TRJ Blog

The 5 Dangers Of Sitting In A Bad Posture For Hours

Sitting for too long is bad for your health. Sitting for too long in the wrong posture is A LOT worse.
Read about the dangers and what you can do to avoid them in this post.

A post on health might seem like an odd topic to find here given the theme of this blog; however, this topic is directly related to my journey. In fact, the entire thing is dependent on it.


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Working on this blog is something I do while sat down. But it’s not just that, almost everything I’m doing, I do while sitting down starring at something, either reading for studies, writing assignments/homework, working on every single job I’ve ever had, watching TV, typing a blog post, researching a topic, or just scrolling through social media pages, etc.

That is a lot of sitting down! And this can be seriously dangerous if you are not paying attention to how long you are doing this and the way you are actually doing it.

I have been suffering from neck and shoulder pain for quite a long time, but only in recent months did it become so intolerable that I was forced to do a checkup, to find I have severe tight neck muscles and some kind of irritation in my cervical spine nerves (aka a pinched nerve).

An irritation in the cervical spine causes “pain that radiates into the shoulder, as well as muscle weakness and numbness that travels down the arm and into the hand.”

I have been taking medications and getting ultrasound therapy. But it’s not like the flu; and it doesn’t go away that quickly or that easily. I have been getting treatment on and off for the past 5-6 months. And many of the medications I have taken had some nasty side effects. So this is no walk in the park, it is bad and painful.

And I must say that, for the most part, I have been entirely dependent on the medications alone to do their magic and fix this, without much effort on my part.

But I’ve reached to a point where I got sick and tired of always being in horrific pain whenever I have to use my arm to carry something or, mistakenly, lean on it when I’m getting out of bed and feel as if a power drill is punching a hole through my shoulder.

So, I started to do some reading into this to try and find things that I can do on my part, to help fix this along with the medications.

But, first, let me tell you how bad this can actually get and why you should pay attention too!

How Sitting For Long Periods Of Time Affects Your Health

Sitting is the new smoking is a study made in the US claiming that sitting for one hour straight is as unhealthy as smoking two cigarettes.

They explain that sitting still for over 6 hours a day is as unhealthy for your body as smoking a pack and a quarter of cigarettes in a day. 

And that according to a study focused on the causes of chronic diseases, it is found that sitting for long hours is the number one contributer to developing a chronic disease (in the US).

Another study conducted by a number of leading professors in the UK was made on sedentary behaviour and its effect on both young and adults. And it concludes that sitting for long durations of time can cause obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and early death.

How To Avoid These Issues

It is highly advised that in order to avoid the serious health issues that accompanies sitting for too long, you should have a break every 30 minutes.

So every 30 minutes you need to get up for one or two minutes; you can do some stretches, walk to get a drink, or just do any kind of movement to break the idle position that your body has been in for the past 30 minutes.

There are some apps that are created specifically to help you do that, or you can simply set a timer on your phone for 30 minutes to work as a reminder that it’s time for you to move.

5 Ways A Bad Sitting Posture Affects Your Health

Image by medicaldaily.com

As per multiple studies and scientific researches made on the negative side effects of sitting in a wrong posture, it is found that your sitting posture can affect you in many more ways than just the way your body looks.

1. Back and spinal column

Starting the list with the more obvious problem that arises from sitting in a bad posture: back pain.

Sitting in a wrong posture can cause pain in the upper back, lower back, and the neck. The pain can also spread to include your arms, hands, legs and feet, depending on the part affected in the spinal column.

One of the medical conditions it can lead to is a pinched nerve.

Beside the fact that it causes a lot of pain, a pinched nerve, if left untreated, can cause chronic pain and permanent nerve damage which can lead to a disability, depending on the area controlled by the affected nerves.

And it is quite alarming to know that, according to this research, for every 2.5 cm your head moves forward, you add 0.45 kg of extra wight on your spine. A human’s head weighs between 4.5 and 5.5 kg.

