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We’ve put together the ultimate list of Airbnb alternatives to help you find vacation rentals for your next trip!
Are you tired of the traditional Airbnb experience, where unexpected and sometimes unpleasant surprises may await you upon check-in to your vacation rental? We’ve been there!
While we’ve had some incredible Airbnb properties, we’ve also had some absolute dumps, that didn’t reflect the reviews at all!
Thankfully there are some fantastic Airbnb alternatives if you’re looking for other vacation rental platforms. These range from similar properties (including many already listed on Airbnb), but also alternative accommodation options – luxury, glamping and everything in between!
With each Airbnb alternative carefully vetted, this list will tell you the type of properties they offer and the pros and cons of each.
Airbnb is an online platform that revolutionised the travel industry by allowing individuals to list private vacation homes and short-term rentals directly to people who are looking for somewhere to stay.
Unlike traditional hotels, Airbnb offers many lodging options, including entire homes, apartments, shared rooms, and even unique and unconventional spaces like treehouses and yachts.
Airbnb hosts, who are typically private homeowners, list their properties or private rooms on Airbnb. Guests can browse through the listings to find accommodations that suit their preferences and budget.
This concept has provided travellers with more personalised and immersive accommodation experiences, giving them the chance to stay in local neighbourhoods and connect with their destination more fully.
There are quite a few reasons why Airbnb has shaped the vacation rental industry since its conception. Here are some of the pros and cons of Airbnb:
Pros of Airbnb:
Diverse Range of Properties: Airbnb offers a huge variety of accommodation, ranging from private rooms to entire homes, villas, and unique properties like treehouses or boats.
Local Immersion: The properties often provide a more authentic and local experience compared to traditional hotels. Guests can immerse themselves in neighbourhoods, living like locals.
Cost-Effective: In many cases, Airbnb can be more cost-effective, especially for larger groups or extended stays, compared to booking multiple hotel rooms.
Enhanced Amenities: Airbnb properties often include fully-equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, and outdoor spaces, providing guests with added convenience and flexibility during their stay.
Interaction with Hosts: Guests can interact directly with hosts, who can provide insider tips, recommendations, and personalised touches.
Cons of Airbnb:
Quality and Consistency: The quality of accommodation can vary significantly, as Airbnb properties are individually owned and managed. Sometimes reviews aren’t enough to vet out the duds.
Service Fee: There are quite a few extra fees added to your rental costs, including cleaning fees and service fees that you don’t have with hotels. This can significantly bump up the price.
Cancellation Policies: Airbnb hosts set their cancellation policies, which can be strict or flexible. Guests may face penalties if they need to cancel their reservation, especially close to the travel dates or upcoming trip.
No instant booking: While some properties do allow instant booking, in most cases you need to wait for the booking to be approved. This isn’t a good option when you’re needing accommodation quickly!
Legal and Regulatory Issues: In some areas, Airbnb faces legal challenges and regulatory restrictions, as some cities and regions have enacted laws to address concerns like housing shortages and impacts on local communities.
Less Flexibility: In some cases, not having a 24-hour service desk can be an issue. You are relying on the availability of the property owner if things go wrong.
For us personally, we’ve had mixed experiences. We’ve stayed in an authentic villa in Dubrovnik and a luxury home in Gdansk that has been amazing!
But we’ve also had a dingy apartment in Budapest with a bedroom that was more like a closet and another that barely had room to walk around the bed and a dirty Melbourne apartment that had exceptional reviews.
While Airbnb can provide unique and enriching experiences, guests need to research listings, read reviews, and communicate with hosts to ensure a pleasant and rewarding stay.
However, if we are booking a multigenerational trip with extended family, sites like Airbnb are our first choice.
The Best Airbnb Alternatives To Find Vacation Rentals
Now that we’ve talked about the good and the bad of Airbnb, let’s look at the best Airbnb alternatives to find your next apartment rentals:
Vrbo, or “Vacation Rentals By Owner,” is a well-established vacation rental site like Airbnb.
It facilitates vacation rentals and connects travellers with private homeowners who offer their properties for short-term stays.
Vrbo has gained popularity as a trusted option for finding standalone vacation homes and rentals.
The biggest difference with this Airbnb alternative is that it primarily focuses on house rentals. This means you’re more likely going to get a larger vacation rental that often has its own private backyard.
