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A Comprehensive Guide for New Users with $45 Airbnb Discount Code

We love Airbnb. This lodging platform’s model has literally changed the way the world travels by offering affordable accommodations to all types of travellers worldwide, including us. What’s not to love: you get to pick from an ever-increasing number of dreamy apartments for pretty much the price you’d expect to pay for most hostels.

Airbnb has quickly become our “go-to” platform when searching for private apartments, shared houses and other types of lodging abroad. But we’re always stunned to hear about travellers who haven’t used this great web platform yet, so we’ve written this comprehensive post to help people understand how easy it is to use.  We always save money using Airbnb, why shouldn’t you start saving on travel accommodations as well?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for products and services that we use and recommend. If you purchase these through our website links, the price will stay the same to you and we get a percentage as a commission. 

Interested in using Airbnb? We’ve got great news! We have an Airbnb discount code just for you. 

Here’s your chance to save some money on your first stay! Get a $45 Airbnb discount by creating a new account with this link, applicable towards your first stay of 95$CAD or more. Not planning on going anywhere soon? No worries! This Airbnb discount code credit is valid for 12 months.

Here’s what you will get in this step-by-step post

Table of contents

We started using the Airbnb platform about 5 years ago, as we spent close to a year on the road during our grand journey across South and Central America. We’ve since booked dozens of Airbnb lodgings around the world. Not only in the United States, but also in Uruguay, Argentina, Bali, Chile, Ireland, Scotland and Australia. The duration of our stays ranged from single night bookings in the United States or Europe to multiple months at the same location in South America.  

With Airbnb rentals, your stepping away from the basic budget hotel rooms that offer zero personality and get to choose from a quaint Barcelona apartment on the Rambla to a stylish loft in New York City. The choices are usually abundant and the offers are reasonably priced depending on the amenities available in the listing.  

Saw a place you like on Airbnb? Check it out, enter your dates, grab it and go!

Not so fast you’re thinking? You’ve never done this before and are used to doing hotels with a reception area, a lobby and everything that goes with it… We understand the uneasy, “what if” feeling you’re probably having right about now.

For new users to Airbnb it can be intimidating not knowing what or whom to expect.

You’re imagining yourself, staying over in a perfect stranger’s home… Right? First of all, it’s not as weird as you may think.  We’ll be putting all of your worries “to bed” as we guide you into becoming an Airbnb Pro with all of our best advice featured in this post.

Read our step-by-step Airbnb tips to score the best place for your next trip. You’ll also find out how to get more Airbnb discounts, apart from the great Airbnb discount code available with this $45 referral link.

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San Telmo Buenos Aires Studio under 50$ a night – You should see the garden view!

Why use Airbnb? Advantages and benefits…

By far the best advantage is the amazing rates. Again and again, Airbnb has saved the day when it comes to our travel budget. Especially in European countries where currency conversions may not be in your favour. You can easily pay a fraction of a hotel’s nightly rate for a great Airbnb apartment in Ireland, Scotland, Spain and France. Have we piqued your interest yet in joining the Airbnb family? 

In short, it’s cheaper than anything else out there in regards to lodging, excluding Couchsurfing. But there are other great reasons as well.

• A wide variety of unique places to stay, ranging from affordable apartments & lofts to studios and private rooms.
• With an accessible kitchen, you can cook some meals and save some money, even if it’s only breakfast.
• Amazing freebies such as a living room, washer/dryer, WIFI or even on-premise parking.
• Live like locals do. With much of the same advantages as housesitting offers, renting an Airbnb offers insight into local living.
• Meet fantastic people. We’ve yet to meet a host that wasn’t cordial and friendly. Even if you’re not sharing the apartment with them, most hosts will greet you in person and share their local knowledge (pure gold) with you.
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Let’s demystify the Airbnb model a bit, shall we?

Bed & Breakfast, BnB, B&B, whichever way you write it, most of us are familiar with the old age concept of a Bed & Breakfast. When you see those two letters together, you know what to expect. A homeowner provides visitors with a room, hence the bed part, inside or adjacent to their home, served with breakfast in exchange for a daily fee. This lodging model is often associated with posh country estates and manor-style residences as well.
 
