How To Save Money On Hotels Using Booking.com and AirBnB

How to save money on hotels and for your travel accommodation with Airbnb and Booking.com?

I always question myself “how to save money on hotels” before going on a vacation to exotic places, to European cities where you can find rich cultures, history and old fascinating buildings and even to Asia where you can find lots of good beaches and plenty of delicious foods to choose from.  Finding the best discount hotel rooms and apartment discounts aren’t always easy due to abundance of options that are flooding in today’s biggest search engine. Here, I will discuss the importance of using Booking.com and Airbnb in order to save you some money.  Before I discovered Airbnb, I often used Booking.com (third party website for Hotels) until this day to book my accommodation before embarking to a new country. I’ve always had very good experience with Booking.com and am also able to find affordable accommodation prices for my current trips and even previous trips to Europe in 2006, 2011 and 2014 and with all my other reservations during my holidays to Asia and Australia.

Booking.com is part of the Priceline Group established in 1996 popularly known as the world leader in booking accommodation online website that guarantees the best discount hotel rooms, best hotel prices for every type of property.  This includes from small family run business bed and breakfast accommodation to business executive apartments and hotels and five star luxury suites and hotels.

Airbnb has also become so popular amongst travellers and hosts offering everyone a chance to experience the local lifestyle and ways of living in the comfort of another’s home for a reasonable price.

However, both Airbnb and Booking.com have pros and cons, some that I find quite frustrating and yet are both affordable and satisfying at times.   Before you commit yourself to making a booking with Airbnb, you must read the PROS and CONS below and decide whether you should place all of your eggs in one basket or instead have an alternative booking utility to save you some money on hotels, travel accommodation and to avoid encountering problems.

How To Save Money On Hotels With Your Travel Accommodation Using Airbnb and Booking.com

Why I think using Airbnb and Booking.com can save you some money on your travel accommodation: 

Here’s How To Save Money On Hotels With Booking.com

How_To_Save_Money_On_Hotels_Booking_Apartments_AirBnb_2

Pros

1. One of the biggest advantages with Booking.com is that you can make a reservation without going broke immediately. Most hotels on Booking.com don’t take your money right away, however they do require you to give out your credit card details to secure your reservations. This is not the case with Airbnb though as they immediately take your money once your reservations have been booked.

2. Most hotels on Booking.com allow you to change the date or cancel your reservations 3 days before the date of your reservation without any fees and penalties. Unlike Airbnb, if you decide to cancel your reservations you will not be able to receive all your money back. But, you will still be able to save some money with Booking.com.

3. You don’t really get charged for extra fees for Booking.com.

4. Most hotels are quite cheap depending on the location and the number of stars. For instance, if you decide to stay in a 5 star hotel and within touristic areas then you have to be prepared to pay for the price. I generally choose to stay in 2-3 star hotels but within central area, easy access to public transportation, walking distance to nearby shops, cafes, restaurants, train station and some touristy areas.

5. Please note that you’ll also get to save some money if you make your reservations a few months before you depart. You’ll find lots of special rates on Booking.com especially if you book in early.

6. Booking.com is definitely an alternative to book your accommodation, as you don’t need to worry about your money being withheld once booked.

7. You don’t have to pay them right away as hotels do accept payment when you arrive or just before you leave the hotel at your destinations.

8. You’ll definitely have your own privacy unless if you are sharing with your friends or family in a one bedroom.

9. Some hotels and hostels do offer shared bedroom for travellers allowing everyone to save money while sharing a bedroom with holiday makers (strangers).

Cons

1. If in any case you fail to turn up at the hotel on the day of your reservation you will be charged for one day using your credit so do not forget to cancel your reservations if you happen to change your mind or if your holiday plans have changed.

2. Some hotels are quite expensive but there are quite a lot of cheaper options to choose from.

3. Some hotels are quite small even if you take the double bedroom.

4. If you decide to stay in a bigger room you will have to pay for more.

5. You don’t really get to meet locals except hotel staff but majority of them are busy working and generally don’t have much time to socialize with their guests.

Find out here for discount hotel rooms and discount apartment rates with Booking.com! 

How To Save Money On Apartments & Hotels With AirBnB?

Pros

1. You can rent a room and share the house with your host (a stranger) in a foreign country for a cheaper price. If you don’t mind sharing a house with a stranger and sometimes even a bathroom and toilet (if there is none in your room) then this is one of the best ways to save money on accommodation. It may not be a lot but if you are staying for a couple of nights it does add up and you’ll be surprised at how much you save.

2. You can also rent the whole house at a higher cost. This provides full use of the house including kitchen, lounge, bathroom, toilet and etc. This also provides a comfortable environment and privacy for you and your partner or friends.