This makes Vrbo a great Airbnb alternative for families (or friend groups).
But not everything on Vrbo is a massive house! You’ve also got the choice of tiny homes and beachfront villas. The main difference remains the fact that there are no shared properties here.
Vrbo is part of the Expedia group of travel brands – which is a trusted name in the travel industry.
Pros of VRBO:
Larger properties – Usually a full house, often with a private yard. There are no shared properties or single-room options here.
Family-Friendly Vacation Rentals: Many Vrbo listings are designed to accommodate families or large group travel, with features like multiple bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and spacious living areas, providing a home-like experience.
Privacy: Vrbo’s focus on standalone vacation rentals makes for a more private and relaxed rental space.
Transparency in Pricing: Vrbo’s “total price” option lets guests see the complete cost of a rental, including additional fees and they are often cheaper than Airbnb.
Travel protection insurance: If staying in a private home with your kids sounds daunting, Vrbo allows guests to add damage protection insurance to their booking to avoid extra out-of-pocket costs if accidents happen.
One Key Rewards Program: You can earn rewards points to use when booking stays on Vrbo, Expedia and Hotels.com properties.
Cons of VRBO:
Limited Inner City Options: Vrbo’s selection might be less extensive in urban areas compared to Airbnb, which is known for offering a wider range of city-based accommodation.
Cancellation Policies: Some users have found Vrbo’s cancellation policies to be more complex and less user-friendly compared to Airbnb.
Locations Covered By Vrbo:
Vrbo has over 2 million vacation rentals located around the world, making it a global vacation rental alternative to Airbnb, with listings that include houses, condos, cabins, cottages, chalets and villas.
Booking.com is widely recognised and one of the leaders in the vacation rental industry that offers a mammoth selection of accommodations, including hotels, apartments, vacation homes, and more.
While most people head to Booking.com when looking for a hotel room, you may have noticed that their offerings now include a lot of vacation homes and holiday properties now too.
It has grown into one of the largest platforms for booking accommodation worldwide. It also tends to be our first choice when looking for accommodation when planning a travel itinerary.
The best thing about Booking.com is that you can compare the best prices, facilities and locations of hotel rooms and private rentals on a single platform. This is convenient if you’re unsure which is best for your trip.
Having the ability to compare different types of properties in a single platform, from luxury resorts to private cottages, means you can easily find something within your budget and potentially discover a better option than the hotel you first planned to book.
This makes Booking.com one of the best alternatives to Airbnb in our opinion!
Pros of Booking.com:
Instant Booking: No waiting for confirmation. You can book your stay instantly and know exactly how much it will cost. No hidden fees. The booking process is super easy!
Variety of Accommodation: Compare an extensive range of travel accommodation, including hotels, apartments, holiday homes, holiday parks and resorts all in one place.
Better Cancellation Policies: You can filter your search for properties with free cancellation or have transparent dates for how much it will cost you if you cancel a property after a certain date.
User-Friendly Searches: Booking.com’s search filters are highly efficient, allowing travellers to refine their search results to find the type of accommodation they need.
Competitive Prices: Due to its extensive inventory, Booking.com often offers competitive prices and deals, providing travellers with access to a wide range of properties at various price points.
Strong International Presence: Booking.com is well-known and widely used in international markets, making it an excellent option for travellers planning trips abroad.
Genius Rewards: The more you book and stay, the better your perks with the Genius levels offering things like upgraded rooms, bonus discounts or free breakfast.
Cons of Booking.com:
Less Charm and Character: Unlike some of Airbnb’s more unique and unconventional listings, Booking.com’s properties in major cities may lack the same charm and character.
Limited Shared Spaces: While Booking.com offers a variety of mostly private room accommodations, it doesn’t provide the same range of shared spaces or unconventional lodgings found on alternative sites or Airbnb.
Locations Covered By Booking.com:
Booking.com is a global accommodation booking service with places to stay ranging from 5-star luxury resorts to youth hostels, holiday homes and cabins.
HomeToGo is a popular vacation rental search engine that aggregates listings from various platforms, including Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and more.
So while you aren’t going to be booking directly with HomeToGo, it brings the major sites into a single search engine so you can compare the best sites, with a huge range of properties in one place.
