When travelling, accommodations tends to be our biggest expense after airfare, but there are always ways to save money. Airbnb has picked up a huge following over the years and it’s not become my preferred choice when I’m looking for a place to stay.

If you’re unfamiliar with Airbnb, it’s a service with over 600,000 listings in 190 countries that connects you directly with owners, who offer entire places, private rooms, or shared rooms for rent at a fraction of the cost of hotels.

Here’s what you need to know about Airbnb.

Airbnb saves you money

I tried Airbnb because I read it was a good way to save money and a way to live like a local. Every apartment I’ve rented has been at least 50% cheaper than a similarly located hotel. Just recently I stayed at an apartment in Budapest for $70 a night, a hotel down the street was $200.

If you plan on staying a week or longer many hosts will have a discounted price. They don’t always advertise this so don’t be afraid to ask them for a “special offer”.

Use my referral link for a $40 credit on your first stay.

My Apartment in District V of Budapest

My Apartment in District V of Budapest

It’s a local experience

Airbnb is much more than just saving money, it’s an experience. Unlike hotels, when you stay at an Airbnb location you’re literally living like a local, sometimes even among them if you choose a shared room. Every host I’ve spoken to has given me great advice on things to see and places to eat. It’s nice getting those personal recommendations.

Airbnb uses the line “Book a home. Get a unique view of the world.” This couldn’t be more accurate.

Airbnb is safe

Is Airbnb safe? That’s the most common question asked and I’m happy to report that YES Airbnb is safe. Hosts and guests are required to verify their identities and phone numbers.  Like Tripadvisor, the apartments are reviewed by previous guests so it’s pretty easy to get a good feel of what to expect.

All payments are handled through Airbnb so you don’t need to worry about the host taking off with your money, but be sure to read the cancellation policies before making a booking.

It’s more practical

Last year I travelled to Asia with my parents, I knew that finding a hotel room that had 2 queens beds would be next to impossible in Hong Kong unless I wanted to spend a small fortune.  With Airbnb, I found an apartment that fit the 3 of us for $104 a night. that’s less than the cost of a single hotel room.

On the flip side if you’re a solo traveler and prefer not to stay in a hostel you can book a private or shared room. No matter the size of your group there will always be something on Airbnb that works for you.

Airbnb Saves Money

They offer useful amenities

Hotel amenities like room service and mini fridges encourage you to spend money; the amenities offered by Airbnb apartments usually help you save money. I usually look for apartments that have WiFi and a kitchen so I have the option to cook meals which will bring down my daily costs. Laundry is on my wish list but it’s definitely not a must.

[icon name=”share” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Related: Couchsurfing vs. Airbnb

It’s easy to use

Picking your date and location is just the first step. Airbnb easily allows you to filter your search based on room type, price, neighbourhoods, and amenities. Results are displayed on an interactive map which makes it easy to figure out the surrounding area.

Other Tips with Airbnb

  • Be aware that Airbnb charges a 6-12% service fee. Hosts can also charge a cleaning fee, but even with those fees, it’s still cheaper than a hotel.
  • Although Airbnb tries their best, fraud does happen. Try your best to find a reliable host.
  • Ask your host questions before booking. Good hosts are helpful and quick to reply.
  • Pick a place close to public transportation to save more money.
  • Price is not always a priority; pick an apartment fits your needs.
  • Look up your favourite hotel chain and then book an apartment nearby it. The major hotels are always located in great areas.
  • Look for apartments with lots of pictures, blurry cell phone picture are a red flag.
  • Book as soon you find something you like, you don’t want to lose a great find to someone else.

Final word
What are your experiences with Airbnb? I’d love to hear about them.

If you’re ready to give Airbnb a try, use my affiliate link below to get a $30 credit on your first stay.