But the concept has been elevated to yet another level with Airbnb.com. By providing anyone with extra space in their home, Airbnb offers the opportunity to list and rent out any type of dwelling to local visitors for a set rate and period. Ranging from private rooms in stand-alone houses to condos, apartments, entire homes, glamping trailers or even sailboats, the choice is wide. The Airbnb service has changed the rental/accommodation landscape quite dramatically for the best, as far as users like us are concerned.
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Private room in Canggu Bali with access to kitchen and pool – Homeowner was from Quebec, Canada, a pure coincidence!

Anyone with a room and a bed can apply to become an Airbnb host.

The easy to navigate process is all provided online. All you need to do is create a host profile with pictures of the offered lodging, determine a rate and its inclusions. Some owners who choose to offer a private room within their home may decide or not to provide access to other parts of their home, areas such as the living room, the outdoor patio, laundry room access and if you’re lucky, the kitchen – bingo!  Other inclusions can include WIFI, cable TV, car parking and yes, sometimes even breakfast.

The lodging rate is fixed by the owner and can vary according to the time of year and, the length of your stay and additionally 
Airbnb discounts are offered for weekly and monthly bookings. As a third-party provider, Airbnb promotes the owner’s space for rent and takes care of the money transaction part. The accommodation is listed on their website in exchange for a service fee taken only at the time of booking. Airbnb also covers liability and insurance, which provides a great peace of mind to hosts who grant access to their cherished homes to friendly strangers like us!

If you’re a new Airbnb user, you probably have the following questions…

Is it safe?

The quick answer is yes. Obviously, you need to take certain steps to ensure that you’re renting from a legitimate and reliable source and we’ll get to that below.

What about my money and deposit?

Probably the most asked question is understandably about the money and your deposit. First, no money is exchanged directly with the homeowner. It’s not a widely known fact, but the host receives your deposit from Airbnb 24hrs after you’ve taken possession of the lodging.  This gives you, the renter, a grace period for a claim or refund if the place doesn’t turn out to be as expected.

Will it be clean?

99% of the time the places are immaculate. Only once did we have to contact a host, as we came upon a new Airbnb listing in Montevideo, Uruguay, to request that the bathroom be better cleaned and that a few basic extras be added to the kitchen amenities, which were pretty much non-existent. Eager to please, the bathroom issue was quickly resolved and the requested items such as a coffee machine, a sieve and better pillows were provided the next day. In fact, this host went on to follow up with us a few days later to see if anything else was needed in the apartment as to provide us with a most comfortable stay.

What if the place isn’t as shown in the ad?

Again, certain steps are your responsibility, like reading the reviews and the full description, looking carefully at the photos and the exact location on the map. From all of our bookings with Airbnb, only once have we had to request a cancellation in Antigua Guatemala. The room had a strong and unpleasant odour from having been freshly painted making it inappropriate for use. A free phone call to Airbnb’s customer service resolved the issue in record time. They helped find us replacement lodging and offered to pay 50$ towards our evening meal with proof of receipt for the inconvenience this caused us on arrival. Bravo Airbnb!

How to use Airbnb’s website to rent the perfect place

Set up a profile: Choose a good picture of yourself and put aside a quick 10 minutes to fill out your account profile. Make it good and show yourself in the best light with a smile to reassure your future host that you can be trusted with the keys to their place.

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This modern condo was our home for 2 months in Cuenca Ecuador

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Explore Airbnb Homes:

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Search for the dates you need

Are you flexible with your travel plans? Have you always dreamt of spending a weekend in Paris or a few nights in San Francisco? By keeping your travel plans flexible, you can better your chances to score that rare find. Enter your dates and start searching now!

The number of guests:

Identify how many guests will share the space. Similarly to hotels, the price for a single or double occupancy will be different.

Narrow down your search with filters:

City and urban areas can bring up higher search results, this is when the Airbnb filters come in handy. You can filter by room type, by amenities and, of course, set your price range accordingly.

Home type:

An “Entire Place” selection is meant to reflect a self-catering apartment or studio. Make sure you read the description thoroughly as some units, for example, can be on their own floor, but with a shared entrance. Sometimes, studios won’t have expected amenities such as access to a kitchen with just a stovetop for tea, which is fine if you are aware of what you are booking and that you’re OK with it.

