Tips for booking via Airbnb: save money & avoid misunderstandings

I like to book via Airbnb while I’m traveling because it helps me to save some money. As well it makes me feel like at home. For example, if I stay in a flat I can cook there and do other things that I usually can’t do in the hostels, guest houses. Also you can find some authentic places to stay, be a bit closer to a local culture. Here you can check more my pros and cons about staying or renting through Airbnb.

If you are new with Airbnb, I suggest to try it at least once and see by yourself if it suitable for you. But before booking via Airbnb you should pay attention in some things that I learned during my experience. I believe that these tips can save you a bit money and will help you avoid surprises.

How to start use Airbnb?

It’s easy!

  • Sing up.
  • Create informative profile and verify it. Some hosts may not accept you’re booking if you don’t have a verified profile. You want to book a place with host who tells more about himself? Host wants to know more about people which he will let inside his home as well.

TIP: you can check places in Airbnb (see the prices, free days in calendar and etc.) without signing in, but some of the functions you won’t be able to use.

You sign in. What’s next?
  • Write your destination, how many days you want to stay and how many people will be (in search box that appears in the Airbnb landing page). You will get all results that suit your search request.
  • Now you can mark, choose, use all filters to get only those results that fit exact your needs: choose room type, price range that you want to pay for a stay. Click “More filters” and check all boxes that are important for you. Then click “Apply filters”. You will get all results in the list that suits your search. Also all those places will be marked in the map on the right side of the list. So you can easily see which place is in which part of the city/island and etc.

TIP: in the right-bottom of the page you can change the currency and language. All search result information will be given by currency, language you want.

How to use Airbnb
I marked places where you can find information, change settings and select what you need

What you should pay attention first before booking via Airbnb?

When you will get all list that match your detailed search, choose some hosts that you like.

  • Check the pictures of the place – is it exactly what you are searching for?
  • Read the reviews about the place – but be objective reading them. People’s understanding of cleanliness, distance and etc. can be different from yours. But those reviews can give you general impression of the place. As well what I like in Airbnb – reviews appears only when both sides (guest and host) write them. So if guest wrote bad review, host don’t know it till he will write review about guest – there can’t be “revenge” – you wrote bad, I read and I will write bad about you as well.
  • Check the profile of the host – you will find there information that host provides about himself, picture, guests reviews and list of other places that he rents (can be that host have several different apartments or renting more rooms in the same house but with different conditions). I had experience in Oslo, when the couple was renting 2 their rooms – one was bigger and more expensive, other – smaller and cheaper. I didn’t know that because I didn’t check the listing of the host, so I booked bigger one when the smaller was free as well. At that time I could save a bit more money. But it’s my lesson that I learned for next Airbnb booking.

TIP: if you like several places add them to wish-list (button under the calendar – see the picture above). If during booking via Airbnb process something won’t work out with your choose place, you won’t need to start the new search and spend again your time. You can pick the places from your wish-list and contact those hosts.

Airbnb guide
Check information about the host, reviews about him, other places that he rents
Places that you picked match your needs? Check other important things


Till you won’t make booking via Airbnb you won’t see exact address but it will be shown rough area where it is. Usually the host in the place description writes distances till main tourist objects. If not, sometimes you can find this information in guests reviews.


Check carefully host information about the place. What is the place rules, check-in, check-out time, booking cancellation policy (different hosts can have different cancellation rules), is it easy to get to the place with local transportation, what kind of equipment host provides and everything else that is written


You should know that host can put different prices depending on the dates. For example on weekend or holidays the price can be higher than on low season. When in the first search step you add dates you want to stay, the prices already shown of those dates. But if you will decide to change the dates, the price can be different. As well Airbnb take some service fee – it can be different amount depends on duration of your stay, the booking price. Some hosts as well put extra fee for cleaning, extra bed and etc. (even if you selected that will be 1 guest and later change your mind – will come 2 people, the price can be not exactly just double, but even more). Sometimes depends on some countries rules, can be added even special tax fee. So final sum can be a bit different that was shown in the beginning.


Some hosts allow you to book the place instant (please, check the first photo, I marked it near the price). In this case you don’t need to get any approval from host. You like the place, rules and etc. you just book it.

