Looking for a last-minute getaway somewhere sunny? Well, rather than forking out big money to stay in a hotel, you could save yourself some real cash by getting an Airbnb instead. But wait, before you do that, there are some hacks that you need to know!
1. Look for long-term discounts
When planning your trip, it may be worth looking at what discounts you can get. Seasoned Airbnb hosts will reward guests if they commit to staying for a long period in their homes. That means that you can nab yourself some cheeky money off just by extending your trip or staying in the same place rather than moving around. If you’re planning a rather long getaway, this could easily be the ideal option for you.
Usually, you will find that hosts offer either weekly or monthly discounts to people who stay for those periods. These can be around 5% to 40% off the usual price. That means that if you time things right, you could easily end up getting more days for the same price you would be paying anyway! Make sure that you check this out before you book.
2. Haggle for a last minute discount
If you’re planning a last minute break, it may be worth haggling for a discount. Now, you will need to be sensitive about this task. There’s no sense in offending people by being just plain cheeky. Instead, you need to be as polite and helpful as possible. Remember, people want to rent out their home; that’s why they are on the app in the first place. So, if it’s not filled a few days before the stay, you might be in luck.
You should, of course, message the host directly to talk about the possibility of a discount. Let them know that you are open to talking about it and don’t make any demands either. That way, you will come across as friendly, rather than just plain old rude. Remember, when you’re asking for something, your pleases and thank yous go a long way.
Read: How to Haggle
3. Switch on the ‘Instant book’ toggle
If you don’t have time to spare, the last thing you will want to do is spend ages making arrangements with the family or host. Luckily for you, there’s an easy way that you can avoid this part of the booking process altogether. You may not realise it but there is an ‘Instant book’ toggle at the top of the app (or the web page if you’re viewing it in the browser!). By clicking on that, you will change the filters of your search.
It means that you will only be able to see listings that are available to book without having to contact the host. (They are the listings that have a little lightening bolt next to them, in case you didn’t know!) That means that you can just click on a place, see if it’s available when you need, and book it in seconds. Genius.
4. Earn yourself some free travel credit
If you haven’t got all that much cash to spend on your next break, this hack is 100% for you. You can earn yourself some free travel credits… Yes, you read that right. So, what do you need to do? Well, first, you should locate the ‘travel credit’ tab. If you click on your profile picture on the app, there should be a drop-down menu with it on. Click on that and then you can get started.
Once you’re there, you will get a link that you can forward to your friends. (Keep in mind that it has to be pals who have never used Airbnb before now. You should ask around before you go ahead and do this!) When your mates sign up and start using the app, via the link, you will get some credit to spend on your travels. The more friends you have, the more money you will be able to make.
5. Always read the reviews
Okay, when you first start using Airbnb, you may not know where to look. After all, there are just so many different styles of homes to stay in, it can all feel a little OTT to start with. One of the ways that you can make sure that you get the most for your money is by reading the reviews. (Note: If a home or host has few reviews, you may want to be wary of them. After all, you don’t know who they are or how legit they are either!)
So, what should you be looking out for here? Well, you need to make sure that they suit your style of stay. For example, if you want to stay with someone who can show you the sights, you can check out how interactive people say the host is. If you want someone who leaves you alone, it may be worth looking for that too. The more reviews someone has, the better you can understand what you will get for your cash.
6. Understand your rights!
All of the above is all well and good, but what if it all goes terribly wrong?! If you happen to get to the apartment or house and realise that things are not quite right, don’t just say nothing. Many people are under the impression that this means game over. You’ve booked and paid so there’s nothing you can do about it, right? Wrong!
In fact, the first step is to say something to the host and explain how very wrong things have gone. Make a list of the problems that you have with the place and explain why they have upset you and how you would like them to be rectified. If that does not work, there is actually another option. You can contact nearby Airbnb reps (via the app) and tell them about the issues that you have had. They should help you along the way and may even find you a new place to stay! Phew.
7. Pay using PayPal (and save £25)
Do you want to save yourself even more cash when you book a holiday? Why, of course, you do! If you’re a first time Airbnb user, it may be worth using this trick to book your very first stay. PayPal have a deal with Airbnb which means that you could get a whopping £25 off your first booking just for paying using the PayPal system (rather than by cash or card). What could be better than that?
Of course, the major drawback here is that you can only use the deal once. However, if you happen to be travelling in a large group, one of you is sure to be an Airbnb newbie so you just need to get them to book the trip for you. Easy peasy!
Check Out: Airbnb and Paypal Deal
8. Look out for hidden fees!
When you’re searching for a place to stay, you will find that the app tells you a basic rate per night. Be aware that you might end up paying more than this when you actually book your trip. The reason is simple — some of the places will have extra hidden fees that don’t show up immediately. It’s worth digging a little deeper so that you can see what you will actually be paying for at the end of the day. Things like ‘cleaning fees’ and ‘holiday tax’ may apply so please make sure that you do as much research as possible.
9. Ask as many questions as possible
Unless you’re doing the whole ‘Instant book’ thing, you need to make sure that you ask as many questions as you can. If something is not clear from the pictures and description, it only takes two moments to go ahead and drop the host a message. Most people who let out their homes pride themselves on being as responsive and helpful as possible. (After all, this is how they earn their rating scores!) That means that they should get back to you ASAP.
If anything seems dodgy or off, you should trust your instincts here. The point is that hosts need to be as clear as they can about things. If they are being at all shady from the start, that is not a good sign at all. You may want to rethink whether you’re comfortable staying with them after that point!
10. Don’t forget to be a good guest!
While the rest of these hacks focussed on how you can make the most out of your stay, this last one is about you… and you alone. When you use Airbnb, hosts can rate you just as you rate them. That means that you need to be as polite and well-behaved as you can be. The last thing you want is to annoy your host and end up with a bad rating, which could affect where you can stay in the future. Be aware that this is someone’s home and you’re staying in it. That means that you need to be as conscientious as you can. Enjoy!