So, if you are starring down at your phone, for example, that is about 13 cm of leaning forward which adds 5.85 kg of extra weight on your neck and spine. Adding to that the actual head weight, and you get an average of 11 kg of weight that is being dragged by your neck and spinal column. That is also the average weight of a 2-year old child.

2. Lungs and breathing

When you are sitting in a pitched forward position, the lungs slump forward and become compressed with the diaphragm moving up further in the chest which decreases the amount of oxygen entering your lungs by 30%.

Decreasing your oxygen intake, in turn, affects your energy levels and your ability to concentrate. It will also lead to feelings of fatigue and cause headaches.

3. Blood pressure

According to a study made in the UK, scientists found that sitting in the wrong posture where your shoulders and back are slouched is likely to affect your blood pressure.

The neck muscle cells signal the brain when sensing movement in the neck, to ensure adequate blood supply as the body changes posture. This system, however, breaks down when cells incur damage from poor posture, resulting in blood pressure either higher or lower than optimum.

4. Digestive organs

Sitting in a slouched posture compresses the digestive organs which can make them incapable of functioning properly. It slows the movement of your intestines which can cause digestion problems such as bloating or constipation.

This effect on digestive organs can also impact your metabolism.

5. Mental health

From my own take and what I noticed, when you are slouched in your chair, it creates a feeling of laziness and sometimes you’d feel down or easily irritated, unlike when you are straightened up, it feels like you are more open, awake and active.

And according to this research publication, the posture in which you are sitting does indeed affect your mood. A bad/slouched posture leads to being more prone to and easily affected by negative thoughts and emotions; while sitting in an upright position reduces stress and generally enhances the person’s mood and their mindset.

And as another experiment concluded, people that sit in an upright posture tend to easily remember more positive memories and have positive thoughts than those in a bad posture.

What Is A Good Sitting Posture?

There are a few things that you need to pay attention to when you sit down in order to make sure you are in the right posture.

  • Your feet should be flat on the ground with your knees making a right angle and are at the same level as your hips or slightly lower.
  • Your back is straight and chest is stretched so that your shoulders are not slouched/arched.
  • Your head is positioned where your chin is parallel to your hips and your ears paralleled to your shoulders.
Image by medicaldaily.com
A video by posture coach Michelle Janice showing how to sit up straight.

4 Things To Help Maintain A Good Sitting Posture

All that doctors have been saying over and over is that I should keep a good posture, “try to always sit with a straightened back and stretched
shoulders and don’t lean forward with your head.”

So, I am completely aware that this is what I am supposed to do. But how do I keep that posture for the entire 5-7 hours I am sitting on my laptop?

I’m only able to maintain this position when conscious about my posture, but then I get distracted with what I’m actually doing and, an hour later, I find myself back to the hunched-over-the-laptop position with slouched shoulders and forward neck again.

This happens because, to me, this is the more natural and comfortable position, where I don’t have to be all the way stretched. So, I needed a more practical solution.

Here are 4 things I do that can help keep a good, healthy posture for as long as you are sitting.

1. Sit on a cushion

Because sometimes the desk and chair I’m sitting on are not in good alignment where my arms and elbows are in a perfect straight line position.

In my case, it is usually that the chair is lower than the desk, and so I sit on a cushion which helps me maintain that position.

2. Roll pillow behind your back

This has been a real savior. Because, like I mentioned earlier, it can get really uncomfortable when I try to keep my back in a straight position for a long time, so putting a roll pillow* or roll cushion behind my back works as a support for the middle part of my back which both makes me feel way more comfortable and it sort of automatically enhances the way I’m sitting anyway without much effort on my part.

But even when I tend to slouch a little bit, it also works as a continuous reminder to get back to the right position.

3. Place the laptop at an arm’s length

This could be something that most people do already, but I only realized that recently and, oh my god, it is such a relief when I type now.

I have always had my laptop placed right at the edge of the desk and so my arms and elbows are usually just hanging the entire time I’m typing, which causes more pressure and therefore more pain in my shoulders.

