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Booking an Airbnb? Find a Lower Price in Seconds with This Trick

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Airbnb has rapidly gone from a beloved site to save big staying in fun vacation rentals to a platform notorious for additional fees and often higher prices. But if you're feeling some sticker shock during your Airbnb searches, there's a simple way you might be able to find a much cheaper rate.

These days, Airbnb has plenty of competition: From big sites like VRBO to third-party platforms and even direct booking sites, many owners and property managers list the exact same unit in multiple place … at different prices. That opens up an avenue to find a better deal on your next vacation rental within just a few clicks: doing a reverse image search on your browser. 

This trick to save on Airbnb rentals has been making the rounds on social media lately – but unlike many viral “travel hacks,” it really works. Here's how.


How to Find Your Airbnb at a Cheaper Price

So long as you're using a Google Chrome browser, it takes just a few seconds. Once you've zeroed in on a property, right click (or control click, for Mac users) one of the photos and select “Search image with Google.”

On other browsers like Safari, you can simply copy the URL from one of the photos, head to Google, and choose the “Search by image” camera icon to enter it and replicate that search – more on that later.

Grand Marais airbnb listing 

Your browser will pull up a Google Lens search on your screen, where you'll see any other sites that host an identical (or similar) photo. A reverse image search for this listing in Grand Marais, Minnesota – a popular resort town along Lake Superior's North Shore – brought up several results.

Grand Marais airbnb listing reverse image search first results 

Scrolling through the results, you might see other third-party booking platforms with the exact same property. Your best shot at finding a lower price will almost always be finding the property's own website to book direct – if that option exists.

Grand Marais airbnb listing reverse image search 

Click one of the results, and Google will open the webpage in a new tab.

Grand Marais Thomsonite Inn website 

After taxes and fees, Airbnb is charging nearly $690 for a two-night stay in this room in June.

airbnb confirmation 

But by using a reverse image search to find and book directly with the property itself, the same two-night stay costs under $470: saving more than $200!

thompson inn direct 

You won't always find an option to book a property directly or save this much – and in some cases, you won't find the same accommodations listed on another site at all. Still, it's worth trying this trick out to see if you can save by booking elsewhere.

Not using Google Chrome as your web browser? This works with other web browsers, too – though it'll take a few more steps to pull up the reverse image search results.

First, right-click one of the Airbnb listing photos and select “Copy image address.”

Grand Marais Airbnb listing reverse image search Safari 

Then, open another tab and go to images.google.com or pull up a Google Images search. Click the camera icon on the right.

Google Image search 

Paste the image URL and hit search. You should see the same list of results.

Google Images reverse image search

Buyer Beware

Find an even better price on an Airbnb rental through another site? Now it's time to do some mental math.

For all its faults, Airbnb does offer guests some additional flexibility and protection that you won't always get when booking on another platform. And that's what you'll be trading away if you wind up booking on another site.

For one, many Airbnb listings now offer fully refundable cancellation policies – or at least partial refunds – which makes it easier if you need to cancel or change your travel plans. Airbnb also offers an overarching set of travel protections called AirCover, which apply to every single Airbnb reservation. Here's the gist of it:

  • If a host cancels within 30 days of check-in, Airbnb guarantees an automatic full refund and says they'll help find a similar (or better) home instead, so you don't have to worry about last-minute cancellations.
  • If you have problems checking in to your Airbnb and can't reach your host, Airbnb will help find a suitable alternative listing or give you a full refund.
  • Didn't get what you booked? For undisclosed issues like a host or pet being present at your place, an uncleaned home, the wrong number of bedrooms, or major broken items like a nonfunctioning refrigerator, Airbnb says they may issue a partial or full refund if your host can't resolve the problem first. Just be sure to report the issues to Airbnb within 72 hours.
  • A dedicated, 24-hour safety line operated by special agents if you feel unsafe in your Airbnb.

There's a lot of wiggle room for Airbnb to make a judgment call … and when you need it, customer support might not always be the best, either. But these policies might be better than what you can get by booking through a different third-party platform or even directly through the hotel, rental company.

No matter what, it's worth weighing how much these extra travel protections are worth to you.

Read next: 5 Steps to Find the Best Airbnb, No Matter Where You’re Heading


Bottom Line

Found the perfect Airbnb for your next trip? Do a reverse Google image search for the listing and see whether you can book that same property for less – maybe far less – by booking the same property on another site.

While it won't be an option in every case – and there are some benefits to booking through Airbnb – it's an easy way to determine whether you're getting the best deal you can on your stay.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

1 Responses

  • Awesome trick! I’m planning a trip to Italy and we were looking at stays using AirBnB and looks like doing the reverse image search is going to save us a fair amount of money! Thank you!!!

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