20 steps to become a true Georgian driver

Driving in Georgia

Driving in Georgia is… Specific. It seems many Georgian drivers have been gifted with immortality. Well, at least they drive as if they were. Even though I have spent there three months, traveling in Georgia by car can always surprise me and give me a heart attack.

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How to get an Airbnb discount – 6 tips and tricks

Tips for getting an Airbnb discount

Many travelers will enjoy an Airbnb discount, which will make it possible for them to book accommodation for which they would otherwise not want to pay. Here are six tips and tricks to get cheaper accommodation on Airbnb.

1. GET €37 OR €28 IN AIRBNB CREDIT WITH A NEW ACCOUNT

If you do not already have an Airbnb account yet, there is a discount for your first stay. Create the account via this link, and you will get a €37 discount for your first stay of €67 or more in total value. Or register via this link, and you will get a €28 credit you can use for a reservation of total value of €55 and more. If your first reservation is less than €67, respectively € 55, you can use the credit next time. The credit is valid for 12 months. The discount is applied automatically, no discount code is required.

Find more detailed instructions here. And if you already have an account, you can always create a new one. If you use Gmail, just add or remove a period in your email address when registering on Airbnb. An email address [email protected] is the same as [email protected] or [email protected], and you will receive emails to the email address you already use.

2. GET €25 IN AIRBNB CREDIT WITH AN EXISTING ACCOUNT

You can get an Airbnb discount coupon of €25 ($30) for your next holiday with an existing account. Just mark your current or future stay of €64 ($75) or more as a business trip. Find out how to do it on this page.

3. INVITE YOUR FRIENDS

Invite friends via your referral link, and if they will register and use the credit you gave them, or become hosts, you will earn €15 for your next stay. You will find your referral link on this page, where you will also find your current credit and the list of friends who registered.

4. GET A DISCOUNT FOR LONGER STAY

Many Airbnb hosts provide discounts for long-term stays, specifically weekly and monthly discounts. Weekly discount will apply to reservations for 7 to 27 nights. Monthly discount will apply for a stay longer than 28 nights. Often, it’s worth it to stay for a long time at one place and not to change accommodation in one area.

If you are going to stay for 6 nights and the accommodation offers at least 15% weekly discount, it is worth to book a 7-night stay and leave on the sixth day. The same applies if you make a reservation for almost one whole month. Check out how much you would pay for 28 nights.

On the screenshots below you can see a price comparison for the same accommodation on Airbnb, which offers a 30% weekly discount and a 53% monthly discount. Booking for 7 nights is for €6 cheaper than for 5 nights.

5. ASK YOUR HOST FOR A DISCOUNT

The host of your desired Airbnb accommodation doesn’t offer the weekly or monthly discounts? Ask the host by yourself! This works better if you are going to stay for more days, but you can also ask about short stay anyway. You can find the link to contact the host in the listing (see the screenshot below) – just enter the date of stay, the number of guests and write a nice message. It’s good to write something about yourself, what brings you to the destination, and the price per night or the whole stay you would like to pay, or the percentage discount. Especially for longer stays, it pays off.

Better hosts and Superhosts will try to answer within 24 hours – this will keep them a high response rate that helps them to have a better position in search results.

6. GET EMAILS WITH AIRBNB DISCOUNT DEALS

If Airbnb hosts offer discounts for selected dates and you have previously looked at these offers or locations, Airbnb will send you an email. For example, I was looking at Airbnb accommodation in Bali and Suva Island on 21st November, and I received an email with promotional offers from these locations on 24th November. This option is useful for those of you who are not in a hurry to book the accommodation, so they can wait if some discount will appear in the selected location. In case of weekly/monthly discount, both of them will apply.

Which tip or trick for cheaper Airbnb accommodation do you find most useful? Do you know any others? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook. And don’t forget to share the article with your friends who can find Airbnb discounts useful.