How to make sure that you are in a good, comfortable posture where your arm is always supported is if you push the laptop far on the desk, so that your arms up until your elbows are supported by the desk itself and then type that way.

There is also a really helpful video that shows even more ways to help you keep a good posture, not just while sitting on a computer but when watching TV, playing games, or using your phone. You can watch it here.

4. Set a timer

Setting a timer to alert you every 15-20 minutes can work as a reminder to both move around or straighten up and correct your posture. There are even some phone and computer apps that can help you do this.

But if you are not interested in an application, you can simply create several alarms on your phone, or a timer every 15-20 minutes, as a posture reminder.

5. Stretches

One of the things that can help maintain a good posture at all times is if your body feels relaxed and comfortable at that posture. And one way to get your body to that level of comfort is if you do certain stretches that help with the back and upper body’s flexibility, so that keeping a straightened back and stretched shoulders no longer feels uncomfortable or weird (or, like me, makes you feel like a cyborg).

Below are some example stretches that I do. You can find more of them and information about each pose and its benefits here.

Standing cat-cow. Image by yoffielife.com.
Active child’s pose. Image by yoffielife.com.

Downward-Facing dog stretch. Image by forteyoga.com

Standing forward fold pose. Image by forteyoga.com

And eventually, if you are already suffering (like me), here are a few things to help with that too.

5 Things To Help Relief Back Pain

1. Heating pad

Placing a hot water bottle* or a heating pad* (this is the one I use) on the area of your back or neck that hurts can reduce the pain, because the heat relaxes the muscles and speeds the blood flow to that area. This is one of the things that I have been advised to do for my neck and shoulder pain and part of the physical therapy treatment I am getting.

2. Herbal cream

There are some herbal creams available that help ease muscle pain. They are made entirely of natural ingredients; however, you should still consult a doctor before using any.

You would simply take a sufficient amount of cream on the tip of your fingers and start applying it on the affected area. It can work even better if you do so after you have applied the heating pad.

3. Massage

A massage, especially in the neck and shoulders area, can work as a great pain relief because mostly the pain in this area is caused by the pressure put on those muscles to hold your head. So, by massaging that area, you help those tightened muscles to loosen and relax.

You can simply massage the area with your hand, go to a spa, or you can buy a massager that you can use at home or at work. (I found the latter to be a more convenient option and so I use a similar Shaitsu massager to this one*).

4. Stretches

Doing the same stretches above can also help relief back pain. But you can find more exercises related to relieving back pain in this article.

5. Medical treatment

This is of course an obvious step to take if you are indeed suffering from such pain, because leaving it untreated for a long time can cause even more damage which would take a longer treatment period or worse, could cause a permanent damage to your body.

So make sure you consult your doctor to get the right advice and treatment needed for your situation.

Till next week, happy days (and healthy bodies)!

*Disclaimer: Links with* are affiliate links. Meaning that, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through one of these links, you are supporting me to get a small commission from this sale.

Getting Started With Affiliate Programs For Beginners

A short guide to familiarise you with what affiliate programs and marketing platforms are, how they work, and how to start becoming an affiliate marketer. Plus 5 briefly discussed examples: CJ Affiliate, Rakuten Marketing, ShareASale, FlexOffers, and Amazon Associates.

For those who are just getting started in affiliate marketing and want to have a quick overview of what it all means, this is the post for you.

I have briefly discussed affiliate programs in this post 5 Online Businesses That Work, however, at the time, I hadn’t yet tried it and so I only knew very little information. Now that I have been doing this for a while longer, I came to know it much better and summed it up in a few points where it can make it easier for someone who is just getting started.


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So, first things first!

What Is An Affiliate Program?

Affiliate programs are programs where a certain company provides you with unique links and banners to their products and services and encourages you to advertise them in exchange for a certain commission.

Commissions can be a fixed amount per product sold or a percentage of the whole sale made.

This commission you get does not affect the price of the original product/service, so the buyer is not affected by such deal.

In most cases, in order for a company to agree to your request to become an affiliate partner for them, you first need to have a platform of some sort. They will need to know what kind of channels you will be using to promote their product/service and how many people you can reach.

