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3 Money-Saving Tips You Need to Know if You’re Booking an Airbnb

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The cost of everything seems to be up these days. And that includes hotel rooms.

Pacaso says that the average cost of a double-occupancy hotel room is $259 per night. But if you have a larger family, a hotel may not meet your needs. You may find that you’re too cramped, or that a single room can’t accommodate your entire family because you have multiple children. So if that’s the case, an Airbnb may be a better choice.

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Now in the context of this discussion, we’re going to use Airbnb as another way of saying “vacation rental” because it’s less clunky. And you should also know that booking an Airbnb won’t necessarily save you money on a per-night basis. Pacaso puts the average nightly cost of a private rental at $314, though you might save a lot of money by virtue of having access to a kitchen and being able to prepare your own meals while you’re away from home.

Plus, there are other steps you can take to save money on your next Airbnb. Here are three tips to employ.

1. See if you can negotiate a better rate for a long-term stay

Managing an Airbnb can be a lot of work for a host. They have to make sure their home is cleared out — and cleaned thoroughly — in between guests. That’s why it pays to negotiate with your host if you’re booking a longer-term stay — say, 10 days or more.

To do this, simply send the host a message through Airbnb, explain your situation, and ask what they can do. If their normal nightly rate is $250 but you’re asking to stay for 20 days, they may agree to knock $10 or $20 off the cost per night for a couple of reasons.

First, they won’t have to deal with cleaning the home during that time. If their average guest stays only three or four nights, that’s a lot less work.

Secondly, they have guaranteed income for an extended period. If you’re booking for about three weeks straight, your host won’t have to worry about Tuesday or Wednesday night vacancies during that time — so they may be willing to cut you a break because of that.

2. Be willing to bring your own towels and linens

Many Airbnb hosts provide towels and linens as a pretty standard amenity. But if you’re willing to bring your own, you might save money on your booking.

It can be a lot of work to provide clean bedding and towels to guests, especially in a home with a lot of turnover. So you may find that booking a home that doesn’t offer that perk results in a lower nightly fee.

3. Pay attention to cancellation policies

The nice thing about staying at a hotel is that you can usually cancel pretty close to the time of your stay for a full refund. With an Airbnb, your credit card may be charged weeks ahead of your stay, and you may not have the option to cancel so easily.

Before you rent someone’s home, read the fine print. Find out your last day to cancel so you don’t risk losing money if you’re iffy on your travel dates, or if you think there’s a chance you won’t end up being able to go on your trip after all.

That said, if you do need to cancel at the last minute, it’s worth reaching out to the host rather than assuming your money is lost. Often, Airbnb hosts are willing to re-list their properties in this sort of situation and see if someone else books a stay. If they can fill the slots you were taking up, you may get your money back.

Staying at an Airbnb won’t necessarily be cheaper than a hotel under any circumstances. But it may be more comfortable and offer amenities a regular hotel won’t. And if you use these tips, you may find that your next Airbnb stay costs less than expected.

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