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In 2008, one website really changed how people plan trips—AirBnB. This took the idea of private rentals online in a way that had never been seen before.
Now, hotels have been supplanted by regular people who can set their rates and earn extra income at the same time. But how can you make this new travel stay option work for your budget?
We explore ways to make your travel budget go farther by using tips others have suggested when using AirBnB. Let’s take a look at some of the things to look out for and some ways to get great deals with the service:
1. $39 Coupon
One of the easiest ways to get a discount on your trip is to look for a $39 online coupon. These are literally all over the place online with many travel blogs carrying the discount.
The coupon is good on your first booking of more than $75. If, however, you have more than one person living in the house, then it is always possible to have them create an account as well so you can use it again when they make their first booking.
2. Friends and Family (and Even Complete Strangers)
Another way to get the above mentioned coupon is by referring your friends and family to AirBnB. When they use the $39 coupon, you will also get one to use on your next booking.
So, you both get to use the discount. (And if you are traveling together, it’s like double dipping…but allowed!) Also, if you set up a blog and post the link on your website, you will get the coupon every time someone clicks on it and uses your discount offer to make their first booking. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.
3. Reach Out to the Host
One of the easiest ways to get a discount on your booking is NOT to hit the “Book” button. Instead, try contacting the host directly by choosing the link. In this way, you can explain your situation, why you’re traveling and ask about cutting a deal or discount.
Just striking up a rapport with the host can go a long way towards getting them to allow more stay for less money. And like they say, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.” Which leads us to our next point…
4. Fill out Your Airbnb Profile
Just like you want to make sure that your AirBnB host is trustworthy, your host wants to make sure the same for you. After all, they’re letting you into their home.
Fill out your profile in full and be open and honest about who you are. If your host can see that you are a real person with nothing to hide, they may be more apt to cut you a break if you ask for a discount.
All of these hosts are hoping that you aren’t going to be a maniac that will trash their home, so give them reason to know that up front with a classy profile.
5. New Listers Need Love, Too
If someone is seriously looking at earning a lot of money from AirBnB, they have to create a reputation as a quality host. In order to do that, though, they have to book lots of guests.
If you see a listing that doesn’t have many reviews, don’t immediately dismiss it. Instead, contact the buyer and offer to work out a deal with them for a discount.
Many hosts will gladly cut you a deal if they know they will get a review out of it that could potentially lead to more bookings. (Just don’t offer to sell them a good review. We’ve got to keep this ethical!)
6. Mind the Gap
One thing that you can do to get discounts from hosts is to look closely at their calendars. If they have large gaps of space that are not booked, then you may want to take advantage of this.
Most hosts would rather have someone staying at their site, even if it’s at a discount, rather than have the location sit idle earning them nothing. Pay attention to the gaps and you can find really good opportunities for deals.
7. Treat Yourself with a Gift Card
If you didn’t already know this, gift cards can actually be the perfect gift for yourself as well as friends and family. Many places will do discounts such as buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 card as a bonus.
If you were already going to shop there and spend $50, then it’s like getting a free $10 yourself. Look for deals like this, especially on Amazon. Some retailers have been known to post $50 AirBnB gift cards for only $35. Buy these and stockpile them for yourself when you plan your next trip.
8. Waiting ‘Til the Last Minute Can Be a Good Thing
Conventional wisdom has always been that booking ahead of time should save you money. But with AirBnB, if you wait until the last minute to book something, you may be able to catch a host who is willing to make a deal.
Think about it this way: you see on Sunday night that there is an opening for Monday in a town you are visiting. Contact the host and ask if they will discount the rate.
This is one of THE best ways to ensure you will get a good discount. Most hosts will be worried that the property won’t get booked since it is so close to a time period and will be willing to take something instead of getting nothing at all.
9. Long Trips Can Be Cheaper
This one may seem counterintuitive as well, but hear us out. In some areas, occupancy taxes are cheaper if you stay longer than a week. So in that area, it could actually be cheaper in the long run to book an extended stay.
But another thing to consider is how this gives you negotiating power. If a host has seven couples staying in their home for seven one-night stays, they have to do all of the clean up and set-up between each of those guests to get the rooms ready.
If one couple stays for seven nights, they have less muss and fuss to deal with. So, you can then haggle with the host to see if they will give you a discount for staying longer.
10. Off-Season is the Best Season
Another great tip is to book your trip for the off-season. Every major destination has those prime times when all the hotels are booked. But if you’re willing to travel during the “wrong” time of year for that region, you can get a better rate.
Orlando is packed during the summer and holidays because everyone is going during family vacations. But if you go during the middle of February, you’re likely to get a better rate. Ski resorts will be hard to book during the winter, but if you just want a nice mountain retreat without the snow, you can almost name your price if you try to book during the summer.
11. Don’t Use Dollars
We haven’t verified this one, but it sounds like an interesting hack. Some bloggers have found that changing up the currency that is used to book the room can actually have an impact on the rate.
In this case, the blogger changed the currency New Zealand Dollars to Euros and found out they could save more by paying with a Euro debit card than by paying with dollars and converting it to Euros. This one sounds interesting for our international friends.
12. Get Some Work Done
If you do a lot of traveling for work, here’s a way to save money on a business trip. Even if you have an existing account, you can use your work email to log-in temporarily and then mark your trip as being for business.
After you check in, you will then receive a $30 gift code for your next trip of $75 or more.
13. Go Off-Site
One of the ways that AirBnB makes their money is by charging a fee for the booking transaction. So not all of the money you are paying makes its way to the home-owners who are hosting you.
Because of this, some hosts post their properties on multiple websites. If you check these out, you may be able to find the same properties as AirBnB on other websites for less money.
14. Charge It
Many people have taken advantage of credit card offers that give cash back rewards and “points” for your purchases. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will give you extra point rewards when used for travel expenses, including AirBnB and Uber. This way you can charge it, get your reward points, and then pay off the card ASAP.
15. AirBnB Coupons
As with any online service or website, once you sign up, you will be inundated with emails trying to bring you back for another stay. Many times AirBnB will send you coupons and deals themselves to entice you to try them again.
16. Work Off Your Trip
As weird as this one may sound, some bloggers have actually managed to make it work: work off your trip! When you are exchanging emails with your host as part of negotiations, ask if they need any work done around the house.
If you are particularly handy, they may offer you a discount for helping them do some minor repairs or something similar. It never hurts to ask!
Airbnb is a great way to do some traveling, stay in unique locations and homes, while doing it all in comfort and style. By taking advantage of these tips, you will open up a world of traveling possibilities. And the opportunity for more travel!