In this post, I’m mainly addressing people with websites or blogs, but the same thing goes for people with social media pages, youtube channels, or email lists.

The requirements differ based on each company, some may require you have a minimum number of views/followers/visitors before you are accepted; some may only accept websites with domains you own while others can accept free blogs.

What Is An Affiliate Marketing Platform?

It’s a network through which affiliate marketers/publishers can find a wide range of companies from all industries to join their affiliate programs. It’s an easier way to connect affiliate marketers with advertisers.

When you sign up with an affiliate marketing platform, you then have a variety of affiliate programs to sign up for. All you need to do is search for the product/service type that suits your niche and you will find a company that you can sign up for.

The First Thing You Need To Know Before You Start With Affiliate Marketing

Before I started with affiliate programs, I read a lot about it; and the one thing that everyone stresses on endlessly is that you should only promote products you trust and have used before (which is quite interesting because if everyone knows that, then how come we have all those scammers?)

Jokes aside though, this is absolutely important. You should definitely refrain from ever promoting anything on your website/blog/channel that you are not 100% sure of its integrity and quality.

Simply because if you have readers who trust your opinion and follow your suggestion and buy or subscribe to something that was promoted on your website, and then that thing turns out to be a scam or a bad service/product, not only have you lost that reader’s respect and trust, but they might as well tell others about their experience, and you end up with a bad reputation which will certainly jeopardize your business and the integrity of your content overall. Now, why would you ever want to be in such position?

How To Choose Which Affiliate Programs To Sign Up For

In order to make money using affiliate links (and in most cases, to actually get accepted by said program), you need to be promoting something that has to do with what you are already blogging about or close to the niche of your blog/website.

For example, every now and then I write a blog post about book recommendations where I share the things I found inspiring in a certain book that I’ve read; so I share links for the readers to direct them to where they can buy that book to read it too.

My website revolves around ways to make money and grow financially as well as mentally, so you will never find an affiliate link here that suggests you buy a cook book, for example, or some cleaning detergent or something (even if I did use them and know how good they really are!). This just doesn’t give a good overall impression for the visitor who may be visiting your website for the first time.

It is better to stick to things that someone who is interested in reading the content of your blog will be interested in purchasing. If I am on a cooking website, chances I will be interested in buying a new laptop are quite slim; however I will like to see, and maybe buy, the kitchenware and ingredients this blogger used to cook that certain recipe I’m reading about.

Where To Find Affiliate Programs

If you are undecided about the product you want to promote, it will be helpful if you are signed up with one of the major affiliate marketing platforms like Share A Sale, CJ Affiliate, or Flex Offers (discussed briefly later in this post), where they offer you a variety of options to choose from.

However, if you do have specific products in mind, every product or service you are using most likely has an affiliate program. In most cases, when you visit the website for this product, you will find something that includes “Affiliate” at the bottom of their homepage. When you click that it redirects you to the page where they give you the information about their program and how to sign up for it and if there are any requirements in order to be accepted.

Some websites sign you up directly through their website, while others will direct you to the affiliate marketing platform that they advertise through, and there you would need to sign up to that platform first then apply to the affiliate program of that company you want through the platform.

In case you don’t find the Affiliate option on the homepage of the product/service you want to promote, you can always just Google “company name affiliate program” and you will find the affiliate page there.

It is worth mentioning though that there are some companies that just don’t have an affiliate program.

How To Add Affiliate Links To Your Website/Blog

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It is when I visit a website and feel like I just went into a website for ads that occasionally has content. These kinds of website just automatically start the “scam alert” in my brain.

When placing ads/affiliate links, make sure you choose wisely where to present them. Think of the person whom you want to check out this product, will they need to see it first thing on your homepage? Or is it something that would go better within a certain blog post?

