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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices.
So you want to travel, and you want to do it on the cheap. It’s because of this burning wanderlust in your heart that you find yourself scrolling through the offerings of Airbnb more often than you do through social media.
Are there ways to save money on your travel expenses with Airbnb compared to other venues? Are there ways to save money using Airbnb itself? Let’s take a closer look, and I think you’ll see that the answer is a definitive ‘yes’ on both counts.
Kudos for choosing Airbnb in the first place.
I’ve done my fair share of traveling, and I have to begin by saying congratulations on choosing Airbnb in the first place. You can save a lot of money on quality stays by choosing Airbnb over the majority of hotels out there. Rooms that would cost one upwards of $150/night at a hotel can readily be found on Airbnb for around the $100/night mark.
So, for choosing Airbnb, I have to say you made a good choice.
Use the plus and minus feature.
Let’s say that you have three weeks of vacation a year, and your boss has told you he wants you to use one week of that vacation within the next two months. You don’t really know or care when you use the vacation time within that span, so you have no hard and fast dates that you need to abide by.
If this is the case, then you can use the plus or minus feature of Airbnb to show you how you can save the most money possible on your trip.
Say you want to go to Austin, Texas.
If you go into Airbnb, plug in that location, and then use the plus or minus 1, 2, 3, or 7-day feature, you will then see how you can save the most money possible with Airbnb at the listings you’re interested in. The app knows the nightly rate of each site and will figure out what dates you could stay to save the maximum amount of money.
A pretty cool feature if you have the flexibility to incorporate this into your schedule.
Use discounted gift cards.
Some of those bulk goods stores out there frequently will sell Airbnb gift cards at a discount. If you have a family wedding coming up in Utah and know that you’re going to end up spending over $500 in lodging fees anyway, picking up a $500 AirBnb gift card from one of these stores can often be done at a discount.
You’ll get $500 in Airbnb value for a small saving. It’s well worth the trip to your local Costco to see if you can’t put these savings to work for you.
Try tinkering with the length of your stay.
Oftentimes, you can get an extended stay discount if you add a night or two to your trip. The savings you find can easily accommodate what you thought would be the price increase of tacking on an extra two days to your stay.
For example, I’ve seen guys who have saved about $30/night over the course of their trip simply by pricing out for another day. Where they previously would have spent, say, $50/night for a 14-day stay, they were then able to drop down to $30/night for a 16-night stay.
You’ll have to tinker around with Airbnb a bit to find the sites that offer this option, but it is something worth knowing about and can help you to keep more of your money in your pocket.
Check out the campgrounds.
If you’re not opposed to semi-roughing it, I would highly recommend you check out some of the campground listings that are available via Airbnb.
If you are willing to semi-rough it, you can see a lot of America on a very small amount of money.
For starters, I say semi-roughing it because in a lot of these campgrounds, you can literally sleep in a tent right in front of your car. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any sites that require backpacking your equipment out into the middle of nowhere. That’s roughing it.
These campgrounds are often available when your local campgrounds are not. National and state parks often require reservations before you can use their listed campsites (whether they be primitive tent camping or RV hookup sites). The problem is that everybody knows about those locations. They’ve been going to them every fall with their families for the past 2-3 generations, and they intend to carry on the tradition.
This makes these sites go fast. You could always check out the KOA sites and other campgrounds in your area on Yelp, but they also tend to go fairly quickly and don’t offer much in the way of privacy.
But with Airbnb, not only can you readily find campgrounds that are comparable in price with the national and state parks, but they are typically less crowded as well.
You can drive up in your Honda Civic, set up the tent, break out the Dutch oven, and gear up for the night listening to Montgomery Gentry for all of $30 before you head out to explore what the rest of upstate Vermont looks like the next morning. It makes for a fairly inexpensive means of exploring the world around you.
If this is the route you’re going to go, I recommend a sleeping cot, a camping shower, and a mosquito candle or two. You’ll end up with great sleep, still stay clean, and won’t necessarily have to disappear into your tent as soon as the sun goes down that way (but instead, can stay up late playing awesome video game books).
Travel during the middle of the week, if possible.
I have noticed that you can virtually always get cheaper nightly stays when you book in the middle of the week rather than on weekends. The same applies to looking at traveling during peak tourist season, but you already knew that.
Not only can you save with Airbnb, but with The Frugalite as well.
We have all kinds of articles that will show you what you need to know to maximize the reach of your dollar while on vacation. Daisy has written about her frugal traveling secrets before, such as using this one item to save big. She’s even written advice on how to choose the right Airbnb.
So check out the rest of what The Frugalite has to say and get out there and explore. Know of a few other tips to save money with Airbnb? Let your fellow readers know in the comments below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.