This saves time by not having to check multiple sites like Airbnb to find the right place to stay for your upcoming trip.
Pros of HomeToGo:
Multi-Platform Search: Ability to search and compare listings from different rental sites.
Time-Saving: Get all the results in a single platform to save time on your searches. .
Cons of HomeToGo:
No direct booking: When you click a listing, you are redirected to that original listing on the source website (e.g., Airbnb, Vrbo).
No booking support: HomeToGo doesn’t host or manage the booking transactions itself so if you have issues, you need to go directly to the site you booked through.
Locations Covered by HomeToGo:
HomeToGo covers a wide range of locations worldwide, spanning popular tourist destinations, major cities, remote getaways, and more. It aggregates vacation rental listings from different regions from partners that include Airbnb, Booking.com, Tripadvisor and more.
If you love the idea of glamping vs. hotel stays or back-to-basics camping, then Hipcamp might be your new favourite alternative to Airbnb!
Hipcamp is a unique camping reservation platform that offers a diverse selection of camping and glamping options for travellers seeking a rustic and offbeat experience.
As the name suggests, Hipcamp focuses on providing affordable accommodations that range from traditional camping sites to more luxurious glamping options, such as Airstream trailers and yurts.
So while in many cases, you’re going to find yourself loads of great options for budget travel, don’t rule out the fact that there are some rather luxurious glamping opportunities on this site too.
The best part, many of these experiences are perfect for nature lovers and you may just find your dream vacation on Hipcamp.
Pros of Hipcamp:
Offbeat Experience: Hipcamp caters to adventurous travellers looking for a unique and offbeat experience, providing options beyond traditional hotels and home rentals.
Glamping Options: With a focus on “glamping” (glamorous camping), Hipcamp offers a variety of luxurious camping options, such as Airstream trailers and yurts, allowing travellers to experience nature with added comfort.
Budget-Friendly: Hipcamp can be an affordable alternative to traditional places to stay like hotels and the Airbnb rental market, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious travellers.
Cons of Hipcamp:
Limited Amenities: Some rental options may offer basic amenities, and travellers should be prepared for a more rustic experience compared to traditional hotels or vacation rentals.
Limited Locations: Hipcamp is currently only in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and France, but with plans to expand further.
As mentioned above, Hipcamp is not yet global, currently only available in locations within US, Canada, Australia, NZ, UK and France but this will hopefully expand to more countries in future.
Homestay is a vacation rental platform that provides travellers with an authentic and genuinely hosted experience.
Unlike traditional vacation rentals, with Homestay, guests stay in the host’s home, allowing for a more local and immersive travel experience.
The concept centres on fostering connections between travellers and hosts, providing a unique opportunity to live with a local and gain insights into their culture and way of life.
This type of travel certainly isn’t for everyone but for solo travellers, or anyone who wants a really local experience away from the typical guidebook travel experience, Homestay is a wonderful option.
The platform aims to further sustainable tourism and provide guests with opportunities to connect with local hosts across different cultures and regions.
Authentic Local Experience: Homestay offers guests the chance to live with a local host, providing a genuine and immersive experience in the destination.
Cultural Exchange: Staying with a host facilitates cultural exchange and offers insights into local customs, traditions, and daily life.
Unique Stays: Homestay listings can include a diverse range of accommodations, such as spare rooms in the host’s home, private cottages, and guesthouses, offering a variety of experiences.
Budget Friendly: Many of the options are great for budget travellers who want to pay less than they would for a full house or apartment.
Long-Term Options: In some cases, longer stays are available if you are planning to stay for an extended period. This can be great for international students and full time travellers especially!
Limited Availability: While Homestay offers accommodations in over 150 countries, the selection is much more limited compared to platforms like Airbnb, which have a broader range of listings.
Not for everyone: This type of engaged travel isn’t suited to everyone. Especially if you’re travelling as a family or group where there are very few hosts with space for multiple people.
Locations Covered By Homestay:
As one of the more unique Airbnb competitors, Homestay covers a variety of locations worldwide, including popular tourist destinations and off-the-beaten-path locales, in 170+ countries.
Outdoorsy is a platform that offers RV and motorhome rentals, allowing travellers to explore the great outdoors on their own terms.
With over 14 million RV rentals available, users can choose from vintage airstreams, modern campers, and luxury Winnebagos for various types of trips.
