Airbnb has reformatted the concept of traveling and accommodation and if you’re a travel aficionado, chances are, you’ve used Airbnb at least once in your life. If anything, you’ve certainly scrolled curiously through all of the available listings and checked for available dates even if you had no intention of traveling. We’ve all been there, it’s alright.
No judgment here, because it’s true what they say, Airbnb truly revolutionized private accommodation. On the site, you can find anything your heart desires, from luxurious and quirky accommodations to budget-friendly and luxury residences – the possibilities are endless. However, due to the enormous success, Airbnb has enjoyed ever since 2012, the prices and accommodation fees have increased, and most often than not, properties are best booked months in advance.
For travelers, renters, and citizens of the world eager to find something different other than what is currently offered, know that Airbnb is not the only viable option at hand. Before your travel thrill gets the best of you, let’s look at the Airbnb alternatives that offer a new way to rent, stay in, and enjoy thousands of delightful properties worldwide.
Here’s what’s trending in the world of accommodation in 2021.
Why Choose an Airbnb Alternative?
Airbnb is a great place for finding hidden lodges in the woods or luxurious apartments in the heart of capital cities, but it never hurts to have a few alternatives to Airbnb in mind. Given the growing listings available on Airbnb and the subsequent interest, most of the time, the lodgings you’re interested in are booked months in advance. That, coupled with the growing prices and fees, is sure to urge one to look for other budget-friendly stay-ins.
Sometimes, you might need a break from the standard apartment and vacation home, but you still don’t want to stay at a hotel. That’s where Airbnb alternatives come in handy.
You could travel the countryside with an RV, or a camper, or even stay in a treehouse under the starry night. Believe it or not, there are many sites that offer just the kind of break you need. Without any further ado, here is a list of the best alternatives for Airbnb for 2021!
When thinking about booking hotel rooms, the first thing that comes to mind is undoubtedly Booking.com. But, other than hotels and alike, Booking.com has recently added the option to book apartments around the world. Using the same booking process that you know and love, you’ll be able to book the perfect apartment at any corner of the world, and at a much more affordable price.
As the booking process is similar to that of a hotel, interacting with your host is driven to a minimum. However, if minimal interaction is what you wanted in the first place, then Booking.com is one of the top alternatives to Airbnb for you. The site makes it super easy to filter through all available lodgings and find exactly what you need and where you need it. And because the competition is higher than ever, Booking’s accommodation options are aplenty and come at favorable prices that meet anyone’s budget.
Sonder is like the perfect mix of affordable rentals and hotel experience. All listings on Sonder are private luxurious apartments that you can book through their user-friendly app. You won’t have to share your apartment with the owners or even interact with them, as check-in is also done through the app.
To truly feel like you’re in a hotel, you can even request a fresh change of sheets or a new set of toiletries via the Sonder app. Want to find the perfect restaurant for dinner? Just ask the owner for recommendations – and do it all through their app!
If you’re the outdoorsy type and prefer to spend your nights under the starry sky, then HipCamp is one of the best Airbnb alternatives you can get. Essentially, HipCamp is the Airbnb for campers and here, you can book tents, RVs, cabins, and even treehouses. What’s more, their search filter is a dream! You can scroll through listings based on location, amenities, nearby activities, and to-see landscapes. It’s the perfect site for nature lovers looking for a real break from the chaotic city life and stuffy apartments.
As a superb Airbnb alternative, Homestay is true to its name and it really allows you to stay at a host’s home. This way, you can enjoy the true local experience of staying with a local host. All of the homestay listings come with a complimentary breakfast, so you can dive into some amazing local food and, well, have one less meal of the day to worry about.
The only downside about Homestay, when compared to Airbnb, is the number of properties available, which is significantly less than that of its competitor. Therefore, you can expect fewer options in some cities and none in others. The site is growing slowly yet surely, however, so some expansion is likely due in the years to come. All in all, if you’re looking for a true hosted experience, Homestay is one of the near-perfect Airbnb alternatives.
Free accommodation and the ideal Airbnb alternative – doesn’t it all have a ring to it?
If it rings the right bell for you as well, know the concept is not too good to be actually true. In fact, TrustedHousesitters will help you get in touch with homeowners who need someone to look after their place for a period of time while they’re away. Sometimes, this includes looking after pets as well. So you get free accommodation and the chance to hang out with a furry friend – does it get any better than that? No.
TrustedHousesitters does have a membership fee that’s $10.75 a month, or $129 annually. The fees unlock unlimited housesits and provide other perks, like insurance and a 24/7 Vet Line. The cost sounds salty at first glance, but imagine the number of free homestays you can get, and in a variety of different cities and houses. You can find yourself at a farm and tend to chickens and goats, or settle into a fancy apartment in one of Europe’s capitals. Both you and the homeowners will go through a security process before an arrangement is concluded, so both sides can be sure of their safety.
