Why You Should Avoid Using This Viral Hack For Saving On Airbnbs

Traveling can be expensive, so you naturally want to save as much money as possible. Considering how accommodation is often where the bulk of your budget goes, it makes complete sense to try to find a hotel or a rental with a price point that your wallet won't balk at. If Airbnb is your accommodation platform of choice, there is a long list of purported hacks that you can try to save money on renting a property. According to one viral video, you can book a rental for a fraction of its original price by booking with the owner directly.

According to a TikTok posted by @annathingbutanimals, the key to saving on your future Airbnb rentals is contacting your former hosts and asking if you can book their property outside the platform. "Whatever the list price, whatever the price they give me, I say, 'hey, can I pay you 70% of that if I pay you in cash?'" she claimed. "I've even done 50%. It has never not worked for me." 

This hack has "saved [her] thousands of dollars," so she recommends that other people try it, too. But while the idea of saving money on an Airbnb rental sure sounds enticing, the cons may far outweigh its pros. There are just way too many risks involved with booking directly, including safety issues, legal consequences, and even your Airbnb account potentially getting suspended.

You may end up getting scammed

Even if you had a pleasant time staying at a host's property in the past, there's still no guarantee that you will have the same experience during subsequent trips. When you book with someone directly, you're effectively giving up the protections Airbnb offers to both users and hosts, so if you end up getting duped out of the deal, there may be no way to recoup the money you've lost. As travel expert Joshua Rasia pointed out to Cottagely.co.uk, "You could either arrive there and not find your room as they might have booked someone else last minute who pays more than you to start with." 

If you do end up staying in the property anyway and certain things don't meet your expectations, you may not get a refund either. Your safety may also be compromised, and you risk having your account suspended entirely. "While it might not sound as serious as it is losing your account for breaching regulations can lead to a full suspension of your access to Airbnb which leads to a loss of your potential great deals within the app all around the world," Rasia warned. 

If your account gets suspended, there's also a chance that your friends and family might get booted off the platform, too. According to a report from Vice, not only does the company suspend users in violation of policies, but even those "closely associated" with those users may have their accounts compromised.

Consider booking newer Airbnbs instead

If you really want to save money, you can either lengthen your booking to a week or even a month or book an entire property for a large group. Alternatively, consider newer Airbnbs on the platform, even if it means booking a place that has barely any reviews. In fact, this is a trick that Airbnb itself recommends. In a memo on the Airbnb blog, the company notes that you'll find more listings that fit your budget by browsing through the "New" category on the platform. 

This will yield properties that have been added over the previous ten weeks, and more often than not, the hosts list them at affordable prices because they're new. You can also negotiate prices with the hosts on Airbnb if you wish. To do this, all you have to do is contact them on the platform, unleash your haggling powers, and if they agree to your proposed price, they'll allow you to book their property at a lower rate. Just remember not to lowball them, of course.