The thing that makes Outdoorsy one of the best Airbnb alternatives is the fact that compared to renting a recreational vehicle through a rental organisation, you are getting much more affordable deals.
This fantastic concept is beneficial for both the person renting the vans (you) and the person hiring it out, since owning any form of motorhome is a huge investment. Especially if it sits in the carport most of the year.
Outdoorsy offers an excellent budget-friendly alternative to Airbnb, especially for travellers seeking an adventurous experience exploring nature and the open road.
Plus who doesn’t love a road trip? This is one of our favourite types of family travel but it isn’t always the cheapest option – until Outdoorsy!
Explore At Your Pace: Outdoorsy enables travellers to embark on adventurous road trips and explore nature’s wonders with the convenience of an RV or caravan.
Wide Variety of Rentals: The platform offers a vast selection of RVs, accommodating different travel preferences and budgets.
Your Accommodation On Wheels: See more rather than being located in one spot for the duration of your trip.
Cheaper Way To Travel: Affordable option for budget travellers.
Limited Locations: While Outdoorsy covers many destinations, the availability of rentals may vary depending on the region.
Driving & Parking Skills Required: Renting an RV requires some level of driving and parking skills, which may not be suitable for all travellers. Of course, you will also need the right driver’s license to rent one too!
Not Suited To Large Groups: Most vans accommodation 2-4 people so if you have a larger family, you may struggle to find something to suit.
Outdoorsy covers various locations across the United States and other countries, including Australia and New Zealand.
Agoda Homes is a part of the Agoda network – the largest online travel agency in Asia.
It offers over 1.8 million quality accommodation options, including hotels, resorts, apartments budget hostels, and homes.
Unlike some other Airbnb alternatives in the vacation rental market, Agoda Homes listings feature only entire apartments or homes listed by the homeowner.
And Agoda isn’t entirely focused on the Asian market either! There are property listings for other major cities around the world, including parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Oceania and the Americas.
Wide Selection: Agoda Homes provides a vast range of accommodation, catering to various preferences and budgets, much like Booking.com.
Minimal Host Contact: Unlike the traditional Airbnb experiences, most Agoda Homes offer minimal contact with hosts, allowing for a more private and independent stay.
Solo Traveler Discounts: Solo travellers can enjoy discounts of up to 12% on rental prices, making it a budget-friendly option for single adventurers.
Limited Locations: Agoda Homes covers fewer regions than some of the bigger sites like Airbnb and Booking.com.
Locations Covered By Agoda Homes:
Agoda Homes cover various locations across Asia, making it an excellent alternative for finding vacation rentals in this region. It also has availability in parts of Europe, and the Americas, including the United States, parts of Africa, Dubai, Australia and New Zealand.
Plum Guide is a standout competitor to Airbnb for high-end vacation rental properties. It is renowned for its focus on high-quality vacation homes and luxury stays.
They employ Home Critics who rigorously vet each rental, ensuring only exceptional properties make the cut. Many applicants are rejected, guaranteeing a premium level of stay that meets the Plum Guide standard.
The great thing about this is that you are almost guaranteed an exceptional place to stay through this strict approval process. This also means you are paying a much higher price in most cases too.
The other thing that Plum Guide offers that you don’t get so much from other sites like Airbnb is having a team of concierge experts on hand 7 days a week to support guests during their stays.
They also have a home truths feature that lists extra information, such as the below example:
Due to the location of this home, we recommend hiring a car to get the most out of your stay
There is free private parking for up to three cars on the drive
Complimentary housecleaning is included in your stay
Please note the fifth bedroom is located on the first floor which is accessed by stairs
Having such a transparent listing helps avoid any of the unexpected surprises that some of the other sites don’t cover quite so well.
Superior Quality: Plum Guide’s strict vetting process ensures all listings are exceptionally beautiful and meet high standards.
Home Truths: Extra details on listings to help assess property suitability and avoid unwanted surprises.
Strict Approval Process: Properties go through a very strict vetting process to ensure they are of Plum Guide standard
Dedicated Customer Service: Plum Guide’s concierge team of Experts provides support seven days a week for exceptional customer service.
Limited Selection: There are far fewer luxury properties available to choose from with fewer listings that meet their strict level of quality.
