Airbnb: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert Tips

In an earlier post I gushed about how Airbnb is cheaper than hostels, hotels, basically all short-term accommodation. If you’re not familiar with Airbnb there are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of it.

Beginners Tips

1. Best Foot Forward

Like any profile, you need to put your best foot forward. Airbnb hosts are trusting you with their homes so you need to get ID verified, put up a friendly photo and write a tiny bio about yourself. Remember hosts are going to accept or deny your reservation based on your profile so make it shine!

2. Research The Neighbourhood

How much you enjoy your Airbnb can be hugely influenced by the neighbourhood it is in. While it can be tempting to book near a major train station, these areas, while convenient, are not always the most desirable, friendly or safe. I ran into this issue when I stayed in Vienna and really wanted to be sure I didn’t miss my train to Budapest. So, before you visit it is worth doing a few quick google searches on neighbourhoods before booking.

3. ‘Instant Book’ to Avoid Rejection

When you are new to Airbnb with no reviews, or only have a few reviews, hosts are much more likely to reject you. However, there’s a clever way around this. You can filter Airbnb to show only ‘instant book’ accommodation, these usually have a little lightening bolt next to them. These Airbnb’s don’t reject people, when you press book, it books instantly, there is no vetting by the host. I recommend you use these at the beginning of your Airbnb career to build up reviews and therefore trust in your profile.


Intermediate tips

4. Booking Without the Lightening Bolt

As mentioned in tip 3, ‘instant book’ places don’t reject you but you’re intermediate now, so… time to put your profile to the test and try book something that isn’t instant book. There are many more places available that aren’t instant book. The world is your oyster!

5. Get a Referral Bonus

Airbnb gives you a referral bonus when you to invite friends to Airbnb. They get £30 credit and you get £15 credit once they book something. By now you have probably been on some amazing trips and stayed in some unique Airbnb’s so it shouldn’t be hard to convince them! Just got (another) email from Airbnb saying someone has booked through my referral 😀

Yas! £15 credit for referring a friend!

6. Negotiate More Time For No Extra Cost

Hotel and hostels are pretty strict on check in and check out times, they have set routines when cleaners come around, they charge you extra for late check out. Airbnb is the opposite, much more individualised and therefore easier to tailor to your needs. Airbnb allows you to contact the host directly through Airbnb’s messaging platform, this is the perfect opportunity to get in little requests. Every Airbnb host I have asked to extend the checkout time has said yes, it’s all just a matter of asking. This can mean the difference between checking out at 10am and carrying your bag/suitcase around all day before a flight, or spending a day out sightseeing, coming back for a shower before your late afternoon flight.


Expert tips

7. Get the Host to Cancel When You Need to Cancel

Bummer dude, you need to cancel your reservation for one reason or another. It happens. My flight got cancelled by a Lufthansa strike the day before my Airbnb booking. By this time I was set to lose a portion of my booking cost due to it being a last-minute cancellation. So, contact the host and try appeal to them. It worked for me. Ask them to cancel from their end, and of course, if they cancel, you don’t lose your money. Winner, winner.

8. Use the Cancellation Policy to Your Advantage

Airbnb has three levels of cancellation policy; flexible, moderate and strict. Each have different points at where you lose money if you have to cancel your booking. Knowing you can get all your money back if you cancel before a certain point in time means you can book things well in advance and change your commitment without being penalised. This is especially helpful if you have flaky friends or are thinking of booking something in the peak season but haven’t firmed up the details yet. For example, I’m thinking of going to Cinque Terre, Italy which is an incredibly popular European summer destination. If I leave my booking till later in the year, options will be limited or I’ll have to pay way more than anticipated. However, I can use Airbnb to speculate and book something now at its current cost, knowing its secured, but that I could cancel it without penalty X days before (depending on the host’s cancellation policy).

9. Book in the Destination Currency

Finally, you’ve found something sweet and you’re already to book, then you notice Airbnb charges a currency conversion fee… lame. So, head to your settings, change your currency and pay in the destination currency. Note, you’ll need to have your travel cards/money sorted so you actually have that currency available. 

Any who, I hope you have picked up one, two or a few Airbnb tricks. Do you know of any others? Let me know!



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