“Private Room” is what you should expect as the conventional B&B concept, some come with private bathrooms, some with a shared one as listed in the description of the property.   The last option is a “Shared Bedroom” which would be comparable to sharing a dorm room in a hostel.

Price Range:

The price range graph filter shows you the average nightly rate you can expect to pay. The choice is yours to leave open, and get tempted or to narrow it down on the selector to stick to your travel budget. Tip: Don’t be too strict, allow yourself some leeway since further Airbnb discounts could apply according to the length of your stay or you might just score a pool for an extra $10 a night!

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The amenities: 

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Make a selection of amenities that are important to you, the idea is to enjoy your stay! For long-term travel, having access to regular living staples like a kitchen to cook your own meals and a washing machine to do your own laundry is a real godsend and helps in replicating a sense of being at home. Clarify with your host ahead of time, what the kitchen is equipped with and what stocked items are available to you.
 
If a WIFI connection is your lifeline, such as it is for us as we work while travelling, you can inquire about the speed and connectivity test – with speedtest.net, that is being offered.  You may also want to confirm you have good reception inside of your bedroom, not just in the common space.
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Save to Wishlist: 

Create a wishlist for a specific travel destination, an Airbnb area that lets you compile your best finds. Save them by clicking on the “heart” icon on the right corner of the ad. If travelling in peak periods, don’t wait too long to connect with your potential host, reach out with any questions you have right away as communications can go back and forth and take a few days.

Analyze your results:

Now that you have a shortlist, it’s time to analyze your results. The place has 5-star ratings, that’s great, but it only has 3 reviews, not so great… As a first time Airbnb user, you might want to select a place with a minimum of 10 reviews, just to play it safe.

Take time to read the latest ones and snoop in the reviews for some extra details you might find relevant. If there are no reviews available for that property, but you’ve fallen madly in love with the place, check to see if this host has other properties which may feature a longer history of reviews.

Super host:

Keep an eye out for this Airbnb badge, it’s the ultimate trustworthy reference for a host. This host has had to meet a specific list of requirements, such as 5-star reviews, cleanliness and prompt communication to obtain this badge beside their profile picture. 

Location:

A very important consideration is to ensure that the location is safe, offers a variety of restaurants, shops and public transport if you’re not driving or don’t plan to drive. Living with locals as other perks also. We once scored a great little place so close to the glorious Cliff of Moher site that we were able to get there early enough before the Paddywagon crowds. Priceless!

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Cliff of Moher Ireland – Without the crowds

Check the fine print

Some extra fees can be added to your lodging fee and the cancellation policy can vary from listing to listing. Fees consist of the following.

Service fee:

This is the commission fee Airbnb charges the host to use the online reservation platform and provides clients with 24/7 support. The formula is a ratio based on length of stay and rate per night.

Cleaning fee:

A one-time fee that is charged by the host. Some host won’t charge a cleaning fee, so check the total amount of your stay before booking as to better compare between offers.

Security deposit:

We seldom get asked for one, but for longer stays, a host can request an acceptable amount on hold. If this is the case on your upcoming reservation, inquire about what’s involved, what could impact the deposit (broken china or appliances) and how they plan to reimburse it once you’ve completed your stay.

Cancellation Policy:

Compared to traditional lodging reservation engines offering free cancellation, often up to a day prior to your stay, Airbnb hosts, understandably, don’t offer or can’t compete with as much flexibility. Hence, you’ll find 3 cancellation policy levels, which vary from flexible, moderate or strict. Take note, if you cancel within the permitted period, Airbnb service fees may be refundable up to 3 times per year on full refunds.

How can you get or apply additional Airbnb discounts? 

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Consider a longer stay: 

As mentioned earlier, the nightly rate is not totally fixed because Airbnb hosts usually offer a weekly discount, which can be a game changer if you can extend the length of your stay. The Airbnb discount percentage is entirely up to the host and it can range from 10% up to 35% on week-long stays. Some listing may even offer a 50% off on monthly stays or longer. Weekly rates apply to stays from 7 to 28 nights and monthly ones for reservations longer than 28 nights.

