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How Far in Advance Does Airbnb Let You Book? (Timing is Key!)

You’re probably already looking forward to your next vacation, so no one would blame you if you wanted to get your plans taken care of ASAP. Securing lodging is the most important part of any getaway, but sometimes this can be a hassle if you’re trying to find the best deal.

Renting an Airbnb out far in advance will guarantee you the dates you want, but is it worth it?

How far in advance does Airbnb let you book?

Hosts can choose how far in advance they want to allow guests to book their Airbnb. Some hosts will allow several years in advance by default, but others prefer only a few months. There generally aren’t any advantages to booking super early, as things might change, and the host might become unavailable down the line.

Can you book an Airbnb the night before?

Yes, you can book an Airbnb the night before if the host allows it. Sometimes hosts will even offer extra last-minute deals to fill up otherwise empty nights at their rental.

Booking an Airbnb the night before is somewhat of a risky move, but there are a few circumstances where it might make sense for you.

Maybe you’ve planned a last-minute vacation or just feel the need to get away for a few days. A late-night search might have led you to the destination of your dreams, and maybe you’ve found a great deal on an awesome BNB. Nice! But can you really book it? Is it considered rude or strange?

In general, it might be a little uncommon to book an Airbnb the night before. This is especially true if it’s extremely late at night and you’re planning on checking in early the next morning. However, hosts do choose their own settings on when the cutoff is for new bookings. If they allow it, you can book it!

Worried that you might not make it to your newfound destination in time? Check out my article to find out what a typical Airbnb check in is like!

Is it better to book Airbnb early or late?

While there is still some debate on this issue, if you only care about getting a great deal on your Airbnb stay it is better to wait as close to the booking date as possible. However, those who wait too long will risk not getting a booking and being stuck with nowhere to go.

According a company that analyzed data from Airbnb hosts, Airbnb prices go down significantly the closer the booking date gets. This trend starts at around one week before the booking date and levels off a day or two before the booking date.

According to this study, these cost-saving strategies will really only work if you’re looking for a short stay of a day or two. Longer stays are typically planned out in advance because people want to ensure that they get the vacation they want.

Shorter-term stays are typically more flexible, partially due to the fact that hosts are often left with gaps of a day or two in between longer stays. Hosts would rather have someone staying with them for a slightly lower price than no one staying with them at all, so they’ll often offer discounted rates to get the highest possible occupancy rates.

Rental Recon Tip: If you want a great deal on an Airbnb stay, you might have to be less picky about your options. According to a recent study, 80% of Airbnbs are booked at 10 days out, leaving you with 1/5 of the choices you might normally have.


When’s the best time to book an Airbnb?

The “best” time to book an Airbnb depends on what you’re looking to get out of your stay. If you want the best deal, it’s a better idea to wait until right before the date (less than a week) to get a lower price. If you want a specific Airbnb or experience, you should book further out (at least 2 months) to ensure you get what you’re looking for.

Getting the best price on something often involves a lot of strategy, and if you’re a deal-savvy guest you’ve likely explored the various ways you can “cheat” the system to get a bargain on your Airbnb stay.

Getting the lowest rate often comes with the tradeoff of not getting the specific location that you may have had in mind, however, so it’s important to manage your expectations accordingly.

Instead of being set on a specific tiny house, luxury apartment, or cottage, try to envision what you want out of your vacation and find a rental that’s available and that fits into your plan. Maybe you wanted a great view of the city, or a host that will cook you breakfast, or a lakefront property. Widening the scope of your search will keep you from being disappointed in the available last-minute options, and you can use your extra savings to have a killer vacation instead!

Are you a host with a lower occupancy rate than you’d like? There might be some reasons you’re not getting any bookings. Check out my tips HERE!

Do you pay an Airbnb in advance?

You’re required to pay for an Airbnb up front, and only one person is allowed to pay the host. The payment must be handled through the Airbnb payment system, and any outside transactions (especially cash) are strictly prohibited by Airbnb’s terms of service.

A lot of guests assume that since Airbnb is a bit more casual than a typical hotel experience that their host might be okay with them paying during (or after) their stay. Some even try to pay in cash, which is very frowned upon and not allowed at all.

There are a few reasons you’re required to pay for an Airbnb up front. One of these is so hosts can collect a security deposit if they choose to do so. This deposit is in case the guest causes any damage to the property. It allows the host to collect money from the guest’s payment account more easily than requesting money themselves.

Another reason guests are required to pay in advance is because Airbnb has a pretty strict cancellation policy. Both guests and hosts alike are held to a high standard with keeping their reservations, and there can be penalties (financial or otherwise) if either of them needs to cancel.

In addition, some hosts choose to charge an early check in fee or a late check out fee. Sometimes these aren’t collected until during the booking for various reasons, including that some guests don’t notify the host of their planned schedule changes.

If such a fee is required by the host and it’s needed after the guest has already checked in, the host will use the Request Money feature on Airbnb to collect the payment. This holds true for any kind of payment collected during an Airbnb stay, including payments for damage caused by a guest (if no security deposit was in place). Again, it’s not allowed to complete any transactions outside of Airbnb.

More questions on Airbnb payments? Click here!

I'm an Airbnb Superhost sharing my Airbnb journey and tips that I've learned along the way.

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