TikToker Says This ‘Travel Hack’ Saves Thousands of Dollars on Airbnbs

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The TikToker said her travel hack saves her thousands on accommodations.
@annathingbutanimals/TikTok, AlesiaKan/Shutterstock

  • A TikToker is sharing the “travel hack” that she says saves her thousands on accommodations.
  • Anna McKitrick said she always saves Airbnb hosts’ contact information after booking a stay with them.
  • The next time she’s in town, she books with the host directly, and saves money by paying in cash.

A TikToker shared a “travel hack” that she said saves her thousands of dollars on accommodations. 

Anna McKitrick, who owns a vegan travel company, said in the video that she saves the host’s contact information after every Airbnb stay. Then, the next time she’s in town, she reaches out to them and asks to book with them directly.

“This is my biggest travel hack that saves me literally thousands of dollars while traveling,” McKitrick said in the TikTok video shared in June. “Some of these people, I kid you not, have like 30 properties and they would so much rather rent it to somebody they know.”

McKitrick added that she’ll ask for a 70% discount if she pays in cash — and told Insider, “it’s never not worked.”

Receipts viewed by Insider showed that during one stay in Mexico City, she paid about $69 per night for a week. She said afterward, she asked to stay in the same apartment for two months and paid $1,350 in cash each month — nearly $1,500 less than if she booked through Airbnb. 

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McKitrick told Insider that she started using the trick a few years ago and that it’s particularly helpful during slow seasons when you can ask for larger discounts. 

Some viewers misunderstood her travel hack, McKitrick said. She said she isn’t advocating for finding Airbnbs and then contacting them off the platform without knowing them first; McKitrick said she only uses the hack if she stayed with the host before and liked the accommodations. 

Airbnb didn’t comment on the travel hack but directed Insider to an article on its help page recommending communicating with and paying hosts through the platform.

The company warns that working outside the sites puts you at “a greater risk of fraud and other security issues.” It doesn’t, however, say the hack is against its policies. 

“I’m not recommending you go behind Airbnb’s back,” McKitrick said. “I’m not recommending you do anything that’s against Airbnb guidelines. It’s less about going behind Airbnb’s back and more about forming a network so that you can reach out to people.”

She told Insider she has two pieces of advice for anyone following her hack: pay once you arrive at the accommodation (don’t Zelle someone $2,000 before you get there), and book in places you feel safe in.

“It’s definitely once you have a relationship with the person and once you have already stayed there to kind of really build more of a network if you’re a frequent traveler,” she added. 

Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Airbnb.

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