If the place doesn’t have instant booking, after you will make reservation, the host during 24 hours can accept it or reject. Yes, sometimes even if you choose free dates in calendar host can cancel booking without any explanation (maybe he doesn’t find information in your profile, maybe he didn’t update calendar and those dates already booked).


Different hosts can choose different cancellation policy. Before booking via Airbnb be sure about your will to stay there, dates. If you will change your mind and the host has strict cancellation policy you will lose some of your money, if it’s flexible cancellation policy – only Airbnb won’t return their fee but other money will be refund to your account.


If in place photo you saw that something is missing what you need or you didn’t find information in the description – before booking via Airbnb, contact the host and ask what is important for you. As well if you need something extra to be prepared for you, you can ask host if he can organize it. If it’s not written and you didn’t ask but expected that something will be – don’t be disappointed. The host provides all information that he thinks it’s important, but for you can be important something else.

People are different and different things matter for them, but I usually ask such things (if don’t find it it in description):

  • What is in the neighborhood? Who is living around? Is there are any noisy bars, busy streets around?
  • How far is the public transportation stop?
  • Will I have separate set of keys? Will my room where I will stay have a lock?
  • Is there is coffee, sugar that I could use?
  • Will be there any other guests during my stay (if I’m renting a room in several rooms apartment)?

TIPS: some hosts give discounts if you stay longer – for a week or month (it’s written in place description). I never tried but I know that you can contact the host and negotiate the price as well. Even if he don’t give the discount for longer stay – you can ask for it.

Tips for using Airbnb
Read carefully rules, description, contact host if needed before you will decide to book the place
Time for booking!
  • Final step from your side – click the “Request to book” and booking process will start.
  • The booking should be accepted or rejected by host during 24 hours otherwise the system without host approval will reject it automatically. If it will happen – no worries – you still have other places that you liked in your wish-list.
  • When host will approve your booking you will get email with all information. The phone number of the host, most of the time the exact place address (if you won’t receive it – ask from host).
  • After booking is accepted your money won’t go straight to the host account. Airbnb will “keep” it till your end of the stay. So if something will be not exactly how was agreed and etc., you can claim for Airbnb, they will inspect the case and if you are right – they will return your money back.
  • Keep in touch with host – before coming agree the time and how you will meet, how you will get the keys and etc.
Using Airbnb
One of places that you can book via Airbnb in Bali

What else you should know about booking via Airbnb?

Booking via Airbnb pinterest
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  • Not only local people rents their homes, sometimes you can find hostels, guest houses and etc. who suggest to stay in their place. If you find such – before booking via Airbnb, check their prices in other websites, for example Agoda, Booking, Hotelscombine and etc. Maybe in these websites have extra discount or even better price (you can see below one of examples of different prices of the same place).
  • Sometimes it happens that the host cancels the booking even couple days before you arrive. Not nice, but no worries, try to contact other hosts from your wish-list.
  • If the host asks you to pay in cash or make a transfer straight to his account – never do it. If something will go wrong, Airbnb won’t protect you or refund your money. All renting through Airbnb should be done only by their system.
  • If you found amazing place, the price looks extremely cheap and there is no review yet, be vigilant, maybe something is not right. You can just save picture of the place on your desktop and add it to google search. If it’s not real place or the picture is stolen you will find it in google. In this case you can report Airbnb that somebody try to cheat.
  • Don’t book the place instead of your friends, because if something will happen you will take the responsibility for it (because you booked the place).
  • Using Airbnb doesn’t mean that the host will be all the time around. The host can help you as much as he can but don’t expect that he will become your guide.
  • After your stay don’t forget to leave the honest review that could be useful for future guests.
Let’s see quickly in practice how to choose the best place, for example in Bali

In price range I choose the cheapest places (9-20 EUR/per night). The result – more than 300 offers. I pick randomly 4 of them.

1. Shared room, shared bathroom in villa (South Kuta)

1 guest 9 EUR/per night, 2 guests – 19 EUR/per night.  Service fee – extra 3 EUR. In total for 2 people will cost 22 EUR/per night.

Airbnb booking

  • Instant booking – so can take it if you want straight now.
  • Flexible cancellation policy. But charges extra for extra people.
  • 24 hours check-in, pets allowed, kids/family friendly.
  • No air condition, now parking (but if you want to reach this place you need to drive a motorbike).
  • This room by itself doesn’t have reviews yet, but host in general has 160 reviews.

