Airbnb Competitors & Alternatives
I’m actually big fan of Airbnb, and have had nothing but great experiences with them! But as their popularity has exploded in the past couple of years, the best rentals are often booked up, spurring me to explore Airbnb’s competitors. Turns out there’s quite a few alternatives to Airbnb, from luxury vacation rental sites, to budget friendly options like housesitting. Stay away from the scammy rental sites out there, and book your next vacation with one of these:
Flipkey is TripAdvisor’s vacation rental site, so in addition to details and reviews of each property, they’ve integrated their lists and reviews of tourist attractions. Each property listing includes a list of the attractions that the rental is close to! You’ll find a good variety of rentals worldwide, from budget conscious to high end. Compared to Airbnb, they’re a little lighter in their selection of rentals in less touristy areas, but worth checking out unless you’re headed somewhere truly obscure.
Homeaway and VRBO are sister websites, and very similar, but you may find slightly different rental listings on each. They’re both similar to Flipkey, with a nice selection of rentals around the world, and some surprisingly reasonable prices (less than $200 a night for an apartment in Paris? yes please!). If you’re a fan of renting private homes and apartments on Airbnb, you should definitely consider this Airbnb competitor.
Couchsurfing, I’ll admit, is not for everyone. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can’t beat free! Despite the moniker, you won’t necessarily be relegated to a local’s sofa; some hosts offer up their guest bedrooms to travelers. If you decide to try out Couchsurfing, be sure to fill out your profile completely, and consider paying the one-time fee to be verified, as it will increase your chances of scoring a great stay. Likewise, stay safe and be choosy about your host. Chat with them before you book your stay, and use Couchsurfing’s advanced search filters to find hosts that have references, or offer a private room.
So you’re probably familiar with Booking.com as a hotel booking site, but did you know they offer vacation rentals as well? If you’re on the fence, you can choose to see results for both in your search, making it easier to find the best deal. A quick search for last minute Tokyo stays showed some sky high hotel prices, but a number of reasonably priced apartments still available. The variety and ability to compare with hotels makes Booking.com one of my go-to Airbnb competitors.
Another awesome pick for those on a budget, Homestay.com allows you to stay in a local’s home, much like booking a private room (as opposed to entire apartment) on Airbnb. Unlike Airbnb, there’s the expectation of real, meaningful interaction between host and guest, and you can even search for a host who will cook for you! It’s a great way to experience your destination like a local, while saving big bucks on your stay (there’s generally plenty available for $20-30 a night, even in big cities).
Love Home Swap offers up an interesting twist among Airbnb alternatives: join a community willing to “swap” homes for vacation. You stay at their home or apartment, and they stay at yours. Granted, you’ll probably need to be in a desirable area to make this work, but the perks are huge, given how much you’d pay to rent a home. If you can’t get your vacation planning to line up, you can also swap for points, meaning that you let a family stay at your home (and maybe head to the in-laws for a week), accruing points that can be used towards a future stay at someone’s home.
Kid & Coe, as the name implies, caters specifically to travelers with children. It’s a higher end vacation rental site, with a curated selection of homes that already have the necessities that parents might stress over when traveling. Think high chairs, cribs, and safe, kid friendly neighborhoods. The selection is on the pricey side, but if you’ve got the funds, it’s a fantastic Airbnb alternative for parents.
Housesitting requires some flexibility, along with responsibility, as many homeowners are looking for someone to care for their pets. But it’s an awesome way to stay in home and areas that you could never afford to otherwise. Trusted Housesitters is one of the major reputable housesitting sites. You’ll pay a yearly membership fee, and can apply to as many housesits around the world as you’d like! Just keep in mind that the timing of your vacation/housesit revolves around the homeowner, and you’ll have to be quick to snag the best housesits.