More Expensive: With a more premium stay, like luxury villas or beachfront homes, you will pay m ore than most other sites like Airbnb.
Locations Covered By Plum Guide:
Plum Guide covers various locations worldwide, offering high-quality vacation rentals in popular cities, scenic getaways, and unique destinations. They are mostly situated in Europe, but also with properties in the United States, Australia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
9Flats is a vacation rental platform that focuses on offering entire apartments for rent, providing travellers with the opportunity to experience local culture and immerse themselves in their destination.
Aside from the whole unit rentals difference, it’s not that unlike Airbnb.
The search function is a little better though since it tells you the minimum night stay requirements and maximum occupants in the search resorts.
It also tells you the accommodation style at a glance, such as resort, bed and breakfast or motel.
6 Million Properties Worldwide: Plenty of great options to choose from around the world.
Entire Apartment Rentals: With a focus on entire apartments, 9Flats is ideal for travellers seeking privacy, space, and the comforts of a home away from home.
Authentic Local Experiences: 9Flats emphasizes local experiences, allowing guests to live like a local and discover the charm of their chosen destination.
No Shared Accommodation: Less suited to solo travellers who might prefer budget-friendly shared accommodation or single-room stays.
9Flats covers most major destinations worldwide, allowing travellers to find vacation rentals in different cities, regions, and countries.
Landing is a platform specialising in long-term rentals, catering to travellers seeking extended stays and flexible rental options.
This is more targeted to full-time travellers compared to the other Airbnb alternatives that are mostly short-term rental sites.
Hello Landing is a great alternative if you are looking to fully immerse yourself on your next vacation, by basing yourself long-term in one place. Perfect for digital nomads or short-term nomads who want to try living in a new place for a while.
Their site boasts having more than 20,000 accommodation options in 375+ major cities like San Francisco, Birmingham, New York and Naples.
Landing also has a Standby Membership program where you can live where you want for $1,495 a month in fully furnished homes.
The catch is that once someone else books the place you’re staying, you need to move on to a different property within the membership selection within 3 days.
Ideal for Long-Term Travellers: Hello Landing is well-suited for travellers planning extended stays or digital nomads.
Flexible Rental Options: The platform offers various rental options, accommodating different durations and preferences for long-term travellers.
Standby Membership: Flat rate monthly fee and you only need to move on if someone else books the property you are staying in.
Not Suited To Short Stays: Hello Landing’s focus is on long-term stays and it may not be the best option for travellers seeking short-term stays.
Landing covers various locations in 375+ cities, particularly within the USA but with some locations elsewhere in the world such as Europe.
Trusted Housesitters is a platform that connects pet lovers with homeowners who need pet care while they are away.
It offers free accommodation to house sitters in exchange for taking care of the homeowner’s pets.
Trusted Housesitters is a great option for travellers who love pets and are willing to take on pet care responsibilities in exchange for free accommodation.
There is an annual membership fee to be part of the Trusted Housesitters network. This starts at $109 for basic membership for either a pet parent or a house sitter. They also have a combined option from $159 that allows you to stay and have sitters for your own pets.
It offers a unique and rewarding experience for animal lovers looking to explore new places while caring for adorable pets in various locations around the world.
It does mean it might not be the right choice for you if you have pets of your own that you travel with though.
Free Accommodation: House sitters receive free accommodation, making it a cost-effective option for travellers who love animals.
Unique Experience: Trusted Housesitters offers a unique experience, allowing you to live like locals and care for pets in different destinations.
Ideal for Pet Lovers: The platform is perfect for animal enthusiasts.
Pet Care Responsibilities: House sitters are responsible for pet care during their stay, which may not suit everyone.
Limited Availability: The availability of house-sitting opportunities depends on homeowners’ travel schedules and specific locations.
Yearly Service Fee: Annual membership is required to be part of Trusted Housesitters.
Trusted Housesitters operates in various locations worldwide, providing opportunities for house-sitting in different cities and regions, including USA, Europe, Australia and Canada to name a few.
Next time you’re looking for a hotel alternative for your vacation, one of these best Airbnb alternatives is sure to help you find the option for your stay. These rental platforms all cater to slightly different trips and travel styles, giving you far more options than the traditional hotel booking choices.
For us personally, we like Booking.com best as it combines hotels and homes all in one platform!