3. If you are traveling with your family or group of friends and decide to rent the whole house or apartment each of you can definitely share the cost thus allowing you to save some money. But one of you has to use the credit card and just let the rest of the group pay you back for the difference. In fact, if I were you I would actually get the rest of the group to pay me first before I even make a reservation using my credit card.

4. You definitely get to experience the proper way of living like a local – that sense of how the locals live on a daily basis.

5. You get to experience living in an apartment or a house in a foreign country.

6. You get to feel and see the local neighbourhood full of small local markets, shops and nearby cafes and restaurants.

7. You definitely get to save money as you will be able to buy your groceries at your local market and be able to cook your own meals in the apartment. However, always read your guidelines whether or not you are allowed to use the kitchen but most likely you will be able to cook your own meal.

8. You get to meet and hangout with your hosts (only if they are also friendly and willing to give you a helping hand in finding your ways around the city).

9. If you are travelling to various cities, you can definitely book multiple accommodation in advanced. This provides less headache as it allows you to sort out your accommodation before you embark to a new country.

10. Airbnb allows you to message the hosts even before you make a booking. In fact, I would highly recommend you contact the host before you make your reservation to avoid paying Airbnb their fees and to avoid Airbnb holding your money and only to find out your hosts aren’t available to rent their apartment.

11. Most apartments or houses advertised on Airbnb are slightly cheaper to rent compare to making a reservation in hotels.

Click here to receive your Airbnb travel credit if you plan to make reservations for your next travel accommodation with Airbnb.

Cons

1. One of the biggest frustrations that many travellers including myself have experience is the fact that Airbnb takes money upfront and holds them as soon as the host has accepted the guest’s reservation. And if you (as a guest) make a mistake or you decide to cancel prior to arrival you cannot get your money back before 3 to 7 working days.

2. If your host decides to cancel or decline your reservation, your money will still be withheld by Airbnb and they will only refund your money excluding Airbnb fees in 3-7 working days. This was evident as this happened to me when I booked an accommodation in Milan and the host completely forgot to update her calendar so she declined my reservation. After this, I had to wait for Airbnb to refund my money and in fact it arrived in my bank account in 7 days so in actual fact it could even take 7 days to get your money back.

3. It takes at least 3-7 working days to get your money refunded to your bank account and if you don’t have enough money in your bank account you will be stuck in a country without having enough funds until Airbnb’s refund is cleared from your bank. Therefore, if you plan to make all your bookings with Airbnb please make sure that you do not use your own debit or savings account. Use your credit card but ensure that you will leave some security funds for emergency purposes.

4. Please note that Airbnb also will not refund their fees as to you.

5. One of the drawbacks as well is that if your host cancels your reservation at the last minute, Airbnb is not obligated to find an alternative accommodation and again your money will still be with Airbnb’s bank account and you’ll only be refunded within 3-7 working days.

6. Not only that you will have to wait for your money to be refunded, you also have to do a lot of follow ups with Airbnb. This would take at least a whole day or few days sometimes to get in touch with their customer service and if you are holiday making already it can definitely ruin your time in another country.

7. Sharing the house with strangers (your host) might create an uncomfortable environment for the both of you. If you have to sacrifice your privacy to save money on holiday, you might experience this tension but that all depends with different hosts. Some host are very concerned about their guests’ privacy and so they make an effort to give their guests as much privacy to the extent that they even let them use almost the entire house even though the rent is only for one bedroom. Other hosts are quite strict only allowing you to use their toilet and bathroom aside from your room or any sleeping space (it could be in the lounge where you have to sleep on the spare couch).

So overall, you can still save money using Airbnb but there are few negatives as stated above. Therefore, I highly recommend that you should also make alternative reservations with Booking.com even though the quality and space of the hotel rooms may not be as good as renting an apartment or a house through Airbnb.

Click here to receive your Airbnb travel credit if you plan to make reservations for your next travel accommodation with Airbnb.

I hope by now, you have come to realisation not to place all of your eggs (or money…) in one basket.  That is why it’s important that you balance your reservations between Airbnb and Booking.com so you don’t feel as if you will run out of money immediately especially if you are visiting several cities.

I am returning to Europe again soon and have booked some of my reservations through Airbnb but most of my reservations were booked with Booking.com.  I will update this website with more information on my recent travel experiences with Airbnb and Booking.com in the near future.

Stay tuned!

Which accommodation utility do you prefer to make reservations with and why? Share your experiences with Airbnb and Booking.com.

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2 Comments

  • Hi Marj,

    Very interesting article comparing two different models. If you’re a fan of Booking.com then you must know the perfect companion to it, roomstracker.com.
    Just forward all your reservations to booking@roomstracker.com and the service will keep an eye everyday for price drops at Booking until your check-in!

    • Hi Rinaldoa,

      Thank you for letting me know about other options regarding hotel reservations. I’m always on a look out for good deals. I must give roomstracker a chance one day.

      Marj

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