I have many banners/ads for free online courses on the website here, but I make sure to not scatter those links randomly everywhere. For example, if I’m writing a post about saving money, that’s when I expect someone to be interested in this Managing My Money* course, or if it’s a post about ways to invest your money, then yea maybe the reader will want to check a course on investment.* But they won’t necessarily feel interested in these courses when they are reading the intro to my website. So adding them there will just create distraction.

Generally, just make sure every link you add has a reason to be there, and put yourself in your website visitor’s mind, looking at the content of this page, are they likely to click on this link/ad?

Also, it’s important to pay attention to the overall appeal of your website. Don’t over crowd it with ads, even if relevant. I have some links on my homepage, but I choose to place them at the very bottom, for example, and I choose small banners to place, so it does not take away from the overall look that I’m going for, which is classic, presentable, and somewhat formal.

Your homepage is probably the first thing most visitors will see, so make sure you pay extra attention to that.

The 5 Affiliate Marketing Platforms I’m Currently Signed Up To

I normally sign up for certain platforms because the company that sells a products I want to promote is using that platform as their affiliate service. So for example I didn’t know about ShareASale until I wanted to sign up for Redbubble’s Affiliate Program (which was rejected). But that’s how I find out about affiliate marketing websites.

On these websites however you can search for a company to sign up to using search options, you can filter if you want companies of a certain niche. Some companies will take a few days to review your request before accepting or rejecting you as an affiliate partner. And in rare cases you may get accepted immediately once you apply. It all depends on that company’s policy.

ShareASale

ShareASale logo banner

It is one of the most popular affiliate marketing platforms with lots of reputable companies listed as advertisers there. Even though I only signed up to this program to become a Redbubble affiliate and that got declined, I thought of checking it out anyway, and I ended up signing up with a few other great advertisers whose services I have already been using and loving

ShareASale also has a referral program of its own, so if you are a publisher on their platform and you direct someone else to sign up and make money through them, you get a bonus. You can read more about it here*.

CJ Affiliate

cj affiliate by conversant icon

This is one of the biggest affiliate marketing platforms out there with companies like Apple Inc. as advertisers and one of the oldest too (established 1998). Though I only found out about it when I wanted to sign up with ebooks.com, and I’m glad I did.

One of my favourite things about this platform is that every now and then they send you emails about new offers and discounts to help you promote, whether with advertisers you are signed up with or potential ones that you may be interested in, which I find very helpful because I don’t always have time to check each website for offers, so it’s cool when it’s delivered to my email instead.

Unlike the other platforms on this list, this one does not have a referral program. You can check this page to know more about their program and join.

Flex Offers

flexoffers flex rev share logo banner

I knew about this initially from an article I read by someone who I, unfortunately, can’t remember right now. It was among the articles I was reading to educate myself about the matter before I got into it.

So this was the first program I signed up for when I was still trying to figure out how this whole thing works. And this was the hardest for me to get through its application, it felt almost impossible to do; big part of that was due to the fact I had absolutely zero knowledge.

Anyway, they require you to add a code on your website’s header as part of your application process, but there is an option if you don’t have access to the actual HTML code, you can email them and they will tell you an alternative to add the word “flexoffers” on a visible page on your website and email them the link, so they make sure you are the owner of the website/blog (and it took me AGES to figure that alternative out, which is probably why it took so long to get through the application).

This program has a variety of advertisers to choose from and the cool thing about it is they are all sorted by categories so you can easily find something in your niche.

flexrev share

One other thing FlexOffers has is an affiliate program of their own called FexRev Share when you direct another person to sign up to become an affiliate on their website, and that person makes money, you get a commission.

While the other affiliate platforms have similar referral programs, with FlexOffers you can get commissions as high as 50%. Click this link* if you want to get started.

Rakuten Marketing

Rakuten Marketing logo banner

Another huge platform, that is also among the oldest affiliate networks (established 1999). I joined it when I wanted to signed up for *Future Learn‘s affiliate program.

This one along with ShareASale both have a really easy-to-navigate, user-friendly interface. It won’t take long before you know how everything works.

Rakuten Marketing also has a referral program of its own, you can read about what they offer publishers/marketers here*. They also have an option to get coupons which you can use to buy products from the likes of Samsung, Macys’s, Walmart, and more. You can sign up here* to get started.

