There is ONE question that digital nomads have been pondering about since Airbnb was created back in 2008... "How to Save on Airbnb!?"
Why would digital nomads care so much about how to save on Airbnb you might ask.
This is because Airbnb (or accommodation more generally) is probably the single biggest expense nomads need to pay in a regular basis.
So it make sense to try to save all we can on that.
In this article I selected the 9 best tips on how to save on Airbnb. I hope you find them useful.
The best and most consistent way to save money on Airbnb is to negotiate the price with the host.
In a nutshell what you need to do here is, rather than clicking to book straight away, you should click to contact the host. When you do that you will be able to ask for a discount.
You should follow my step by step foolproof script to get massive Airbnb discounts.
If you want to check out the script click here.
#2 Target New Airbnb Hosts or Listings with No Reviews
There are two main reasons why you should target new hosts and listings with no reviews.
First, these hosts are probably still figuring out how much money they can charge for renting their property, thus they might put their properties below market price.
Second, a portion of these Airbnb hosts also offers a 20% discount to their first customers, in order to get the first reviews quickly.
#3 Look for Gaps on Their Booking Calendar
If you are flexible with your travel dates, you can use this Airbnb hack in your favor.
You can try to leverage a discount by looking at the property calendar and finding gaps between two other bookings.
Usually, these gaps between bookings are difficult periods to be rented out, thus Airbnb hosts are more than willing to negotiate down their price.
#4 Adjust Your Payment Currency
Airbnb is a company that operates worldwide.
Therefore, it makes sense to accept payments in different currencies.
What people don’t know is that it is possible to change the currency of the payment, and by doing so you can actually lower the price of your stay.
As a rule of thumb you should always choose to pay the property using the local currency from where the Airbnb is located.
To change the currency you should look for the currency option on the header or footer menu of the Airbnb website.
There are two reasons why changing the local currency will make the overall price cheaper.
- Conversion fee: You will avoid the 3% conversion fees that exist whenever you are converting among different currencies.
- Conversion rate: You will avoid the Airbnb conversion rate. Thus, you will be instead using your bank/credit card conversion rate which generally will be better than the Airbnb rate.
#5 How to Save on Airbnb by Booking Late (Last Minute Discount)
If you find yourself going on a trip at the last minute, then you can appeal to the last minute discount.
Some host set up this type of automatic discount on the Airbnb platform. This means that the Airbnb listing will start dropping price some nights off the specific date (usually 5 to 10 days prior to the date). The discount is usually around 5% to 10% of the booking price.
However, even if the host did not set this automatic last-minute offer, you can still try to manufacture it "manually", by asking the host for it.
Your aim here is to offer the Airbnb host the opportunity to rent his property ASAP (e.g. that very same day, the next day, etc.) if he gives you a discount on the final price.
The advantage to the Airbnb host is that he can secure his rent and avoid the risk of having an empty property that does not make him any money.
The advantage for you is that you will get an Airbnb booking with a discount.
There is another variation of the last-minute technique that I present in the Infamous Airbnb Script that you can check out by [thrive_2step id='411']clicking here[/thrive_2step].
#6 How to Save on Airbnb by Booking a Long Stay (Long-term Discount)
Airbnb allows hosts to set special discounts for different stay lengths (i.e. weekly discount, monthly discount). Though these discounts are not required, most hosts provide them.
Do not underestimate such discounts. These can be up to 40%.
With that in mind, it is quite obvious that you should strive to stay long enough to meet the minimum required days to qualify for a discount.
The number of days to qualify for each type of discount are the following:
- Weekly discount: 7-27 days
- Monthly discount: 28+ days
Pro tip: Sometimes it is better to book an Airbnb for longer then you will actually stay just to get a discount. For example, if you can only stay 27 days in a place you will only qualify for the weekly discount. Let us imagine that the weekly discount is 10%. However, let us assume that a given host gives a 30% discount for the month. In this case it would make sense to book for an extra day even though you might leave a day earlier, since by doing so you will be saving money.
#7 How to Save on Airbnb by Booking Ahead of Time (Early Bird Discount)
The alter ego of the last minute offer (that we saw on tip #5) is the early bird discount.
It is basically the opposite.
Which means that this is the discount for when you are making a booking far in advance from the check-in date.
Hosts are not obliged to set this type of discount, but many of them do. Usually hosts set this type of discount to be applicable for when you are making a booking 30 to 120 days in advance. The discount is usually around 5% to 10% of the booking price.
#8 Find a Place with a Kitchen and Washing Machine
This is a quite straightforward tip, but people sometimes overlook it.
In certain parts of the world, eating out every meal and using laundry machines outside can be quite costly. If you rent a place with a kitchen and a washing machine, you will save money.
#9 Watch Out for Extra Fees and Ask to Cut Them Off
The price you initially see on the Airbnb website when you make a search is usually not the final price.
To figure out the final price, you need to click on the booking button.
Apart from the price per night, Airbnb will show you some or all of the following fees:
- Cleaning fee: This is the fee for cleaning the property once you checked-out.
- Service fee: This is Airbnb’s fee; usually Airbnb charges about 5-20% of the booking price.
- Extra guest fee: This is the fee for each extra guest you bring to the property.
- Local taxes and fees: This is the fees that apply to properties being rented out in certain regions/countries.
- Conversion fee: This is the 3% fee Airbnb charges you if you need a currency conversion in your payment.
Some of these fees can be cut out and some cannot. I will list below the fees you can in fact cut and how to do that.
Cleaning fee: You can ask the Airbnb host to cut this fee since this is entirely up to him. Tell him that you will keep the house very organised and clean, and thus the cleaning fee would not be necessary. You can point to your positive reviews (if you have those) to support your claim.
Extra guest fee: Some people prefer to lie about the number of guests and sneak in more people to the flat (assuming you are renting the whole Airbnb).
This may work in many instances but I do not think this is the way to go. I think the best approach is to simply be honest and ask the host to cut this fee altogether. Once again this is a completely arbitrary fee and most hosts do not have a good justification for it. You will see that many hosts will accept to cut this off if you ask.
Conversion fee: You can cut this fee by choosing to pay using the local currency from where Airbnb is located. I explain this on tip #4 of this article.
What about the Service fee and Local taxes?
I know that some nomads try to avoid these fees altogether by negotiating with the host directly. In other words, they try to reach a deal outside the Airbnb platform.
I do not think this is a good approach. First of all it is unfair to Airbnb since you are paying nothing to use their service. Second, you will not be protected under the insurance that Airbnb provides to all their hosts and guests. At the end of the day if something goes wrong, then you are on your own.