Mountain village of Masuleh

Mountain village of Masuleh in northern Iran

The previous part: Desert, camels and salt lake at Kashan

Soundtrack for this article:

After returning to Tehran, we went for couchsurfing. Another great Iranian host took care of us and offered all his hospitality. This time, however, he was not a Muslim, but a Bahá’í. And so we could first learn about the “peacefulness” of the Iranian regime to religious minorities. But about how our host was tortured in the next post.

We had a dinner, played games with friends, and began to figure out what to do in the remaining days. After our arrival in Iran, we have thoroughly enjoyed the Tehran smog, so we were for some nature, and I was curious about the Caspian Sea. So we chose to visit Chalus, where many Tehran holidaymakers go on weekends and holidays.

Double disappointment in Chalus

The next morning we went to the nearby Western Bus Terminal and looked for savari – a shared taxi – to Chalus. The departure was right after filling the car, as we used to be for it in Georgia.

The journey to two hundred miles away Chalus leads through epic scenery through the Alborz Mountains and lasts for about four hours.

In Chalus, we found ourselves somewhere in the middle of the city and tried to find a wi-fi to check if someone from the local couchsurfers replied, even we contacted them last minute. However, no public wi-fi was anywhere, and hard-won hacking skills like typing password 12345678 were useless. We went to a local pizzeria where they did not have a wi-fi but had a menu in Persian. With gestures, I explained that I want any pizza, but without mushrooms. Mushrooms and raisins are my greatest enemies in the food kingdom. Succeeded. And after a while comes the first disappointment of the day – pizza with mushrooms. Mamnoon.

We managed to get the internet in a cafe where we went only to ask them if they have wi-fi. None of the couchsurfers replied, and we couldn’t find a hostel mentioned by Lonely Planet. So we decided to check out the coast in the hope that we might choose some hotel there. We couldn’t get rid of a taxi driver who brought us there as we couldn’t get rid of the disappointment number two – a dirty and boring beach. We quickly pulled out from the original plan to spend there the two days and started looking for another savari to Rasht.

Don’t go to Iran without cash

Finding accommodation in Rasht was easier than in Chalus. We could have even chosen. In the first one, they didn’t have internet and shower wasn’t included in the price. And that would be a disaster to pay a few extra cents for the shower! In the second one, a sign was saying “wifa”, which was promising. From sleeping on the floor, we got to sleeping in beds whose mattresses were hard as the floor. We had our own shower, but one had to almost stand by his foot in the toilet to fit into that room.

Two days before the end of our stay, we started to run out of rials, so we had to exchange more. During the evening walk through the city, we tried to find an exchange, but they were already closed. And the next day was a holiday. As a foreigner you won’t withdraw from ATM, so you have to bring all the cash with you and hope it’ll be enough. On the street, somebody advised us to try some hotel reception. We were able to find one after a while, a gentleman at the reception called someone and told us to wait. But of course, we didn’t have the money with us, so we had to rush back to the hostel across the square where the Ashura celebrations were happening, the terrible “Husayn music” was torturing your ears and its only purpose had to be to break windows within a radius of ten kilometers. Eventually, we managed to exchange the money for a normal exchange rate.

What a pity we killed a lot of time in Chalus, Rasht is a nice city and worth a visit.

Masuleh – a village with rooftops instead of sidewalks

For the journey to Masuleh, we chose savari. The transfer was supposed to be in Fuman, but the driver asked us where we were going and that he will take us to Masuleh. A surprise came when paying for the ride. At first for us, then for him. Savari suddenly became a taxi with a tourist surcharge, even though we asked him about the price in Fuman. Eventually, he wanted to charge us ten times more than we would have paid for a full savari. And still much more than if we have paid for empty places. Beeing pissed, we gave him about the half – still a win-lose situation for him.

Masuleh is a photogenic mountain village with two waterfalls where the roofs of lots of houses serve as sidewalks. And we appeared here just when one of the Ashura processions took place. The vast majority of people were in black, and we could see how they were preparing for it from the roofs. As a bonus, women were walking through the aisles and were giving out biscuits. Even to us. And it was the best cookie I ever had.

