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Try this travel hack to save money on Airbnb using Google Lens

Looking for a bargain on your next trip away? With a savvy approach and the right apps, you can often find big discounts on accommodation. We’re focusing on Airbnb in this guide because it’s both popular and relatively expensive, but this trick should work with any booking platform.

The secret here is an old one: you can save a ton by skipping the middleman. While solo hosts might only be listed in one place, most venues will be on multiple booking sites and many will have their own website. Always book direct if you can: you’ll avoid the hefty Airbnb service fee, and can often strike a cheaper deal with the host as they won’t be paying a commission their end either.

Going direct is easy in theory. The problem you’re likely to encounter is one of visibility: not all Airbnb listings are easy to find elsewhere. With vague names like “wistful cottage in the mountains” and no specific address, you might struggle to track down the hosts anywhere else, killing any hopes of price comparisons. That’s where our sneaky tip comes in handy.

First, find the property you’re interested in on the Airbnb website in Safari – don’t use the Airbnb app. Long-press the main photo on the listing and tap Save to Photos. Now we can perform a reverse image search to see where else that exact photo appears on the web.

The easiest way to do that is with the free Google app. Download it and tap the Lens button in the main search field. Choose the photo you just saved from the All images section, and make sure the Search tab is selected. Scroll down to see the results, which are usually far more precise than if you’d attempted a text search.

If the property is listed on other booking sites, you’ll see a price comparison chart. This alone can often save a good chunk over the stated Airbnb price – around £20/night in our example here. That adds up fast over a longer trip.

But what you’re really looking for here is the venue’s own website, which is often the first result after the price lists. If you’re traveling to a non-English speaking country, Google Lens can help out here too by instantly translating other languages with the toggle at the top of the webpage. That means you won’t miss out on a great deal just because you don’t speak Dutch.

Here, you can see whether your stay would be cheaper direct. In our testing, it usually is. You’ll also find contact details if you want to go a step further and try haggling over the phone. If you’re booking somewhere big for a wedding or an event, going direct can save thousands!