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by Ashley Halligan

SXSW Banner 

With South by Southwest less than two months away, sites like Airbnb are exploding with local rentals, both in and around Austin, for the impending influx of people that’s arriving from out of town. In fact, a search for properties for the dates of 3/9/13 to 3/18/2013 yielded nearly 1,100 possibilities ranging from entire houses, dorm rooms, campers and RVs, single rooms, sofas, cabins, and even a tipi.


The range of possibilities makes up for what’s perhaps considered a shortage of hotel space for out-of-town festival goers. Meanwhile, locals have the opportunity to earn a significant chunk of money--if they’re willing to rent their space, or at least, part of their space.


The Writing BarnIntended for visitors still seeking accommodations and locals who’ve considered renting their space, here’s a list of currently available (and pretty fantastic) to either rest your head during the event or use as reference for renting your own property. After all, it’s not slim pickings ‘round these parts.


Sleeping up to 7, this 2/2 SoCo loft is available for $1517 a night designated for guests over the age of 25, but also allowing dogs for those traveling with pet friends. Within walking distance of the SoCo drag, Barton Springs Rd., and South 1st festivities, this is a great option for groups traveling together who want to be in the center of it all.


If titles are key and privacy is key, how can you resist a “charming little guest house with a private entrance and yard” named The Secret Place? Festival rates are $150/night, and it’s about 20 minutes from downtown for those who prefer to escape from the noise from time to time. The owner suggests this guest house to those with a car given its slight distance from the center of town.


For solo or couple travelers, there’s a garden cottage in Hyde Park listed at $347/night. A restored 1947 cottage, this property offers a fenced-in, private backyard including an herb garden, hammock, outdoor shower--and white picket fence. Need I say more?


Another whose title sold me: The Writing Barn. Referred to as a “book lover’s dream,” this is a loft overseeing a book-stocked “library,” suitable for up to 4 at just $157/night. It has a tin roof (for rain lovers), deer regular in its lush yard, and has been featured by Austin’s REAL Magazine. Are you OK with camping? Don’t fret. Here’s a $20/night option just 2.5 miles from South Congress’s busy strip. BYOT(ent), or rent one if you’re traveling light. Camping amenities include a “rustic kitchen” and privy. Not bad for twenty bucks.

Tipi lodging

And, if you’re the retro type, try the Airstream in a private South Austin yard. For $156/night, you’ll get a 19 ft Flying Cloud Airstream with a private fenced yard, a BBQ grill, fire pit, and a pet friendly enviroment. 


A similar option is “Jules’ Ship Motel” right on South Congress. The trailer with a “ship-like feel” is just $300/night, has the capability of sleeping up to three, and apparently boasts a neighboring sandwich shop with “REALLY” good coffee and sandwiches.


A personal favorite (one I’ve both camped at and used as a photography backdrop), is local venue: Austin Heaven. This is a great option for those who like a picturesque drive outside of town, appreciate the sounds of nature, and who’d adore staying in a beautiful, furnished cabin in the woods. For $171/night, it sleeps up to 4, neighbors Bubba’s General Store, is within minutes of the original Saltlick, and just a few miles from nearby wineries, and--if you’re down--the area’s amazing Buddhist temple.


For the unorthodox traveler, how about a tipi? Accommodating up to 4, this $100 gem is a unique option--and just 5.5 miles from Zilker Park. The owners boast “lush fruit trees on a quiet back road.” I’m sold.


With the catchphrase, “We’re not fancy, but we’re fun,” here’s an option a bit farther from town: a Pedernales River cabin sleeping up to 12 for $263 night.


Spanish style villaLast but not least, if fancy is your middle name, here’s a Spanish style villa for $2000 a night with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths--in the Barton Springs area at that. All of SXSW becomes walkable; meanwhile, you acquire flat screen TVs, fireplaces, gated entrances, and all-around luxury. And who doesn’t want to feel luxurious after days of partying, dancing, and perhaps, drinking a little too much during Austin’s biggest festival?


Of course, shorter periods of times (e.g. solely the Interactive or Music portions of the festival), there are many, many more options than the mentioned properties. So, what do you think travelers? And, Austinites, are you missing out on potential earning opportunities?


About the author Ashley Halligan: Influential Magazine contributor & managing editor at Austin-based Software Advice

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