I love to travel. The sights, smells, the food, interesting people. All of it. But it can be overwhelming to have one’s senses challenged all day long. That’s why I prefer to rent a home or condo to stay in when I travel. I like having a place to prepare food, chill out on a couch and binge watch my fave new series, a place to work and most importantly, space to hang when the kids are asleep. We’ve done hotel rooms and creeping around in the dark, watching the telly on mute after the boys have gone to sleep is no fun at all. That’s why I love me an Airbnb.
We’ve stayed in Airbnb’s from Paris to Spain and Mexico and will continue to rent them as long as we travel. We tend to rent entire houses, as we have kids, but I’d totally rent a room if I was travelling alone. That’d be a great way to get to know more about your destination and meet some new friends.
I like to travel for a long time, so sticking to a travel budget is important to me. For that reason, I try to save money on Airbnb as much as possible. These Airbnb hacks help me to get maximum bang for my buck, I know they can help you to do the same.
My Top Airbnb Hacks: Save Money While You Travel
Here is my step-by-step guide to saving money on Airbnb, from joining to making your first booking. Let’s begin:
1. Get your $39 off coupon
2. Create a great profile.
Your profile is where you build trust with the host, so include as much info as you can. Remember you are staying in someone’s home or investment property. They want to make sure you’re a good person who’s not going to trash the place. Share the reasons for your trip, what you love about travel, some things you like to do and perhaps even some feedback you’ve had from landlords, colleagues, employers etc about what a fantastic person you are. You need to show you’re a trustworthy individual, so when you approach a host for a last-minute bargain booking, they can’t find any reason to say no to you.
3. Share the love and save
After you sign up, share the love and refer your friends. They’ll get a $40 coupon for joining Airbnb and you’ll get travel credit once they make their first booking. If you’re travelling with a partner or group, have your travel partner make the next booking in your itinerary (after signing up via your referral link, of course). That way, they can use their discount and your account will also be credited, a double whammy for your travel budget. If your host is wary of hosting someone with new profile and no reviews, have your travel buddy send through a link to your profile (with a good review) and state you are travelling together.
4.Buy Airbnb gift cards on Amazon.Airbnb gift cards are available on Amazon. And sometimes they are even discounted – I recently saw a $50 gift card for only $35! According to reviews adding the travel credit can be a challenge so make sure you give yourself enough time before departure to iron out any issues. If you’re saving for a big trip and want to hoard some travel credit in advance, Airbnb gift cards are a great idea. Also, an excellent gift for the future traveller in your life. Click here to find out more about Airbnb gift cards.
5.Target new hosts or listings with no reviews
If you’re searching for properties and come across a nice looking place with no reviews, don’t click away. That host is itching to get their first booking and the review that goes with it, so they might be willing to negotiate on price. A diplomatic way to approach this would be to send the host a note stating you are new to airbnb and just getting used to the system. Tell them what appeals about their listing and why you’d like to stay there. Tell them you plan to use Airbnb extensively in the future and would like to attain your first excellent review. Explain you will provide a detailed review of their property after your stay. Then, politely ask if they will negotiate on price.
6. Look for gaps in the calendar
If you can be flexible with your travel dates, searching listings for gaps in their calendars could save you a lot of money. Think from the host’s perspective, an empty room makes no money at all. Some hosts will offer you a discount if you work with them. For instance, say you offer to leave at 7am on your final day, so they can clean the room before their next guest check in, that afternoon. Or you could offer to arrive later than the regular check-in time. They key thing here is to offer a win-win. You get a discounted stay and your host gets paying guests instead of empty rooms.
7. Adjust your payment currency
Airbnb is all over the world. They operate in almost all currencies. Most likely, the default currency in your dashboard will be your home country’s currency. I’ve always found it best to pay in the local currency if possible. In our case, we had a European bank account with a debit card attached for booking transactions in Euros. For example, I’ve just run a search for a property in Ireland, paying in both EUR or my home currency of NZD. The price in Euros came to E315, but Airbnb wanted to charge me $477NZD. Even with my bank’s 2.5% currency conversion fee, that’s still way higher than current market rates. In this instance, by booking with my EUR debit card, I’m saving nearly $20. When you travel on a budget, every dollar counts so saving money on Airbnb accommodation gives me more for other things. Twenty bucks is a nights accommodation in some countries!
8. Book last minute
Booking last minute can be a great way to save money on your Airbnb bookings. Of course, you take a chance that the property you want to stay in won’t be available, but if you can be flexible sending a host a message on the day they have some else checking out can net you a discount. Keep an eye on the calendar of the property, if you can see a vacancy in the next day or two, offering to be flexible with your check-in or departure times can make the difference between a hefty discount.
9. Stay Longer
I get that you might not be able to do this, but stays for longer than a week are generally eligible for discounts. Stays for a month or more reduce your nightly price to rock-bottom. I’m writing this from an Airbnb in Merida, Mexico. The nightly rate for our place is usually $70 per night, but we were able to negotiate as we are staying for a month. Our total came to $900USD/month. The reasons a host will discount for a longer stay are many. We are managing our own cleaning, sheets, towels etc. There is only one check-in and check-out to manage in a 30 day period. We are lower maintenance guests, as we are here for longer and spacing out attractions. For a host who also works a full-time job (as ours does) a longer let is preferable, so they discount accordingly.
Airbnb is the ideal way for us to travel. In the past, I’ve used other vacation home services but I really love the Airbnb dashboard. They make payment easy with a credit card (no more telegraphic transfers to Guatemala) and offer fantastic support. Still, I’m a bargain hunter to the death, so figuring out how to save money on Airbnb and travel, in general, is always a focus for me. These Airbnb hacks have been key for me when stretching my travel budget.
Don’t forget to signup to Airbnb using this link to get $39 towards your first qualifying booking. Enjoy!
Have you used Airbnb? Any tips to add?
Read next: How to get cash back on your travel bookings