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Now is the perfect time to book an Airbnb and save money

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This article Nerd Wallet.

Despite what some travelers may think, it’s usually not a good idea to book hotels in advance. While it won’t save you much, last-minute bookings save you about 13% off hotel room prices on average. But what about short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb? ABNB,

NerdWallet looked at real-world booking data for hundreds of Airbnb properties to compare cleaning rates, long-term discounts, and the cost of advance versus short-term bookings. The data, which provides a snapshot as of June 2022, suggests that unlike hotels, Airbnb is typically cheaper when booked in advance.

best time to book an airbnb

We looked at Airbnb rentals in 10 cities across the United States and compared prices across three booking slots.

  • 3 days ago.

  • 4 weeks ago.

  • 47 weeks ago (almost a year).

We found that booking 4 weeks in advance resulted in the lowest average price.

In this analysis, we only included properties available in all timeframes. This meant that the same establishment had reduced prices after about a month compared to last minute bookings and bookings made in advance. The savings weren’t huge, but they were consistent.

Additionally, we found that most of these properties (84%) use “dynamic” pricing where rates change based on demand.

This means most hosts adjust their prices based on availability and other trends. This means that as a guest, you should not assume that the “price” of your property is static. Much like plane tickets, they tend to have ups and downs over time.

plus: 12 Ways to Adjust Vacations for Inflation

So is it cheaper to book an Airbnb last minute?

We recommend the half-hearted method. Not months or days before check-in, but somewhere in between. According to our data, this offers the lowest typical rate.

Note that this rule of thumb does not apply in all situations. This snapshot was taken in his summer of 2022, when travel demand was particularly hot. This may have driven up the price of late bookings as renters found themselves in a sort of ‘seller’s market’. Based on the law of supply and demand, travelers should expect more last-minute deals during low travel seasons and fewer during peak travel seasons.

Many other factors influence dynamic pricing. According to vacation rental software company iGMS, hosts consider many variables when setting prices, including:

  • seasonality.

  • supply and demand.

  • day of week.

  • Amenities.

  • Number and quality of reviews.

So while the booking window is one factor to consider, it should not dictate your travel budget.

See also This is the #1 complaint against US airlines

Airbnb hacks and strategies to avoid overpaying

Unlike hotels and airlines that constantly compete for search results by offering discounted prices, Airbnb has full control over its search tools. This means that the platform has no incentive to simplify the process of finding discounts or to let users know when properties offer good or bad deals on any given date.

Travelers are responsible and should be taken care of to avoid overpaying. Here are some tips:

  • Look for fixed-price properties for last-minute bookings during peak travel times. These properties offer relative discounts while other hosts are raising their prices. The easiest way to find fixed-price properties is to compare weekday and weekend rates. If they are the same, it’s probably a static price for all dates.

  • Book in advance, but don’t book too far in advance. Think of this from the host’s perspective. There is little incentive to lower prices up front when availability is wide open or limited last minute. If possible, scout the price first. Book when they start dropping.

  • Don’t wait for a long stay. The analysis in this article applies only to single night bookings. But digital nomads and those looking for an extended stay shouldn’t expect to find months’ worth of availability at the last minute, or even in the past few weeks.

check out: 6 vacation rental alternatives to Airbnb


Airfare tends to be higher in the last few weeks before departure. Hotels are cheaper on average. And Airbnb? they fall somewhere in between.

According to our analysis, a good zone is about 4 weeks before departure. But it can be even earlier during peak travel seasons, and even reversed during the off-season when hosts crave availability.

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Sam Kemmis writes for NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @samsambutdif.