian Homestay Network are two of the largest organisations for arranging homestay accommodation for international students. Unlike taking in travellers on short term leases, homestays usually involve you providing the student with all their basic needs, including their own room, food and space to study.

Under the Australian Homestay Network the student pays a weekly fee to cover management and supervision costs, insurance, 24/7 emergency support services and to also reimburse the host for day to day food and accommodation expenses support. This fee varies from State to State and generally ranges from $ 220 to $300 per week.

Many universities, TAFE colleges, private colleges and language schools run their own accommodation programs as well, so speak to your local tertiary education facility about what’s available to you.

Asylum seekers

Another great program is the Community Placement Network, which arranges six week stays for eligible asylum seekers leaving immigration detention on a bridging visa.

It’s a great way to help asylum seekers get on their feet and learn about Australia. Once again, payments vary but the Federal Government will pay families up to $300 a week to temporarily house asylum seekers.


Before renting out your room to international visitors, it’s a good idea to speak with your accountant to confirm how this will affect your income tax and capital gains tax liabilities. The tax legislation behind ‘arms-length letting’, as it’s known, can get very messy depending on your situation so always seek professional advice.

So this summer, instead of having an empty room in your house, why not show off our beautiful city to an international visitor.