Lonely Planet Writer

Airbnb has just made booking easier for cash-strapped travellers

We’ve all been there – desperate to book the perfect vacation in a lovely Airbnb and without the necessary funds to pay for it. But, thanks to a new feature from the home rental site, travellers who are low on dough will be able to put down a payment for their accommodation, and save the rest of the bill for later.

A couple books an Airbnb on a laptop.
Airbnb is offering a new option to pay less up front. Image by Airbnb

Previously, Airbnb guests paid for the entire trip at the time of booking, which was prohibitive for anyone with a cash flow problem. With the new feature, Pay Less Up Front, guests are able to pay a portion when booking – usually a 50% deposit – and settle the rest closer to their check-in.

The company says that when given the chance to pay less up front, 40% of users opted for the feature, and even chose higher-value bookings when they didn’t have to foot the whole bill at once. Airbnb also says the move will benefit hosts, as they will no longer miss out on bookings from travellers who want to stay in their home, but just don’t have all the money at once. It has also led travellers to book their trips further in advance, which means you can start dreaming of that next holiday even before your next paycheque comes in.

Pay less up front for that perfect Airbnb. Image by Airbnb

To use the feature, the total cost of the stay must be $250 or more, and be booked at least 14 days from your check-in date. If you’re ready to book, the new option is now available on iOS, Android, mobile-web and desktop.

This is the latest change Airbnb has made to help guests fund their travels. Back in November, the company introduced the ability for guests to split payments – meaning one person no longer has to foot the bill for all their family and friends.