After visiting the village, we moved to Fuman, the city famous for biscuits. But I didn’t find them so awesome like the one in Masuleh. Locals helped us how to get to the bus station and even escorted us and paid the tickets for us to get there. Then we spent another few hours on the bus to Tehran.

A dinner with a teacher from an underground university and the departure from Iran

From the Argentina terminal in Tehran, no taxi driver wanted to take us back to our couchsurfing host at a normal price. Suddenly a soldier helped us, stopped a passing taxi and set the price for fifteen thousand tomans, ten thousand less than the others drivers wanted. Eventually, he tried to give us five thousand, but we refused. We just wanted to pay the normal price. So the soldier gave the money to the driver and told us to not to pay him more than ten thousand. Deal. And so we met the first taxi driver in Iran who turned on a taximeter. Which, in the end, showed much more than we had agreed. But we kept our part of the deal.

I don’t remember much about our last day in Tehran. Which is strange because they sell no alcohol there. Legally. We’ve visited the Saei Park, and in the evening we went for a dinner to a professor of an underground university. Some people are denied access to higher education, mainly because of their different religion. So the solution is these forbidden “underground universities” when students meet with teachers at home.

Later, we just packed our bags, welcomed new couchsurfers, gave them some tips, and got a taxi at a normal price to the Imam Khomeini Airport to enjoy a night flight to Istanbul and some to drop the scarf off the head.

Desert, camels and salt lake at Kashan

Camels in desert near Kashan in Iran

The previous part: Is Yazd the most beautiful city in Iran?

Play the music for better atmosphere:

To Kashan around anti-aircraft guns

Departure to the Isfahan Bus Station was according to the classic scenario. Stop a taxi, negotiate a reasonable price and then find someone to show us where to buy a ticket and from which platform the bus departs. Almost every car can be your taxi, and it’s easier to haggle the price down than with a regular taxi driver. At the bus station, you just look confused and lost, and someone will take care of you immediately. Not sure if those people are employees destined for lost souls, or they just hound people around to fill the buses, but we have never paid more we were supposed to. Of course only if they don’t state that there is just one bus (the more expensive one) in a few hours, which happened to us in Shiraz. Then you have to ask someone else for a cheaper or an earlier one.

I was looking forward to the journey to Kashan because the road runs around the Natanz Nuclear Power Plant, where they also enrich uranium and the facility is surrounded by anti-aircraft guns. But in the end, it was nothing spectacular. At many places, there was a “wall” from piles of clay so some disobedient tourists could not take a photo and give it to the US or Israel. Or not to end at a long and unpleasant interrogation (in the better case).

The king of couchsurfing in Kashan

At the bus station in Kashan, we raised false hopes of earnings in one taxi driver, but we only needed to call to our next couchsurfer to pick up us. That couchsurfer was a local couchsurfing guru Mohammad with 500 references. He took us to his home, accommodated in their bedroom with a giant bed and fed with a great pasta. While we were drinking a few cups of tea, a driver with his little son (let’s call him Mowgli) was already waiting for us to go to the desert and the salt lake.

For the first time in our lives, we were greeted by camels in the desert, and by other dunes. Those in the Varzaneh desert were more interesting, though there should be bigger dunes behind the Maranjab caravanserai, which we also went to visit. Not that we knew why, but the driver brought us there enthusiastically. It should serve as an accommodation, but it was all unfinished and the only people there were workers. For just a short visit and tea, we were punished by paying about 10,000 tomans.

In particular, I wanted to make it to the Namak salt lake for the sunset, which is not far, but the sun was already damn low. Luckily, we made it and did not forget to taste the ground to check if it is salty. Although we had the opportunity to spend as much time as we wanted to in the desert, Mowgli was already tired, so we did not wait for the starry sky and headed back to Kashan.

