Airbnb is one of the most popular travel booking websites for short and long-term vacation rentals, and with good reason. Many people love Airbnb because for its ease of booking a rental, the vast amount of rental options available and the ability to stay at a unique location as if you were a local. In some cases, it can be even cheaper and more convenient to stay at an Airbnb than at a hotel.
With spring and summer travel just on the horizon, it’s time to start getting serious about booking a rental for your next trip so you can maximize your savings and avoid any last-minute stresses. To help, we’ve rounded up some useful money-saving tips to use the next time you use Airbnb. For even more savings, check out the current deals and Airbnb coupons and promos available right now.
1. (Respectfully) Negotiate With the Host
Before you rent a property on Airbnb, you have the option of messaging the host by selecting “contact host” on the information page of whatever property you are looking at. Ask politely if there is room to negotiate the rate.
Here is a list of circumstances when it’s a good time to ask a host for discounts:
- Extended stay: You are planning to stay for several weeks or more than a month.
- Slow season: You are planning to stay during a decreased travel period.
- New posting: You are renting a place with few ratings.
Note: Though this is an option to save a few coins, you should not do this with every Airbnb host. The reason is if too many hosts complain to Airbnb that you are looking for a discount on every accommodation, your account could get suspended or banned.
2. Book in AdvanceLike most travel accommodations, it’s always wise to book as far in advance as possible to get the best savings. There is often a spike in booking costs if you book a place within a few weeks from your travel date. Also, if you wait too long you might run the risk of booking during a peak period – which means higher costs.
3. Book Last Minute
This tip does seem contradictory to the last one, but it does work. If a host is looking to fill bookings, they sometimes will lower their prices last minute. This will require that you watch Airbnb listings closely and keep track of price changes.
4. Be Flexible with Dates
If you plan on going to Miami during the Fourth of July, you’re going to get hit with some hefty accommodation prices. Planning a trip during a peak period, such as a holiday or long weekend, means you’re going to face some higher rates. But if your plans are flexible and you travel at a less busy time, you’ll often find the best rates for your stay.
5. The More the Merrier (and Cheaper)Booking with a group of people allows you to split the total cost of the accommodation. Instead of booking multiple hotel rooms and worrying about whether your party will be placed on the same floor, you will know for sure that your group will be in the same place.
Note: If you do decide to book an Airbnb with more than two people, be sure to select how many people will be staying on the property during checkout. Not doing so might result in additional fees or worse – a suspended or banned account.
6. Utilize the Filter Feature
Get exactly what you’re looking for using the search tool. Here are a few things you can specify for your accommodation:
- Price range
- Choosing between having the entire place to yourself, a private room or a shared room
- A place with free parking (a must if you’re renting a car)
- Free washer and dryer
If you tailor your search for all of your travel needs, you will find a lot of hidden savings. For example, have you ever considered how much money and time goes down the drain when you’re trying to find parking in a new city?
7. Pick a Place with a KitchenSure, it’s fun (and delicious) to try all the restaurants and food trucks in the area while you’re on vacation. But that adds up fast, especially if you’re on an extended trip. If you go with an Airbnb rental that includes a working kitchen, think about how much money you’ll save if you don’t have to rely on take-out or restaurants for your every meal.
8. Longer Stays=More Savings
Many Airbnb hosts and superhosts will offer some form of discount for longer stays. On the booking information page, you can find week-long and month-long discounts begin after the following durations:
- Week-long discount: Triggered when staying between seven and 27 nights
- Month-long discount: Triggered when staying 28 nights or more
Sometimes, monthly discounts can reach 50% or even higher! This could mean that instead of booking for three weeks, you could book for four and save more money, depending on the discount.
9. Set Up a Payment Plan
Airbnb has a feature that allows you to pay just a portion of the total fees at checkout. To do this, make a booking and choose to pay a portion of the booking’s Total Fees by selecting the “Payment Plan Feature.” Airbnb Platform will notify you of the amount and schedule of each payment due. On the second payment due date, Airbnb Payments will automatically charge the original payment method you used to make the booking.
Note: Gift Cards and credits cannot be used for the second payment.
10. Take Some Photos to Avoid Potential FeesBefore you leave your Airbnb, take some photos of all the rooms. These photos won’t just be for the memories of your amazing trip, they will also serve as evidence of the condition you’ve left the place in. This will help you avoid any cleaning service or damage fees you might get hit with. It’s always good to cover your bases!
11. Try Out Airbnb “Experiences” Hosted by Locals
Not sure what to do on your trip, or want to have a local take you around the city? You can book Airbnb Experiences that are led by local hosts. The activities can range from cooking classes, food tours, arts and craft workshops, hikes through nature, and really anything you can think of. If you book an experience that includes food and drinks, you’ve pretty much got your meals covered. Plus, you can get the full immersive experience and truly unique activities that will make your trip memorable.
12. Set Up a Deal Alert
Airbnb discounts and deals do exist, and they will often be posted to our site by our dedicated Slickdeals users. To make sure you don’t miss out on these deals, set up a Deal Alert to get updates when a deal is posted. Most of the deals will be in the form of Airbnb gift cards at a discount or free gift cards, which can be used to reduce the total cost of your stay.
Check out previous Airbnb deals to get an idea of what you can look forward to.
Airbnb Booking FAQs
Can I cancel my Airbnb stay and get a full refund?
It depends. The cancellation policy is chosen by the host and listed on each accommodation page. Check out this article on all the types of cancellation policies at Airbnb.
If I’m booking with multiple people, can we pay separately?
No. Currently, Airbnb only allows one payment method at checkout. To make the most of your purchase, use a credit card with a good cash back rewards.
Is Airbnb cheaper than a hotel?
The answer depends on a lot of different variables. Destination plays a key role, along with the size of the rental property, and whether or not you’ve booked during a peak period. Though the prices can be similar or a little bit more, at an AirBnB you are offered more space and amenities, such as a washer, a dryer, a kitchen, and the option to book extended stays at a discounted rate.
Is my Airbnb accommodation guaranteed?
No. However, in the event that your reservation is canceled by the host, Airbnb will refund you the number of your total fees or use reasonable efforts to help you find and book any unused nights left in your accommodation to another accommodation that is comparable to or better than the accommodation described in your original stay (in terms of size, rooms, features and quality).
What are Airbnb guest service fees?
Most guest service fees are under 14.2% of the booking subtotal (nightly rate + cleaning fee + additional guest fee, if applicable—excluding Airbnb fees and taxes). This fee varies based on a variety of factors and is shown during checkout before you book so you know what to expect.
Is there a referral discount?
As of April 2021, the referral program has ended. In the past, users were able to get a discount by sharing ar referral link.