If you click for host listing he offers 10 different rooms in the same villa just conditions are different. For example, other rooms have air condition, strict cancellation policy, check-in, check-out times, free parking and etc.

2. Kenari guest house (Ubud)

Even if the price written 9 EUR/per night, already in March all dates are with higher price. No matter 1 or 2 guests the price the same 10 EUR/per night. Service fee – extra 1 EUR. In total for 2 people will cost 11 EUR/per night.

Booking through Airbnb

  • Already from the name you see that it’s not a person’s home it’s guest house with breakfast, 24 hour check-in, but no WI-FI (just simple internet).
  • You can book it instantly.
  • The prices changes to higher after April.

If you click for host listing, he offers 10 different places in Ubud. From guest houses to hotels and villas. I hope I won’t offend anyone but renting via Airbnb it’s this person business.

Like it’s guest house I found their offer in Booking. The same dates for 2 people there costs 12 EUR/per night. But they charge extra 2 EUR for breakfast. As well in written check-in/check-out times, in Airbnb it’s not mentioned. If you would like to rent this place – this time booking via Airbnb is cheaper (except if you have some discounts in Booking or rewards that you can use and get better price).

3. NauHere Capsule Beds (Kuta), but Seminyak, Legian beaches are more closer than Kuta beach

1 guest 9 EUR/per night. Service fee – extra 1 EUR. In total 1 night per person will cost 10 EUR. But prices are different depends on the dates.

How to book via Airbnb

It’s a dormitory with check-in/check-out time, breakfast, air condition, strict cancellation policy.

I found this dormitory in other websites as well. In Agoda you can get bed for the same dates for 8,15 EUR/per night. In TripAdvisor you can see other prices from different websites as well.


4. Bamboo birds-nest rice field (Ubud)

The place offers to stay in 5 meters up with  traditional Balinese shower and toilet. Could be interesting experience?

1 guest 15 EUR/per night (2 guests, the same). Service fee – extra 3 EUR. In total 1 night for 2 people will cost 18 EUR/per night. But prices are different depends on the dates.

Tips for booking in Airbnb

  • Has chek-in/chek-out time, breakfast, strict cancellation policy
  • Don’t provide any amenities.
  • 21 review with 95% recommendation.
  • The host has 531 reviews in total and 10 different listing in Ubud.



Now you see how different can be conditions and why it’s important to check everything before booking via Airbnb.

Do you have other tips and hints for booking via Airbnb? Maybe some stories that other people could learn from? Please, share in the comments.

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

Is it worth to stay / host via Airbnb?
Tips for traveling in Asia
Travel resources

Is it worth to stay / host via Airbnb?

I heard about Airbnb few years ago but only recently join this community. I’m not only booking places to stay while traveling but as well hosting other people through it. If you are still not sure if Airbnb is exactly what you are searching for your trips or earn extra money – here is my pros and cons for joining Airbnb. Hope it will help you to decide.

Why you should consider to STAY via Airbnb?

  • You can find accommodation in more than 190 countries all around the world. And can book not only a room in the flat, full apartment but as well castle, houseboats, windmills and other places for your stay.
  • You can rent a place for 1 night or months, depends on your needs (if you stay longer than a week you get discounts).
  • It can be cheaper than stay in hotel or even home-stay. For example in Oslo I stayed via Airbnb. I rent a room in a flat where was living owner. To rent a room was cheaper than all flat. I made breakfast, cook lunch and dinner there, so I didn’t spend money for eating outside (what is quite expensive in Oslo). In total I pay less than would stay in home-stay and would eat outside.
  • You can read honest reviews about place where you want to stay, like comments are published only after both sides (guest and host) complete review. So there are no “revenge” comments if your host didn’t like your review.
  • It’s a community, so you get a lot of support in any case (solving problems, refund money and etc.).
  • Most of the hosts are the same travelers like you, so they try to make your stay as good as possible. What is sometimes missing in hotels, where people just making business and work only for money.
  • Staying in local places you can feel more like at home, sometimes be closer to local culture and daily life, what is missing in hotels.
  • You can contact many hosts and later decide which one to choose. You get 24 hours to approve your booking or not.
  • It’s easy to book – you need just register in Airbnb (get verified), find a place, if you have additional questions contact host before booking (you can get replies through SMS) and then book. The system will make reminders before the trips, will arrange all payment process (no cash needed).
  • You can apply many filters before finding the right place: choose property type, amenities (smoke detector, iron, suitable for events and etc.), size of apartment, price range, room type, guest numbers and much more.
  • Usually booking a room in hotel you don’t see exact room where you will stay, maybe it will be near elevator other noisy place. In Airbnb you see all pictures and know exactly where you will stay. If photos not enough – you can ask a host to send extra pictures.
  • If you need stay longer, you have everything you need for your daily needs: washing machine, kitchen equipment and etc. you don’t need to pay extra for any service (like laundry in hotels).
  • When booking a room at the apartment you don’t have to spend all the time with the landlord. For example in Couchsurfing it’s exchange – you get free stay because the host wants to know more about you, your life, travels and etc. Host expects that you will spend more time with him.