Amazon Associates

amazon associates logo banner

Needless to say, Amazon is the most popular and most likely the oldest affiliate program out there (since 1996). Amazon Associates program is different from the other affiliate marketing platforms because with Amazon you are only promoting Amazon products. And they have A LOT.

I have been wanting to write this post just so that I can write about the mistake I made when I mentioned Amazon’s program in 5 Online Businesses That Work post.

In that post, I said (and it is now corrected) that you cannot sign up to that program if you live in Egypt, but I was completely wrong (hence, I signed up!). I obviously was still not familiar enough with the website, so I misunderstood what was going on. But, I’m glad I got to clarify that here.

You can sign up from anywhere (well, almost anywhere, there are some US states and other territories that are not allowed to sign up with Amazon for tax reasons).

Upon signing up, you will need to choose which Amazon territory you will sign up for. There’s Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon China, etc. You would mostly choose based on from which area you receive your most views/visitors. If you get high views from more than one area and you want to sign up to more than one, you will need to fill an application for each of the different amazon territories separately, have separate tracking IDs, and therefore get separate links for the same product.

There is an option, however, to merge your Amazon accounts together if you will sign up to more than one. So that, for example, if you signed up to Amazon UK and US because the majority of your site visitors are from these two locations, then you can merge the accounts so that you can have just one unique link; and if someone from these two places purchase through that link, you get the commission.

The tricky thing about Amazon though is that they do not accept you right away. You will sign up, and wait for approval, but even when you get the approval to access their links and offers, you are still not an affiliate partner just yet.

They give you 180 days to provide your first 3 sales, and when you make those sales, they review your website again and decide whether or not you are approved as a partner. In case you do not provide the 3 sales in the time specified, your application is rejected, but you can apply for it again. You can click this link to sign up and read more about the program.

Signing Up For Multiple Affiliate Marketing Platforms

Just a quick reminder that you shouldn’t sign up with all of these, or randomly choose a few of them, but rather check the actual product you want to promote and then find where to sign up for it.

I have read somewhere that you shouldn’t sign up with many affiliate network websites, however, in my case, my target is the product not becoming an affiliate marketer, so I promote specific products, and these products happen to be with different affiliate marketing platforms, and therefore I ended up subscribing to a bunch of them.

If you will be signing up to more than an affiliate program or affiliate marketing network, it helps to be organized about it so you don’t lose track. Because you will need to check on each of these programs and see how you are doing and find if there are any special discounts or offers you can promote.

So, what I do is I have a table where I record each affiliate marketing platform I’m signed up to and the affiliate programs/companies I signed up for on that platform. This way I always know where to go if I need to find a link to promote a certain product.

Affiliate Disclaimers

One of the things I learned is that if you are going to add affiliate links on your website, you will need to make it clear that you do have affiliate links.

Honestly, at first when I read disclaimers on other people’s websites, I was not sure what the point of that was. I mean, if the person is interested in something advertised on your website and are willing to buy it, what difference would it make to them whether or not you will be getting a commission?

But then I found that the reason why it is important:

  1. Because in many countries (like US and UK) it is actually required by the law. So, if you don’t add that, you are in serious legal trouble.
  2. Due to the fact that sometimes people can say that a certain product is good just so that they would get a commission or just because they got it for free to write a good review. Now, it’s not a surprise to me that people would do that, but I wasn’t thinking of it that way.

It does make sense, as a reader, they need to know that you will be getting a commission off of their purchase so they can decide whether you are referring them to this product just to get the money or if this product is genuinely good and worth it.

And I believe that as long as you are maintaining an honest approach and only promote the things that you know are of good quality, the readers will get that, and therefore adding such disclaimer should never get in the way of you making money or not, on the contrary, it adds to your transparency and earns people’s trust.

