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Airbnb vans invade San Diego streets

Why bother with a $100/night hotel room?

Superhost Craig charges $70/night for green van in Clairemont.
Superhost Craig charges $70/night for green van in Clairemont.

On the Airbnb app/website, Craig is referred to as a “Superhost” for his $70 per night unit that can sit five visitors.

Craig accommodates his guests in his green 1998 Ford E350 van; he’s based out of Clairemont. “[It’s] great for camping and the back seat folds down into a bed for two,” he states on his ad.

San Diego City Council unanimously voted to open streets to living in vehicles.

“Superhosts are experienced, highly rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests,” according to the Airbnb app that connects members with tourism experiences, primarily homestays and/or lodging.

“[Craig’s] one smart dude,” says Michael from North Park, who is searching for rentals for his buddies flying into town for spring break. “To book a hotel in our city, you’re looking at $100 a night [on average] if you can find one available and for beachfront properties — forget about it. To rent a van from U-Haul you’re looking at another $20-per-day plus $.69 a mile which does not include insurance and the amenities that Craig’s ‘green machine’ has.”

Craig’s van is “solar powered to run the fridge and a tv [and] it also has shore power hookup” for additional electronics. Since the van has a turbocharged diesel motor, it’s cheaper on gas than the standard V-8 and has the torque to pack it and tow a trailer if needed.

Rental details on Craig's van

“And it’s now legal to crash-out anywhere [inside a vehicle] in San Diego, so it makes more sense for tourists on a budget to rent a 2-in-1,” Michael added, “and sleep by the beach.”

Last month, the San Diego City Council unanimously voted to stand by their repeal of an almost 36-year ordinance that prohibited residents from living in vehicles on streets within our city limits.

Tanja is renting a vintage trailer outside of her Bay Park residence for $55 a night — on Airbnb. The stationary trailer has one bedroom with two beds and a bathroom with a shower. It also has free parking on premises, wifi, air conditioning and a laptop friendly workspace.

Tanja received over 150 reviews that were between 4-5 stars, with a 5-star rating being the highest. On February, Cynthia left a comment on Tanja’s account that reads: “Great location, we had the opportunity to watch the sunset. The place far exceeded our expectations and host was quick to respond and made our check in easy. Highly recommended staying here.”

Last week, an Ocean Beach resident posted a collage of photos on Facebook titled: “VanBnb coming to a curb near you ….” One of the photos was of a black van that was available for $28 a night.

Michael’s buddies didn’t buy into the rent-a-van-and-sleep-inside suggestion for spring break.

“I still think it’s a great idea,” he said. “The people renting the vans or RVs on Airbnb and this so-called ‘VanBnb’ are [likely] vetted, so they shouldn’t be problematic. They should be forewarned that they might be targets of mad-doggin' by anti-vandwellers that own property by the beaches.”

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Superhost Craig charges $70/night for green van in Clairemont.
Superhost Craig charges $70/night for green van in Clairemont.

On the Airbnb app/website, Craig is referred to as a “Superhost” for his $70 per night unit that can sit five visitors.

Craig accommodates his guests in his green 1998 Ford E350 van; he’s based out of Clairemont. “[It’s] great for camping and the back seat folds down into a bed for two,” he states on his ad.

San Diego City Council unanimously voted to open streets to living in vehicles.

“Superhosts are experienced, highly rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests,” according to the Airbnb app that connects members with tourism experiences, primarily homestays and/or lodging.

“[Craig’s] one smart dude,” says Michael from North Park, who is searching for rentals for his buddies flying into town for spring break. “To book a hotel in our city, you’re looking at $100 a night [on average] if you can find one available and for beachfront properties — forget about it. To rent a van from U-Haul you’re looking at another $20-per-day plus $.69 a mile which does not include insurance and the amenities that Craig’s ‘green machine’ has.”

Craig’s van is “solar powered to run the fridge and a tv [and] it also has shore power hookup” for additional electronics. Since the van has a turbocharged diesel motor, it’s cheaper on gas than the standard V-8 and has the torque to pack it and tow a trailer if needed.

Rental details on Craig's van

“And it’s now legal to crash-out anywhere [inside a vehicle] in San Diego, so it makes more sense for tourists on a budget to rent a 2-in-1,” Michael added, “and sleep by the beach.”

Last month, the San Diego City Council unanimously voted to stand by their repeal of an almost 36-year ordinance that prohibited residents from living in vehicles on streets within our city limits.