What you should know before booking in Airbnb

  • The host can cancel your booking without explanation even if calendar was free at your choose days. As well not reply during 24 hours, then booking will be automatically canceled.
  • If you rent a room in couple rooms apartment, can be hosted more than 1 traveler at the same time.
  • If you are booking a room with owner, don’t expect that he will be the person who will show you around or will spend with you most of the time (it can be but not with all hosts).
  • When you are booking a room with landlord, you should consider that you are coming to his daily life routine. For example in the photos kitchen looks tidy but in reality can be a bit messy.
  • Like in any accommodation place (no matter hostel, hotel or Couchsurfing) there are house rules that you need to follow.
  • Some hostels put their ads in Airbnb as well and put prices higher than you can find in accommodation search engines.
  • You should understand that if you rent a room or apartment, there will be around neighbors. Maybe their daily life routine can be noisy and etc. (but you can ask host about neighbors).
  • You rent a private room or flat but the public spaces like corridor can look differently than place interior. But is it matter if you don’t stay in corridor?
  • The prices can be different from what you see in main page. It can vary depends on your selected days, how many people will stay. As well will be added Airbnb fee, can be added cleaning fee.
  • If it’s important for you, not all hosts are local people.
  • You can read some stories in internet about not nice experiences with hosts, but where you won’t find such things if you belong to community?
How to use airbnb
Easy search and booking Airbnb system

Why worth to RENT a place through Airbnb?

  • There is no registration fee. And eligible hosts are protected up to $1,000,000 with the Airbnb Host Guarantee.
  • Your place don’t need to be available all the time. You can mark in calendar when you are not available. So it can be only temporary hosting.
  • Before listing your place you can add all information for guests: check-in, check-out timing, is it suitable for pets or kids and etc. You can make it as comfortable for yourself as you want.
  • All members should verify their account, so in any case, Airbnb have all information about guests (hosts as well).
  • You can get a lot of support from Airbnb: tips, reminders and etc. 24 hours per day.
  • If you are renting a place it doesn’t mean that you need to stay with a guest all the time. Just behave with a guest as you would like to be treated while you are traveling.
  • If you didn’t choose “instant booking” you can cancel guest request if you don’t like reviews about him or other reasons. Nobody force you to rent your place even if it’s listed.

What you should know before host a guest via Airbnb

  • Some countries has special laws for temporary renting. You should check how it is in your country, if you won’t need to pay extra taxes and etc. while using Airbnb.
  • Before listing your place you should answer for yourself these questions: Do you like meeting new people? Do you have a general sense of trust in humanity? Are you uncomfortable with having strangers in your home when you’re not there? Do you find the idea of cleaning up after strangers revolting? If more than 2 answers is “no” – maybe Airbnb is not for you.
  • You will get payment to your bank account after 24 hours after the guest check-in.
  • In internet you can read some stories about not good experiences of hosting guests. So I suggest to read some of them before deciding.
Pros and cons join Airbnb Bali
Easy way to be listed and see all renters


For me it’s really worth to use Airbnb. First I save money during my trips on accommodation, like using Airbnb credits. Second I earn extra money while my flat is temporary empty. In such case I “win” double :).


Will you consider to become part of Airbnb community? Or maybe you already a member and would like to share your pros and cons?

Pros and cons stay or rent in airbnb pinterest

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

Tips for traveling in Asia
Travel resources
Tips for booking via Airbnb: save money & avoid misunderstandings