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Beware of those extra fees

Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB) responded to public criticism of the extra fees by creating a “display total price” button on their site at the end of 2022.

But just because you can more easily see the total price, doesn’t mean those expensive extra costs can’t push your chosen venue out of your budget.

This summer, Airbnb customers are facing an average of 36% in added fees on top the site’s nightly rates, according to a 2023 analysis by Forbes, with more expensive regions seeing up to 48% in extras.

The data shows Hidalgo’s $250 cleaning fee is well above the average amount of $160 but pales in comparison to the highest average cleaning fee of $313 seen in Telluride, Colorado.

So the next time you want to take your family on a memorable — but reasonably priced — trip, here are a few savvy ways you can save:

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Negotiate with the host

Hosts want to stay competitive on Airbnb. If you message them about a price reduction, they may give it to you so you don’t go to one of the thousands of other hosts on the website.

Airbnb is a lucrative side hustle for many people and often helps them with their own financial goals such as paying off their mortgage. So be prepared for them to stand firm on their price, but it's worth the ask if done respectfully.

Take a chance on a new host

If you focus your search on newer Airbnb hosts who don’t have a lot of listings, you may find cheaper rates. These hosts want to stand out from the rest of the crowd, but haven’t yet amassed the ratings and reviews to do that.

They may use cheaper prices to attract travelers to stay with them and then leave stellar reviews so they can eventually increase their rates. You might find more novice hosts by lowering the price range when you search for properties.

The only downside to this is that your Airbnb may not be as experienced as one who has managed to become a Superhost. Airbnb reviews Superhosts every quarter to ensure that they maintain a minimum 4.8 rating for 100 nights of stays within that time frame.

If you’re just looking for a place to lay your head and store your stuff, you might get more value out of booking with a novice host.

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Compare rates on other sites

One of the added charges on an Airbnb bill is the 14% “guest fee.”Fees like that can easily make a seemingly good deal into a booking that is beyond your budget.

One travel hack is to research a property you like and see if the host advertises their property on another platform. Hosts sometimes have their own websites or post on multiple sites, where they can avoid Airbnb’s 3% host fee and therefore might list their property at a cheaper price .

You can also compare rates to other home-sharing sites, like Vrbo, or try your luck finding a deal on more traditional accommodation like hotels, hostels and old-school B&Bs.


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Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.


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