Here’s How I Save Big When Booking an Airbnb Rental!
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Read my personal tips for scoring a cheap Airbnb and other Airbnb rental tips!
Renting an Airbnb can be a money-saving way to travel, especially if you have kids!
I was slow to jump on the short-term rental trend, but over the last year and a half since COVID-19 started, my family has stayed in three separate Airbnb rentals instead of opting for hotels when traveling. I can honestly say that each stay has been amazing, and we’ve been super happy with our experiences!
Moving forward, I will definitely be researching Airbnb options more often. So far we have enjoyed two fun weekend getaways and a weeklong family trip.
Important Note: This is not a sponsored post and I paid for my stays each time. I am hoping that sharing my personal experience can be helpful and also FUN to read about!
Not only has it been a great way to socially distance and stay away from crowds, but the accommodations have been very comfortable, and for sure money-saving compared to renting multiple hotel rooms for the family. Fitting all of us in a small hotel room is sometimes not very relaxing, and spending time in a home is so much better!
As an example, we booked an entire 3 bedroom cozy cabin last minute through Airbnb in Prescott, AZ over this previous Labor Day weekend. Not only did it have beautiful mountain views, but it was less than the cost of two local motel rooms. Having comfy couches, multiple bathrooms, and room to relax is such a great perk when traveling with kids.
At this beautiful cabin, we were able to bring our dogs, which meant we saved money by not having to board them or pay a pet sitter. I loved that it had plenty of space, and a full basement with pool table, media room, and karaoke which my teens enjoyed. 😄
We were able to grill steaks on their beautiful deck and cook a bunch of meals in the fully-stocked kitchen which was also money-saving compared to dining out for every meal.
I especially loved waking up to enjoy my coffee outside while watching the deer from the backyard. 🌅 It was incredibly relaxing, and I know staying at a local motel would not have been as special.
I also have been super impressed with each Airbnb host and how responsive they usually are if we have questions. I am one to read each and every review of other Airbnb travelers to ensure the risk of being surprised is low.
Last summer we stayed an entire week at this brand new condo in the town of Silverthorne, Colorado for a great mountain vacation in Summit County for the family. The balcony was faced toward Blue River and my son went fly fishing each day, which was just steps away from the rental.
It was an awesome experience to fall asleep to river sounds each night, and another fun getaway thanks to Airbnb!
To help you save next time you book an Airbnb rental, here are some easy ways to make your money go further!
1. Look for newer Airbnb rental listings.
Collin loves Airbnb also, and has had great luck booking new listings to save money! Here’s her advice:
“When I was searching for a cheap Airbnb rental in the Boise area to visit family, I was really curious about why the particular listing I was interested in was priced really low compared to similar rentals in the area. After checking out the listing page, I realized this Airbnb property had zero reviews, so it was likely that the homeowner was offering a lower price stay to entice renters to book (and add great reviews).
Luckily for me, I’m very familiar with the Boise area, so I felt comfortable booking this home with no reviews.
That said, if you don’t already know much about your destination city, enlist the help of a friend who lives there or check your destination city’s subreddit (like this one for Boise) for more information. Sure, it can be kind of intimidating to not know what to expect given the lack of personal reviews, but I think of it as helping that homeowner launch their Airbnb rental with me as their first PR person in exchange for a deal! Just look for the blue ‘NEW’ box tagged on the listing to find the no-review homes.” – Collin
2. Extend the length of your stay.
Many listings offer an extra discount when you stay a full week — Airbnb users have seen percentages up to 30% off if you book for seven days or longer. If you can swing it, try to extend your 5- or 6-night stay to a full week to take advantage of the discount.
One time, my family really only needed the rental for six days, but the extra discount actually made it cheaper to book for seven days instead of six! Don’t mind me while I add an extra day to our vacation. 🙌
Jennifer on our team has also experienced discounts when renting out an Airbnb for longer. While most people aren’t looking for a rental as long as her and her family, here’s what she had to say:
“We used a great Airbnb last year for 6 weeks because we were in the middle of a major move. It was cheaper to take a longer reservation than try to break it up into smaller reservations. We also used Airbnb another time for 2 weeks when we went to Arizona for a wedding. We noticed that it was the same thing — the longer you stayed, the cheaper it was.
