Ten years ago, if you were traveling to a new country and needed to find accommodation, you would have to find a hotel, hostel, bed and breakfast, or a home stay. Hotels and hostels were the most accessible options and definitely where the majority of travelers would end up. While that’s still the case, recently there has been a shift in the industry of accommodation caused by short-term home rental sites like Airbnb.
With Airbnb, you can rent someone’s flat in Lisbon, Portugal for the weekend, a private room in a mansion in Ahmedabad, India, or a local apartment in the heart of Havana, Cuba overlooking the famous Plaza de Vieja square. These are all examples of places we have stayed at using Airbnb during our travels, all of which were a breath of fresh air compared to the whitewashed walls of hotel rooms. Airbnb has unlocked a new way to travel that can be more authentic, unique, and more affordable. It’s become our preferred method for booking accommodation while we travel.
That’s right – while staying in such incredible places, in local neighborhoods and authentic homes, you can actually save money. In our experience, Airbnb’s are almost always cheaper than hotels but more expensive than hostels. This makes sense because you are often sharing a room with 5 other people with bunk beds in a hostel. However, if you are renting an entire place on Airbnb, which we usually do, then you have your own space including a living room, bedroom, and a kitchen where you can cook food and further save money.
If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet, save $30 dollars on your first booking with this link here.
The Longer You Stay, the More You Save Money on Airbnb
Slow travelers can benefit the most from Airbnb because staying longer allows you to save the most money. This isn’t just conjecture; hosts often offer discounts for weekly and monthly stays that can be significant. Often, if you stay at least a week in an Airbnb you can gain a 10-15% discount, and for monthly stays you can earn 20-50% off list price. A monthly stay is considered a stay 28 days or longer.
This is the way we have been able to travel affordably. We often stay in a city for 28 days in order to benefit from the monthly discounts that are available. As long as you book an Airbnb with a well stocked kitchen, you can cook the majority of your meals and really live like a local would. You can go to the grocery store, belong to a gym, find favorite restaurants to frequent – all the things you do at home.
When you are booking a longer stay, especially a month or more, you can message the host and try to secure an even larger discount. We were forced to do this in Lima, Peru because even with the monthly discounts, the apartments we wanted were out of our price range. We messaged the host, explained our situation, and they were able to extend an additional discount that knocked $80 off the cost for the month. You never know until you ask. Of course, try to be respectful when asking for discounts – Airbnb is a business and they need to cover their costs first and foremost.
Private Rooms vs. Entire Place on Airbnb
We usually like to book the “Entire Place” on Airbnb. This means that you have full, unrestricted access to the apartment or home you are staying in and you have it alone. A private room on the other hand is a private room within someone’s house where they are currently living.
When we are staying somewhere for a month, we love to book an Entire Place because then we have our own space to relax in. It becomes our home for the month, just for the two of us. Since we don’t have a home while we are traveling, it’s nice to find the comfort of our own space in the foreign places we travel to. We also enjoy full access to the kitchen which is ideal because we love to cook. That also gives us the ability to try to cook local food without judgement (the first try is usually a challenge!)
The Airbnb booking website is equipped with filters so that you can identify exactly what you are looking for in a home rental. You can choose the type of place, if you want a kitchen, wifi, laundry on premises, wheelchair accessible, etc. These tools make it very easy to quickly find a rental that will suit the needs of your trip.
When we stay somewhere for a few days, we look at booking private rooms. Often this is out of necessity; booking entire places in big cities can be very expensive for a few days when no discounts are involved. Private rooms are generally much cheaper since you are renting a room in someone’s house, not the entire place.
This is where reviews are very important. Make sure to read the reviews thoroughly to see how the host family is. The last thing you want to do is to pay money to stay with an unfriendly host family. So far, we have only had positive experiences that not only save us money but also offer a greater cultural exchange.
Have You Signed Up with Airbnb Yet?
The best way to immediately save money on your first Airbnb is to signup using someone else’s link. Using this link you can save $30 on your first trip. However, once you’re signed up, you can send others your link to sign up for Airbnb and you will gain $20 for each person that signs up once they take their first trip. Therefore, when you sign up using our link, we will gain $20 towards our next booking on Airbnb. We appreciate it, of course!
This is a great way to save some money on accommodation while also giving your friends and family a nice discount on their first trip. Short-term rentals are the way of the future; it’s the best way to travel in a comfortable, unique way for an affordable price.
Airbnb is a great resource for booking accommodation all over the world. The longer you stay, the more money you can save with discounts ranging up to 50% off list price for a month long stay. Slow travel, dive deeper into local cultures, and enjoy the experience of staying in a local home.