How to get the best deal on Airbnb

The do's and don'ts of a travelling student's best friend

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy at night
Via Wikipedia

Do you want to travel the world but your bank account is telling you it’s not in your budget to stay in the Paris Ritz Carlton? No worries, with Airbnb you can achieve your dream of travelling the world without bankrupting yourself.

Like with anything else in life, it is important to know the best tips and tricks to make sure you have the best – and safest time – possible.

Having stayed in nine Airbnbs across five countries, I’ve picked up a few tricks to successfully select an Airbnb and make the most of the experience. 


Let’s start with the basics: safety. To ensure you are not willingly entering a murderer’s lair, keep an eye out for a green checkmark that says “Verified” on the property’s page. This small green sticker ensures that it’s not a scam—the host is a real person that has submitted government ID as a reference.


It’s best to pick a property that has been reviewed by at least 30 people—because let’s be real, no one has 30 friends to lie for them online.

Reviews can be long and boring to read so it’s important to know what to look for. Focus on elements such as cleanliness, host reliability, and location.


A host can end up playing a bigger role than you think. Their local knowledge can be an outstanding addition to your adventure. They can give you the best advice on food, drinks, and transportation, and also help you distinguish the must-sees from the must-skips.


Let’s be real, Airbnb’s are all about location. 

The best Airbnb I stayed in, when backpacking this summer, was in Rome. We literally stepped out of our front door and the Colosseum was visible directly to our right, a 3-minute walk away.

It will often be more expensive to stay in the city’s centre, but you will save a lot by not having to take transportation to get around. In European cities in particular, most destinations are reachable using the metro (a.k.a. the subway for you North American folk) and/or by walking.

The best way to ensure that you stay in a prime location is by taking the time to do some background research before booking an Airbnb. Look into where the main attractions are and then decide what you’d like to be closest to. The best websites for this kind of information are Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, and Timeout, which have yet to fail me on details and advice on the best sights, food.


Using Airbnb is a two-way street: you review the host, and the host reviews you. A bad review on your profile can kill your future chances of staying in lovely places.

Unless you want a Simon Cowell-esque review, treat the Airbnb nicer than you’d treat your own home, because you have to remember: it’s not yours, it’s someone else’s.

Clean up before you leave. Do the dishes, make the beds, and perhaps leave a “Thank You” note. Make sure to check if there are additional jobs that the host has requested; often they ask you to take out the trash. Don’t be loud after 10pm as most Airbnbs are in residential areas and you don’t want to disrupt your host’s neighbours.

If you leave your Airbnb just as nice or nicer than when you entered it, you’ll be sure to receive a glowing Paula Abdul-ian review from your host.

With these handy tips in mind, get ready to travel the world like a pro, with the assurance that you will have comfy bed and roof over your head to come home to after a long day of sight seeing.


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