Tanja is renting a vintage trailer outside of her Bay Park residence for $55 a night — on Airbnb. The stationary trailer has one bedroom with two beds and a bathroom with a shower. It also has free parking on premises, wifi, air conditioning and a laptop friendly workspace.

Tanja received over 150 reviews that were between 4-5 stars, with a 5-star rating being the highest. On February, Cynthia left a comment on Tanja’s account that reads: “Great location, we had the opportunity to watch the sunset. The place far exceeded our expectations and host was quick to respond and made our check in easy. Highly recommended staying here.”

Last week, an Ocean Beach resident posted a collage of photos on Facebook titled: “VanBnb coming to a curb near you ….” One of the photos was of a black van that was available for $28 a night.

Michael’s buddies didn’t buy into the rent-a-van-and-sleep-inside suggestion for spring break.

“I still think it’s a great idea,” he said. “The people renting the vans or RVs on Airbnb and this so-called ‘VanBnb’ are [likely] vetted, so they shouldn’t be problematic. They should be forewarned that they might be targets of mad-doggin' by anti-vandwellers that own property by the beaches.”

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Comments
15

Oh good, this story has been a long time coming. The van's on Airbnb have been going on for years. Especially in OB. Twice, I had people willing to go on the record about renting their vans out on Airbnb, but they both pulled out the last minute. With the recent change, this will probably be more of a thing, especially on the beaches.

Curious if those pimped out Van Diego vans will hit the Airbnb. Also how the upcoming Airbnb rules will impact van rentals.

This one young guy that lives in his van so he can travel the world, he had to move out of OB not because of being hassled by the police as much as it was getting too scary with some of the homeless people that had moved into OB. https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2...

March 4, 2019

In the not-so-long-ago, unidentified Mercedes vans idled for hours curbside in front of various homes in La Jolla's Barber Tract near the beach. Neighbors didn't like it and complained to the cops who were oddly unperturbed. It turned out to be part of then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney's entourage, discreetly awaiting his call for service. At the time, Romney owned an ocean-front house in the area. Now there will be inebriated spring-breakers in Airbnb vans vying for spots with homeless car-dwellers having overnights. Bring it on! There's an "affordable housing crisis" in San Diego! And an elitist law preventing too-tall structures in the beach zone! It's what happens when thwarted developers can't put up their dense apartment blocks without parking spaces!

March 4, 2019

Depends on how you define "affordable". For contractors to get a good deal from cities by providing affordable units. They have to provide a few "affordable" units which are priced a 80% of market. The average one bedroom unit is around $1,800 a month thus an "affordable" unit is $1,440. A Walmart worker working full time @ $11 an hour grosses $1,903. After taxes there is no money for anything else. The problem is not affordability but the low wages that San Diego employers pay. Retail, restaurant, hotel, employers only contribute to poverty. The taxpayer is left to provide food and medical services to their employees while the employer takes the money.

March 6, 2019

What could possibly go wrong? Of all the communities in San Diego County the City of San Diego is the worst.

March 6, 2019

And the "America's Finest City" statement is a big lie.

March 6, 2019

Always... Enron-by-the-Sea

March 11, 2019

Of course, AlexClark, the notion of "affordable" housing is a cynical hoax, based on the hope that saying something long enough will make it true.The "market-rate" housing boom (aka giveaway to developers) being hastily enabled by our departing Mayor and his friends at SkateWorld-obliterating CivicSD is a figment. Most of the "new jobs" being "created" are lower-wage than "old jobs" and that is why no one can afford to rent or buy a place to live. If anyone gave a damn, rent control would be authorized and permanent shelter for the homeless would be built, where social and public health services could be delivered. As for that embarrassing Sinclair Lewis-style-booster slogan of "America's Finest City," it would be a bi-partisan boon if it disappeared. it was founded in GOP and civic ignominy and perpetuated even in the face of Hep-C outbreaks on our streets.

March 6, 2019

Make that Hep-A outbreaks.

March 6, 2019

Well said!

March 7, 2019

...

March 11, 2019

"Why bother with a $100/night hotel room?" That might apply to a motel but not a hotel.

March 7, 2019

Definitely not a good idea to eat beans, if sleeping in one of those large cans on wheels!

March 8, 2019

I am going to buy the gutter, drain, and sidewalk in front of my house. Then I will advertise an AirBnB with running water, full bath, and gym. San Diego, this is your future...while the Jacobs and other money hoarders live on the high ground. Oh, that is the present in San Diego.

March 10, 2019

With e-scooters parked right next to all the vans. The "problem of the last mile" solved.

March 11, 2019

What a great way to live with your parents.

May 1, 2019

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