Plus, the house was huge so we shared it with other family members and split the cost. Both Airbnbs were way cheaper than staying in a hotel and I love that you have a kitchen and other amenities of a home.” – Jennifer
3. Don’t be afraid to barter.
If you have a specific budget in mind, you can send a message to the contact for that particular listing and just ask if they can lower their rate. If they’re open to lowering the price for your stay, they can send you a special offer! Your new special price that they send to your inbox should contain all the dates for your stay, and any additional fees such as cleaning fees, pet fees, or any other fees you’ve agreed upon.
While this technique isn’t always guaranteed, the worst that will happen is that they say no. Plus, you’re not breaking any of Airbnb’s terms and conditions just for asking.
“I did this last year without even knowing it to score a cheap Airbnb rental! I was searching for Airbnbs around the beach we were planning to vacation at and found the perfect house! I had messaged the homeowner about possibly getting a discount since we were planning to stay longer than a week and luckily she was thrilled to agree and sent us a special offer! It only took me sending one message to save on two nights of vacation! Woohoo!” – Sara
4. Be loyal to your host.
Be an excellent guest and try to build a relationship with the folks who own the Airbnb you’re staying in. Hosts are known to offer incentives, discounts, and be more flexible when they know you’re a repeat customer. It’s a mutual benefit, as my family and I will be taken extra care of during our stay, and I’ll gladly refer other friends to this listing should they need to rent a place for their family and friends!
Emily from my team also has had a great experience using this trick. Here’s what she had to say:
“I highly recommend developing a relationship with the host. A group of my friends and I stay at the same place during a popular weekend in the ski town south of me. Since we’ve stayed in contact with the Airbnb host and have left positive reviews, they always give our group priority for booking, which is great because it’s always such a busy weekend and locations fill up quickly!
The hosts have even opened up other areas of the house to use additional rooms at no extra cost. Plus, they keep our rate the same each year even if other properties around it have raised their prices.” – Emily
5. Book the Airbnb rental last minute (or super far in advance).
Airbnb hosts tend to drop the nightly cost when it comes down to the last minute to help their listing stand out from others. This is also a good time to practice your negotiation skills if you notice the listing you’ve had your eye on still hasn’t come down in price. Sure, the host could ignore or deny your offer, but many are willing to barter, especially if it means that their space will be occupied rather than sit empty.
Booking far in advance can also have its advantages to try and score a cheap Airbnb. If you know an event near an Airbnb location will cause booking prices to jump, make your reservation early to lock in the low price.
6. Or don’t book with Airbnb at all!
Large hotels are starting to do more and more advertising on Airbnb. This normally gets them lots of extra traction that they normally wouldn’t see when just using their site or other sites like hotel search engine sites.
But what you might not know is that even though you found them on Airbnb, it doesn’t mean that you have to book with them. In fact, oftentimes they might even be cheaper when booking directly through the hotel since they won’t have to pay Airbnb their fee for giving them a spot on their site.
For example, I was recently browsing for an Airbnb in Philadelphia for a week-long trip and it would have been $1,043. Come to find out, Sonder is an up-and-coming chic hotel so I did some digging…
When taking an extra minute to look them up on Google, I found that for the same room and the same exact dates, the cost was only $938 total! On Airbnb, they’re charging $137/night while on Sonder’s site, they’re charging $122/night. That’s a savings of $105 – that’s almost an entire night, FREE! 🙌 Yippee for a cheap Airbnb rental hack!
And to make matters even sweeter, this particular hotel offers a 15% member discount, so there are even more potential savings when booking directly through them.
7. And if that doesn’t work, check Airbnb Plus.
If all else fails, there’s always Airbnb Plus. Airbnb Plus is a selection of only the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail. While you may not score a cheap Airbnb rental per se, you’ll get more bang for your buck.
From self-check-in to all the full amenities of your own home, you’ll gain a greater sense of comfort all around. Every home is verified through in-person quality inspection to ensure quality and design. Just look for the “PLUS” badge.
In closing: I love staying with Airbnb!
I know that Airbnb rental costs can drastically vary depending on where you’re going, how long you’re staying, how much space you need, and other factors, but it’s definitely something to consider when traveling or for hosting extended family. I love when a stay offers a unique experience like having fun games and things to do as a family.
All in all, Airbnb is hands down my favorite way to stay whenever I travel — the savings, convenience, and comfort can’t be beat!