If you want to see an affiliate disclaimer/disclosure example, you can check this page that lists some of the requirements and examples of affiliate disclosures

Speaking of disclaimers, links with the * in this post are affiliate links. For the affiliate platforms’ links, it means I will get a commission from those affiliate programs in case you signed up to one of them using my link and actually made money. (In other words, if you make money, I make money, too. How cool is that?)

Till next week, happy days!

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Passive Income: How To Make Money With Airbnb

In this post, I answer 7 questions that cover everything you need to know to start making money with Airbnb.

Previously, in the Passive Income: 4 Real Estate Investing Options post, I wrote about some of the many ways one can invest in real estate. And one of the methods mentioned there was buying a property and putting it up for rent.

Renting a property gives you a steady passive income source. However, some of the downsides to this was 1. you may end up with tenants who don’t pay and 2. the amount of money involved to actually buy a property.

But what if you can rent a spare room in the house you already live in and with a guaranteed payment?

Recently, I came across an ad for Airbnb, and I didn’t actually know much about the service other than that it’s one that provides houses for tourists and such.

I also didn’t know that the service was available in Egypt, which it is!


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1. What is Airbnb?

This is an American company that facilitates tourists’ stay in a country by providing them with an online service to rent apartments, rooms, and hostel beds, etc, for the short period of their stay.

The apartments and rooms available for rent is provided by the locals of that country. They put their available properties up for rent on the Airbnb website, and they get contacted once a tourist is interested in renting their place.

The website provides customizable search options for the guest to find the exact type of property with all the amenities they need. And it gives the host the option to set house rules for the guests to know and agree on before booking.

What you can provide as a host:

1. Place

You can list any kind of property. It can be a shared room, a private room, or an entire house.

The place needs to be clean, secure, and have essential amenities like a pillow and a towel for each guest. You can read more about the basic requirements for hosting here.

2. Experience

Airbnb Experiences are activities designed by locals. They go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in a special kind of activity that they wouldn’t be able to experience on their own.

It’s an opportunity for anyone to share their hobbies, skills, or expertise without needing an extra room. Read more about experience hosting here.

2. Why do tourists use Airbnb instead of hotels?

For the tourists who are looking to spend a short time in your country, most of them want to get the most out of their stay with the least amount of money possible. Airbnb provides them with this option when they put properties or rooms for rent at quite low prices compared to any hotel room in that same area.

It also gives the tourist the ability to live like locals in the country which maximizes their experience.

Besides, many Airbnb hosts provide their guests with more than just a stay, but they help them make the most out of their stay by advising them of places to visit that only a local in that area would know.

That is of course beside the ability to actually book an experience; something that you can only have when touring with a local.

People don’t use Airbnb overtly to trust people more. They use it because they want to get a better sense of the culture and to save money. A by-product was that they live in someone else’s shoes.

Brian Chesky

3. How is Airbnb different from traditional renting?

There are huge advantages to renting through Airbnb instead of the traditional renting, but there can also be some disadvantages.

Advantages:

Guaranteed Payment

As opposed to renting your house the traditional way where you can face an issue like a non-paying tenant, when you rent through Airbnb, you will never have to deal with this kind of hassle because they handle all payments for you. And the guest makes the full payment through the website in advance.

Host Guarantee

Airbnb have insurance programs which secures you and your house in the rare case of any incident occurring that causes damage or injury.

Whenever a guest makes a reservation and stays at your place, you’re automatically covered by their Host Guarantee. You can read more about the terms and conditions of benefiting from this here.

Home Insurance

Host Protection Insurance program provides primary liability coverage of up to $1 million USD per occurrence. The program protects against liability claims that happen in a listing, or on an Airbnb property, during a stay.

You can read more about what is covered by this program here.

Experience Insurance

Experience protection insurance provides experience hosts with free liability insurance of up to $1 million USD to protect against personal injury or property damage claims.

You can read more about what is covered by this insurance here.

Disadvantages

Not a stable source of income

Unlike renting a house to a resident who is going to live there for at least a year and possibly more, renting to tourists will not provide you with that monthly stable income.

Some people can have guests booking their place every month but that is not necessarily the case with every host.

