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Choosing the Right Accommodation: Airbnb vs. Booking.com

We’ve traveled and worked remotely for many years and are currently full-time nomads. Deciding where to stay as a digital nomad can be daunting, but I have some tried-and-true methods for saving money on hotels and airbnbs which I will share with you here. My go-to platforms are Airbnb and Booking.com, and each has its unique advantages.

Maximizing Airbnb Deals

Let’s start with Airbnb. Airbnb is a popular choice, and I’ve compiled two insightful articles to help you save significantly on your rentals.  

  • The first guide (Airbnb Hacks) reveals how to save hundreds, sometimes thousands, on Airbnb stays. For example, depending on where you are staying, there may be a duration where the taxes drop off.
  • The second guide (Best Airbnb) teaches you how to find top-notch accommodations by understanding and navigating Airbnb’s review system. 4.7 may sound good but it’s really not and you’ll learn why. Be selective and you’ll encounter fewer surprises.

Despite some drawbacks (like the lack of a rewards program), Airbnb is ideal for more extended stays. Look for places with essential amenities for digital nomads: a comfortable workspace, fast Wi-Fi, a washing machine, and kitchen facilities.

Negotiating for Better Deals

Don’t hesitate to ask for a discount, especially if you notice many available rentals for your dates. You might be pleasantly surprised by the host’s response. Sometimes they are very motivated to lock you down, especially in a competitive environment or for an extended stay.

Exploring Booking.com’s Options

Booking.com is another excellent resource, offering everything from hotels to vacation rentals. I start my search here, even if I book directly with hotel chains like Marriott or Hilton.

What to Look for on Booking.com

  • Review Scores: Aim for properties with overall ratings of 8.0 or higher, ideally 9.0+. This is very important. Also, it’s best to see dozens of reviews. It’s hard to trust a property with 3 reviews. The more, the more likely they are accurate.
  • Location Ratings: Look for locations rated 9.0 or higher.
  • Wi-Fi Quality: Ensure the Wi-Fi rating is at least 8.5, preferably 9.0 or higher. We’ve had some awful Wi-Fi at very high-end and pricey brands. Don’t be fooled.  

After narrowing down options, cross-reference with Google Reviews. This is a crucial confirmation step. You’d be surprised. Sometimes, Google Review opinions contradict what you read on Booking. I like to see agreement. If not? I sense manipulation, and that lowers my trust.  

Booking Directly for Better Deals

Consider contacting the hotel directly for a better rate than what’s offered on Booking.com. Hotels often provide a more competitive price to avoid paying third-party fees.

In particular, if you have any status with hotel chains (Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, etc), you might find a direct booking to be better.

Leveraging Booking.com Perks

As a frequent user, you can achieve Genius level on Booking.com, unlocking savings and perks like 5-10% discounts. I’m frequently applying hundreds of dollars in credits (yep, free money) to upcoming reservations since sometimes you receive rebates and rewards after your stay.

Case Study: Our Stay in Lyon

We recently enjoyed an 18-day stay in Lyon, France, reserved through Booking.com. The location in the Old Town was ideal, the Wi-Fi was fast, and the price was reasonable for the space and amenities provided – despite the four-story climb!

No way would I have found this ideal property through regular searches – or had the confidence if I didn’t see it reviewed so highly and priced affordably. Not bad for a historic 500+ year old building with all the modern conveniences inside. 


Booking.com App: A Secret for Extra Savings

Sometimes, the mobile app offers better rates than the website. It’s worth checking for additional savings. One or two extra minutes could be more free money back in your pocket. Buy yourself a drink, or more with the savings.  

Strategies for Extended Stays and Location Choices

>> Longer Stays Equal More Savings

Consider staying for a month or more to unlock significant discounts. Even weekly stays can offer substantial savings.  

Frequently, staying longer will save up to 50% on the nightly rate.  

Get rewarded for slowing down your travel.  

>> Choosing Location Wisely

Staying outside the city center can save you 25-50% or more.  

This often translates to a larger, more luxurious space at a lower cost.  

Determine your comfort level with walking or public transport to decide how far from the center you want to stay.

>> Accommodation Preferences

Whether you prioritize basic cleanliness or a touch of luxury, these tips can help you save money and enhance your stay, regardless of your accommodation preferences.

>> Discover More Tips for Saving Money on Hotels and Airbnbs

We have 11 more invaluable tips just like these for saving money on hotels and airbnbs. To access them and elevate your travel experience, sign up for our

Summary: Hacks for Saving Money on Hotels and Airbnbs

The great news? All of these tips work great, regardless of whether you are a value traveler trying to spend the least who just wants a clean space, or you are someone looking for more luxury. In either case, why spend more than you should?

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