As the world opens up after the pandemic, travel is once more in full swing, with hotels and Airbnb rentals getting booked out regularly. And as any ardent traveler will tell you, Airbnb is the least complicated and inexpensive lodging option out there. Hotels can be seductive due to their aesthetic appeal and fancy amenities, but Airbnb can help you save money during your trip.
Here are six tips for finding cheap Airbnb rentals:
- Book in Advance.
- Contact the Host.
- Plan a Longer Stay.
- Try New Listings.
- Check the Amenities.
- Pick the Right Location.
In this article, we’ll explore these tips in detail and see how to cut back on travel costs by renting cheaper AirBnBs.
1. Book in Advance
This tip may be a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning in this list because it’s crucial to snagging a cheap listing on Airbnb.
Booking an Airbnb rental closer to the date of your trip will hike prices as you will have to pay an unnecessary premium on a property you could have stayed in for a cheaper amount.
By booking a few months in advance, you’ll have the option of selecting a property with a lower rent as there’s less competition for the same listing. And the earlier you plan your trip and book a listing, the lower the price.
2. Contact the Host
Airbnb rentals have a nifty little feature most travelers are unaware of. It’s called a ‘Special Offer,’ and hosts can use it to lower the rent of their property for specific hosts.
This special offer is a discount that hosts can choose to send you if you contact them directly before booking the property.
So instead of booking a property, you like, click on the ‘Contact Host’ option you’ll find on the listings page. Here you will be required to enter your dates and the number of guests you’re traveling with. And don’t worry, you can review these numbers before your trip.
Once you’ve shared these details, you can send a message to your host requesting a discount in exchange for a confirmation of your stay.
Of course, there are a few factors to consider when asking a host for a special offer:
- Plan to stay at least a week in your desired listing, so the host sees some value in granting you a discount. It’s not worth the host’s time or effort if you’re haggling over a deal for a one-night stay.
- Build a rapport with the host before asking for a discount. You don’t have to contact them regularly, but communication will increase the chances of receiving a discount. Hosts are also looking for guests they can vibe with and will slash prices for the right fit.
Note: Booking at the last minute is another effective technique to avail of the special offer. There may be instances where hosts are unable to find guests for their property and will lower prices to ensure their rental is used.
3. Plan a Longer Stay
This point may seem counterintuitive, but Airbnb offers weekly and monthly packages you should take advantage of whenever possible.
You’ll often find that staying at a rental for seven days costs less than staying in the same place for five days. And a monthly stay can significantly reduce prices compared to staying in the same place for three weeks or even twenty-eight days.
In fact, even if you plan on leaving in twenty-eight days, it’s better to book your stay for thirty days so you can take advantage of the monthly discount.
In some European and American cities, you will be charged an occupancy tax for staying thirty nights or less in a particular rental. In such cases, it’s best to extend your trip to thirty-one days to avoid getting taxed and avail of Airbnb’s discounts.
4. Try New Listings
Most travelers search for Airbnb rental listings that other travelers have recommended, and that’s only natural. You want to know that the place you’re planning to stay in is safe and worth your time and investment.
But popular Airbnb listings frequented by travelers almost always command a higher price as they are in high demand. And you’ll need to shell out a few extra bucks to book a popular listing.
It’s worth the risk to scroll down the listing and find Airbnbs that have been recently added to the portal. Chances are, newer listings won’t have any reviews, and it isn’t easy to ascertain the validity of your host and the lodging they offer.
But sometimes it’s worth taking a risk and booking a new and unpopular rental as the prices are often a lot less. Airbnb typically offers discounts on new rentals, and the prices are lower than the regular spots as these listings haven’t been popularized yet.
Here, of course, it’s best to book a trip for fewer days, in case your stay is less than desirable. And if it’s a catch, you can always stay longer.
5. Check the Amenities
Airbnb rentals offering posh amenities tend to cost more than those providing only the necessities. While accessible WiFi and a dining area are essential, you may not need an outdoor pool or 24/7 air conditioning.
And you can significantly cut your costs by avoiding listings that seem a bit excessive.
You want to find a place where you can do your laundry so you won’t end up spending extra money taking your clothes to the local laundromat.
By taking stock of the amenities, you can ensure you’re getting the comfort that you need without having to shell out too much for unnecessary luxuries.
6. Pick the Right Location
This tip isn’t directly related to lowering your Airbnb rental costs but can help reduce your overall travel expenditure.
When selecting an Airbnb property, look for one that’s close to the places you’re planning to visit frequently. Finding the ideal location can help cut back on transport costs that would otherwise eat up a significant portion of your travel budget.
What Not To Do When Booking an Airbnb Rental
Here are a few things you want to avoid on Airbnb to help reduce costs and ensure a better experience.
