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Travel on a Budget: A Beginner’s Guide to Airbnb

A beginner's guide to Airbnb - tips for first time users to save money on travel

Airbnb has pretty much saturated and shaken up the world of accommodations. As their advertisement says, “Why visit a new city when you can live there?” The app allows travellers to find cheaper, unique, and more appropriate accommodations around the world and allows individuals the opportunity to earn extra income by listing their homes or properties.

The Airbnb idea was born in 2008, by two roommates in San Francisco who were struggling to afford their rent. They developed the idea so they could rent one of the bedrooms in their apartment to offset the costs. Today, you can rent everything from a luxury loft in downtown Manhattan to a treehouse in the jungles of Costa Rica to a boat on the canals of Amsterdam.

Airbnb allows users to rent for short-term, a night or two, weekly or even long-term, like months at a time. With well over a half a million places to choose from around the world, it’s a great option for your next travel adventure. But where to start?

A Beginner’s Guide to Airbnb:

Here are some tips to get you started using the Airbnb app, and experience all it has to offer.


It’s free to join and peruse the app so feel free to search around but make sure to set up an account. Doing so is fairly easy – all you need to do is enter your email and information or sync using Facebook. Randomly, Airbnb will extra screen some new users and may ask for a verified ID. This only means you need to upload a picture of your ID card, and can easily be done within the app itself.

Be sure to add a picture of yourself; property owners will want to see the face of the person they are lending their home to.

Begin your search.

Once you have an account and your profile is set up, it is time to begin your search. The home screen is super easy to navigate and it allows you to search by city, neighborhood, or even near a particular attraction or airport. You can also enter the number of guests that will be joining you and your ideal travel dates.

Once you get some results, you can view them as a list or on a map, which is super handy if you are trying to stay within a certain radius of a place.

You can also filter your results to get just the property you’re looking for. Select a price range, the type of property, specific amenities and even the rules for the establishment to find a place that perfectly suits your needs.

A beginner's guide to using Airbnb to find cheap travel accommodations

How to choose a place.

Airbnb allows users to leave reviews after their stays, and those are available to the next potential renter to help them make a decision on a particular property. Use these to help make your decision. Don’t stop at just the property reviews, however. You can even check out the property owner’s reviews, which is handy, especially if they have multiple properties.

Once you have narrowed down your results to a few places, you can save your favorites to your wish list so you can go through them later.

Ask questions of the properties you are debating between. The app makes it easy to contact property owners, so if there is something you are questioning, just ask.

Book your place.

Finally, you’ve decided on a place and it is now time to book! There are sometimes two options for this, “Request to book” or “Instant book”. The prior is for when the property owner wants to screen those requesting to book their property and the latter allows you to solidify your rental immediately.

When it comes to fees, Airbnb does charge a service fee for using their services. There may also be a security deposit or cleaning fee assessed as well. Be sure to read the screen carefully to avoid surprises.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go book your next adventure!

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