The journey from the salt lake lasted well over an hour. The last stop was at Mohammed Helal mosque in the nearby town of Aran va Bigdol, where we ate a melon and saw graves next to the mosque for the first time. They consisted only of tiles with the name of the person, and everybody could walk on them.

Back at home we had a dinner (maybe I should have written the names of meals because I do not remember any except for kebab) and watched news that informed about the events in the world in the same way like western media inform about the Middle East.

Over the roofs of a bazaar

We spent only one night in Kashan and the next day Mohammad took us to the Underground City of Nushabad. It was not opened yet so we went to a nearby 800 years old fort where you can climb to its walls and towers.

We entered the underground city without a guide, so Mohammad told us about the giant well we could step in, and then we could get lost in the tunnels and chambers on our own. But actually, there are not so many options to get lost since only a small part is open to the public. After a while, other tourists with a guide appeared, so we followed them and learned how this city worked and why. It served to the inhabitants to hide in the time of being attacked, and because of many shelters, they could easily ambush and kill the intruders. It was possible to live underground for many days.

The last stop was the Agha Bozorg mosque, which serves as a theological school with a library.

After that, we said goodbye with Mohammad and left to the local bazaar, where we were advised to climb on its roof. After a while of crawling, we arrived at a fountain and asked the nearby merchants if they would give us directions to the roof. They asked about 10,000 tomans for that, but we managed to haggle it down to 4,000. But if you can find your way up there, you probably do not have to pay to anyone. The view and the mud roof absolutely worth it. You can climb wherever you want, like to the very top of the dome under which the fountain is located. Besides, there are steps, so why not. After a while at the top of the dome, a man, probably a guide because he was with tourists, called on Kačka to go down and something about the police. I guess he was just envious because he was with his tourists just on the boring roof of some house.

Our visit to Kashan came to an end and we were waiting for a bus back to Tehran, where we arranged couchsurfing near the Azadi Tower this time.

How to get US $30 Airbnb credit with an existing account

Get an Airbnb credit with existing account

Did you use your credit you earned when registering on Airbnb? No worries, there is still a possibility to get another Airbnb credit of US $30 with an existing account.

If you are not registered on Airbnb yet, use this link to get 35 euros for your first stay. For more detailed instructions, see the post How to get free €35 Airbnb credit. With the instructions below, you will get up to US $72 in credits for accommodation.

1. LOG IN TO YOUR AIRBNB ACCOUNT

2. YOU NEED WORK EMAIL

You need an email account that is not a regular free email service, such as Gmail. You have to use an email of your web domain, or school or work email. If you do not have one of these options, use the free 10 Minute Mail service to get a temporary email address for 10 minutes, which you can use to register your Airbnb business account. Your email address will be [email protected] If you don’t receive the email with the confirmation link within 10 minutes (you should receive it within one minute), you can repeatedly reset the mailbox timer and get 10 minutes.

3. ADD YOUR WORK EMAIL

You have to set up this email as your work email on Airbnb. From Airbnb, you will receive only one email – the confirmation link, so no worries about losing the temporary email. The confirmation email of your business travel or the coupon code of US $30 will be delivered to the email you used for signing up to Airbnb.

You will see your work email in your account settings.

4. BOOKING A BUSINESS TRIP

All you need to do now is to book any accommodation for US $75 (before any guest fees or taxes) or more (you can pay for the reservation by your existing credit) and mark your stay as a business travel. If you’ve already booked some place in the required value, you can still mark it as a business travel in your bookings before you start the trip.

5. RECEIVE A US $30 COUPON CODE

After you’ve checked in to your accommodation, you’ll receive an email with your US $30 coupon code.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

At Airbnb, they often change the terms and conditions of receiving credit so you can check out the updated T&C.

  • You will get the coupon code of US $30 only if you mark your stay as a business travel and only if the value of the stay will be US $75 or higher.
  • The coupon code can only be used towards one reservation, with your account and you can’t be combined with other discount codes or credit.
  • The coupon code is valid for one year.