Don’t Be Fooled by Superhosts
Superhosts tend to be deceptively attractive due to their high ratings and 5-star reviews. And while most of them offer premium properties with a comfortable stay, the title of a super host can be pretty misleading.
Airbnb awards ‘Superhost’ status to various listings based on specific criteria:
- Hosts must have at least ten guests in one year.
- Hosts must respond to guests promptly and maintain a minimum response rate of 90%
- At least 80% of guests need to leave a 5-star review
- Hosts should rarely cancel guest reservations
In exchange for fulfilling these criteria, super hosts are allowed to charge a premium on their property and are featured higher up on Airbnb’s listings.
While it’s worth finding a trustworthy host, most hosts verified by Airbnb will respond on time and rarely cancel bookings. Rental properties owned by super hosts tend to cost more than other listings, and you can avoid these additional costs by going through regular rentals.
Don’t be Unavailable
Suppose you’re trying to maintain a good rapport with your host or get a special offer. In that case, it’s imperative to respond to their messages in a timely manner and maintain a regular flow of communication.
If you’ve sent your host a message and they reply, it’s crucial to get back to them within the next 24 hours. A timely response will give your host the impression that you want to invest in their property, increasing investment in their efforts to get you to stay with them.
By keeping a channel of communication open, you increase your chances of successfully obtaining a discount from your host.
Don’t Book Immediately
It can be tempting to book a property as soon as you find a listing that fits your budget, but wait! Scour Airbnb’s website for other properties as you may find an even cheaper one, especially if you’re booking your stay a few months in advance.
If you’re worried about losing the desired property, you can message the host and ask them to pre-approve your property. This way, the property becomes available for you to book if you don’t find something cheaper.
Asking your host for pre-approval will also instill the idea that you want to stay on their property, making them more likely to hold their listing for you.
Don’t Trust the First Price You See
When you first look at a property on Airbnb, the rate on display is typically much lower than the amount you will end up paying. If you haven’t entered your dates yet, the price you see will be the lowest amount chargeable to a guest staying on that property.
Your travel destination may have a special event over the weekend or on specific dates. In such cases, the price of your desired listing is sure to rise significantly, and you won’t know until you’ve put in your travel dates.
Sometimes you’ll see the heading ‘Total Cost’ on the main search page, but this price doesn’t include additional costs or taxes that are yet to be factored in. It’s only when booking the property that you’ll get a glimpse of the total cost involved.
It’s essential to keep this in mind when you’re comparing property prices so you get an estimate of how much you’ll be spending.
Q. Is It Possible To Cancel Airbnb Rental Reservations Due to COVID-19 Related Issues?
Airbnb had a policy allowing guests to cancel reservations due to covid-related circumstances before March 2020. However, as of now, there is no policy to safeguard a guest’s payment against cases relating to COVID-19.
The company will make an exception where a guest or host is affected by the coronavirus and can provide proof of the same.
However, issues like quarantines, lockdowns, evacuation orders, border closures, and other government mandates will not be considered when reviewing a cancellation policy. Guests must make more flexible bookings if they are concerned about the same.
Q. Does Airbnb Do a Background Check on Its Hosts?
Airbnb does not do background checks or on-site visits to verify its hosts’ properties. Hosts are required to upload a valid photo ID and pictures of their rental.
They can also link their profile to social media pages for added verification. However, Airbnb does not collect background information on its users, which is why reviews are so helpful.
Q. Does Airbnb Refund Service Fees?
Airbnb refunds service fees under certain circumstances. If you cancel your booking within a stipulated period (which may vary based on the listing), Airbnb will return your rental fee. However, you’ll need to cancel your booking at least 48 hours after making the reservation.
If you cancel your booking after 48 hours, Airbnb is not obligated to refund the service fee.
Q. Does Getting Good Reviews Lower the Price of Stay?
Getting a good review as a guest will not reduce prices during your next booking. However, it will make you more trustworthy and increase the likelihood of getting special offers and discounts from your hosts.
Q. Do first-time Airbnb Users get a Discount?
Airbnb has a pretty generous referral program where first-time users can get a significant discount on their initial bookings. The company offers a promo code to first-time users, with discounts as high as $55!
Q. Can I Cancel my Airbnb Rental During my Stay?
If you are having issues with your host or the lodging you have rented, you can cancel your booking for a partial refund or report the issue to Airbnb for a complete refund.
However, it’s best to report any issues within 24 hours after you check-in.
Q. Does Canceling a Booking as a Guest Hurt Your Rating?
Canceling your Airbnb rental reservation has zero impact on your profile as a guest. You will be allowed to book listings and can avail of the same prices and discounts as before. You may lose money though, depending on the cancellation policy at the time of booking.
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- AIRDNA: What is Airbnb’s Superhost Status Really Worth?