How often you would get a booking would mostly depend on the location of your place (how close it is from sightseeing areas that tourists would be interested in) and how appealing it is (the reviews you get).

Possible damage

There is still the possibility that you might encounter damage that is not covered by the Airbnb Insurance.

4. Is Airbnb safe?

This was an obvious concern when I first learned about the service. If you have a spare room that you want to put up for rent, is it really safe for you to invite complete strangers into your house? Or if you are the one looking for a place to stay, would you feel safe staying with a complete stranger in a foreign country?

“On any given night, 2 million people stay in homes on Airbnb in 81,000 cities all over the world. There are nearly 5 million listings in 191 countries to choose from —that’s more than the top five hotel chains combined.”

So how did this service actually manage to get so popular and have millions of users around the world, whether hosts or tourists? How do all these people trust this kind of service and feel safe using it?

Here are some of the measures taken to provide safety for the host:

They run hosts and guests against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watchlists. And for hosts and guests in the United States, they also conduct background checks.

Every guest is asked to provide their full name, date of birth, photo, phone number, email address, and payment information to Airbnb before booking. Home hosts also have the option to require guests to provide Airbnb with a government ID before booking their listing.

Reading reviews from previous bookings from that guest and what other hosts had to say about their stay with them can also be helpful. These reviews can only be added after the reservation is complete; so they are based on actual experience.

Every Airbnb reservation is scored for risk before it’s confirmed. They use predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate hundreds of signals that help flag and investigate suspicious activity before it happens.

And their customer service is available 24/7 in 11 languages.

You can read more about the Airbnb terms of safety and protection for both hosts and guests here.

Airbnb has proven that hospitality, generosity, and the simple act of trust between strangers can go a long way.

Joe Gebbia

5. Is Airbnb legal?

The service is legal to use in Egypt, so far. However, Airbnb services has been banned by a number of cities and countries due to housing and rental shortage and pricing issues.

So you will need to check whether or not it is legal to use this service in your city before you list your property for rental.

6. How do you become an Airbnb host?

All you need to do is visit their website to sign up and list your property for free.

When listing your property you will be asked to specify all the available amenities and facilities provided, and of course the exact address of the property.

You will then need to provide photos of the place and a short description for the guest to know what to expect.

After that you will have the option to set the price you want, the timing and duration this place is available for rent, any requirements you look for in the guests you will host, and any house rules you want them to follow during their stay.

You are also asked to provide your personal details, such as your full name, your phone number and your ID for verification.

There is a very good article I read by someone who has been an Airbnb host for a few years, advising on how to be a great host, you can read it here.

7. How do you get paid with Airbnb?

First, Airbnb takes a commission fee of 3% from the payment you receive as the host (and between 6%-12% from the guest booking).

As mentioned earlier, guests make the full payment for their stay through the Airbnb website in advance. This payment is held for 24 hours after their check-in, which is the time the guest has to report to the company if there’s anything wrong with the booking or if they couldn’t reach you, the host, in which case the money will be refunded to the guest.

However, in the normal case where you are there for the guest or provided the key for them, following whatever scenario you’ve both agreed on beforehand, you will have your money transferred to you after the 24 hours.

There are several payment options provided. You can have the payment sent to your Paypal or Payoneer accounts, or you can have it directly deposited into your bank account, or it can be mailed to you as a check. The time of the transfer will vary based on the method you choose.

Conclusion

This is a service that can certainly make a difference to your income with little to no effort on your part. It can also be fun for you, if you like to meet new people from different countries and make connections.

And while using this service can come with a potential risk, especially if you will be sharing the place you live in; however, you still have control over the guests you accept and you can ask for all the information you need about them before confirming their booking.

It will be less risky if you will rent a spare property, as long as you make sure you keep any personal or valuable belongings in a safe place (preferably not in the same house).

For me, I think this can be a really good source to increase my income and I do love meeting people of different nationalities. So I plan on trying this myself soon and will be sharing my experience in a later post once I have had my first guest.

Till next week, happy days!

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