If you’ve used Airbnb before, then you’ve sure used Vrbo as an Airbnb alternative. Short for Vacation Rental By Owner, Vrbo is among the most popular Airbnb competitors. Unlike most of the options here on this list, Vrbo boasts quite the selection, with over 2 million properties listed. In fact, Vrbo has been around for more than a decade before Airbnb launched!
The slight difference between the two competitors is that Vrbo has bigger properties with more amenities, which makes them ideal for family or group vacations. Navigating through Vrbo is a breeze, especially if you’ve already used Airbnb, as the steps are quite similar. What’s best about Vrbo is the fact that customer support is superior to that of Airbnb, and if you’ve relied on the latter, you know how frustrating interacting can be.
FlipKey is a company owned by TripAdvisor so they’ve managed to seamlessly integrate the two into one comprehensive website, where you can find the perfect rental and read property descriptions and user reviews. With FlipKey, you’ll find vacation rentals all around the world, or in 179 countries to be more specific.
Like Vrbo, FlipKey has bigger properties that are ideal for group and family vacations. While they do have smaller properties for singles and pairs, the selection for more spacious accommodation is superior. It doesn’t have the homely feel or the local host experience, but if you’re traveling with a larger group of friends, it doesn’t really matter.
Not to be confused with FlipKey, TurnKey is a newer addition to the list of Airbnb competitors. What truly separates it from the rest, and Airbnb specifically, is their unique way of entering any of their rentals. Instead of a key, the doors unlock with a code that you receive from the app. This eliminates the possibility of losing a key, and the awkward key exchanges when you need to hunt the host down to receive or return the key.
Additionally, on the TurnKey app, you’ll be able to find anything and everything about the place you’re visiting; from restaurants to places to visit and available entertainment. Currently TurnKey has listings only in the United States, however, they’ve announced their plans for branching out into other continents soon so be on the lookout.
Agoda is arguably the best online travel agency in Asia, providing travelers with great deals on hotels, apartments, and other travel arrangements. Agoda Homes has entire apartments and homes listed by their respective homeowners. Other than the check-in-check-out arrangement, your interaction with the host is minimal.
What’s unique about the platform is that you can get 12% off if you’re traveling alone. Just select the solo traveler option and enjoy an additional 12% off on all of the properties listed. And you’d think there wasn’t a good enough reason to stay single!
Tripping is like a search engine that has quite the selection of rentals with over 8 million properties in over 150,000 destinations. They’ve partnered with giants like Booking.com, Vrbo, FlipKey, Wimdu, and many more and are able to bring all of the properties together in one place.
You can search through rentals based on location, price, amenities, accommodation types, and even distance to water and the beach. Tripping is your one-stop shop for different kinds of rentals and with such a high number of available lodgings – it’s highly unlikely that you won’t find the perfect one.
You’re surely familiar with TripAdvisor and you’ve surely relied on their reviews before deciding to stay somewhere. If you’ve trusted them with their reviews before, then you will for sure trust them with their choice of available rentals. TripAdvisor has over 800,000 properties listed in 200 countries around the world.
In addition to that, like most TripAdvisor-owned sites, you’ll be able to find reviews, recommendations of things to do, restaurants, and even book flights – all in one place. This is one of the reasons why TripAdvisor is one of the best Airbnb alternatives as you have everything you need for the perfect getaway – and a click away!
As the name suggests, the Sabbatical Homes website is made for the academic community. Here you can find properties to rent, swap or housesit while the owners, or you, are on sabbatical. It’s a very basic but also an ad-free website which makes finding the perfect place a breeze.
Sabbatical Homes charges homeowners an annual fee for their listings and a smaller $50 fee when they’ve found their ‘match’. Those searching for a property don’t have the annual fee but still have to pay the $50 match fee. You’ll be able to see and talk to your potential hosts, as such meetings are arranged for finding the most suitable housing.
If you need to live in someone’s home for a longer period, you’ll probably want to know the owner, right?
Wimdu has over 350,000 properties worldwide, with its strongest game operating in Europe. It’s a worthy Airbnb competitor with listings ranging from a single room to entire villas. Scrolling through listings is very easy, with many helpful filters for narrowing down your search, whilst the booking itself requires just a few clicks. Instead of opting for world domination as Airbnb, Wimdu has opted for the European slice of the rental pie, so you can be sure you’ll find the best properties across the entire continent.
If you’re looking to find the perfect vacation rental in Europe, then Casamundo is the name to remember. Founded back in 2003, Casamundo is truly the world of houses, with over 400,000 rentals to choose from. It’s widely known for its exceptional customer service and personalized selection of vacation rentals that they send to make your choices easier and just as elegant.