Tip: In some cases, it’s worth booking a 7th night to get the weekly discount applied, even if you plan to only stay for 6 nights. Of course, as a courtesy, we’d suggest telling the host once you’ve arrived that you will be leaving a day early. Keep in mind that the same technique applies for a month-long stay. Play around with your booking dates in the Airbnb calendar and see if you can be flexible and save some extra cash.

 
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Want an extra Airbnb discount? Ask for it. 

You’ve found a dream place, it’s within reach, but you were hoping it had the same great rate as a similar listing available in the same neighbourhood? Reach out to the host and politely ask if they would consider a price match. We’ve used this technique a few times over to secure some fabulous long-term stays in Cuenca, Ecuador and in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Ready to book your first Airbnb lodging?

First, make contact with your host and introduce yourself. This is especially important for your first few stays since you don’t have any references to your Airbnb profile – yet! Explain the reason for your visit to their city, what your general plans consist of.  You’re in town for a wedding or maybe you’ve been dying to visit every museum in Washington, DC.
 
Once you’ve stated your intentions, now’s the best time to ask questions about the accommodation. Is it quiet? Is it safe at night, how about a curfew? Who will let you in and how? Are toiletries supplied? How fast is the WIFI? You get the gist…
 

Placing your reservation:

Traditionally, when you were ready to book, the full amount, even months in advance, was payable up front, a bit of a downer at times, even when it was a great bargain. But now, with the new “Pay Less Up Front Flexible Payment Option”, you can pay for part of the reservation – 50% in most cases – making it easier than ever to reserve ahead of time without breaking the bank. 
 
If you’ve found your perfect Airbnb, don’t procrastinate – book it now and make sure to use your great Airbnb Coupon Code to save 45$. Nothing is more frustrating than coming back to a listing a few days later and seeing your dates blocked out.
 

Make sure you’re booking a legitimate property:

As with everything in this great world of ours, there are some deceptive people and misleading hosts out there. Some have even gone as far as to copy the Airbnb website and pass themselves for what appears to be the real deal. Avoid scams and look for real stamps of authenticity. Read about this scam here 

Tip: Always book via Airbnb secure online system. Remember that doing so is your sole warranty in case of recourse with the host. If you’re tempted to book on your own, it also means that you’re on your own if ever you have an issue during your stay. 

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Arrival coordination:

It’s done, you’ve booked your first Airbnb, you’re dreaming of your upcoming travel destination and already thinking about what to pack in your suitcase. Just remember that this isn’t a conventional BnB or business, therefore it’s important to keep the communication open with your host. Neither one of you wants to be waiting for the other on your planned arrival day and time.
 
It’s always a good thing to confirm your approximate arrival time, ask for directions and make sure to have their phone number handy in case you get lost or are stuck in unexpected traffic. While on the subject, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and available to use if you happen to be in another country.
 

Reviews:

After your stay, don’t forget to leave an honest review, paying forward the information for the next renter who’s relying on your opinion. Keep in mind that hosts will, of course, reciprocate one for you. This mutual write-up is what makes Airbnb so objective. Reviews help towards your good standing on your Airbnb profile, an added plus for future reservations.

What are Airbnb disadvantages?

Not many disadvantages come to mind even after putting this lengthy post together. With Airbnb, you get to book a great place, save money on lodging and live like a local. So what’s the catch you ask? Sounds too good to be true, right? The only inconvenience might be the cancellation policy, something which you need to read attentively in order to avoid any unpleasant or potential surprises.
 
On short Airbnb stays, you might be slightly bothered by a lack of amenities or perhaps a noisy neighbour, but same goes for basic hotels. On longer rentals, you might be stuck with frequently passing buses, crowded streets on the weekend or other minor annoyances hence why it’s important to read the reviews.

Have we convinced you to book your first Airbnb for your next trip?

Share your love for Airbnb, with our link, you can even use it to refer a friend. By creating an account, they’ll also get a 45$ Airbnb discount link to apply to a booking of more than 95$ and you’ll get 25$ CAD in return, a win-win situation wouldn’t agree?

Do you use Airbnb?
Please share your experiences, comments or questions below…

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