HomeToGo is a search engine similar to Tripping. It’s an aggregate of over 18 million property listing in over 200 countries. It’s hard to characterize it as an Airbnb alternative as it offers listings from Airbnb as well, in addition to Booking.com, Vrbo, TripAdvisor, and more.
If you want to compare listings and find everything you might need in one place, then a search engine like HomeToGo is a great choice. Everything you need is just a few clicks away as the website is user-friendly and extremely intuitive, so you’ll find your dream vacay rental in a heartbeat.
Vacasa is not exactly a peer-to-peer rental, however, there are over 25,000 properties around the world that you find here. It’s one of the ultimate alternatives to Airbnb, because their selection is a stellar one, albeit smaller than most, and because Vacasa pays employees to take care of the vacation houses and clean them. So, not only will you be entering a clean vacay house, ready for your enjoyment, Vacasa also pays workers at least $15 an hour as part of their fair wage initiative. The prices are great, workers are satisfied and the selection is great. What more do you need?
Outdoorsy, as the name probably gives it away, is ideal for anyone who loves the outdoors. You can rent an RV or a Campervan and go on an adventure across the country. It’s like the Airbnb of RV’s and it has over 14 million rentals to choose from. Modern campers, luxury airstreams, or a vintage chieftain, the choice is yours.
Outdoorsy, just like any rental site has its own review system, so you can see what others have to say about the RV or Campervan you’re looking at. It’s a great Airbnb competitor, not only to Airbnb but also to traditional apartments and hotel rooms.
Plum Guide is perhaps the best of Airbnb alternatives. They pride themselves on the gruesome selection process that rent owners go through before they get added to the site. This means that the place that you end up with, is ultimately going to be one that absolutely meets Plum Guide’s high standards. And aside from their high standard properties, their customer service is also nothing short of exceptional. You won’t have to worry about fake reviews either, as homeowners get rejected if they do not comply with the terms of the agreement.
Luxury Retreats was acquired by Airbnb in 2017, but we can still consider it among the most suitable Airbnb alternatives. It’s a combination of the user-friendly site of Airbnb and the extravagance and luxury of villas and cabins. Here you can find over 4,000 luxury properties in over 100 worldwide destinations. It’s perfect for finding a luxurious beachfront villa for a romantic getaway or corporate events.
You can also search the platform for luxury rentals in exotic and popular destinations, like the Caribbean, South Africa, New Zealand, South America, and others. Luxury Retreats comes with a personal 24/7 concierge and full guest service, so you can feel like true royalty in your luxurious villa.
If you’re fascinated by great architectural designs and would like to stay in an architectural gem, then BoutiqueHomes is just the place for you. All of the listings at the site are invitation-only and feature some truly unique and breathtaking properties. What’s more, the site features beautiful event venues, with equally stunning designs. While there aren’t as many listings as other sites, the beautiful photos and catchy descriptions certainly make up for it.
Kid and Coe
When it comes to vacationing with kids, finding the right place is always a struggle, especially with hotel rooms being pricey and rentals not having the right amenities or proper entertainment. Kid and Coe has the perfect solution for that, with a focus on children-friendly amenities. All of the listings provide detailed descriptions of everything available; from the most basic info like room size and capacity to toys and baby gear. The properties do come at a slightly higher price than other places, but at least you’ll be certain that your kids will enjoy their vacation. And if they do – you will too!
Last but not least, let’s look at Couchsurfing. We can’t really say it’s an Airbnb competitor as it is free, but it surely is one of the finest Airbnb alternatives to know. Similar to TrustedHousitters, Couchsurfing connects people who request and offer stays. You’ll be able to sleep at a stranger’s home basically for free and even help a traveler out by opening your home doors. It’s one of the most intriguing Airbnb alternatives, especially for adventurous and altruistic travelers. One thing to keep in mind is that it might not be the safest option and you’ll most often than not find yourself sleeping on uncomfortable couches or living room floors. But if you’re a fearless, adventure-seeking traveler then you’ll definitely love it!
To sum it up…
Gone are the days when traveling abroad was way too expensive and reserved only for the rich. With peer-to-peer rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo, the vacation game changed drastically. And although Airbnb does a great job at it already, it never hurts to look elsewhere for solutions and affordable deals.
There are many Airbnb alternatives that can offer better prices, more amenities, or different options, like tents and RVs, or – who would have thought it – even housesitting for strangers across the world. The list above shows a summary of currently the best Airbnb alternatives that will sure make planning your next trip significantly easier and more pleasant. With that being said, head on over to one of these websites and book your next vacation. After a year like this one, you most certainly deserve it!