When searching for an Airbnb alternative, it’s hard to know which sites to trust. These six Airbnb competitors will help you find the perfect rental on your next trip or vacation.
With sites like Airbnb and Uber dominating headlines in recent years, the very nature of travel is in the early stages of reform. Gone are the days of hotels and hostels serving as our only options for accommodation.
With the advent of home rental booking sites, renting a room or a property straight from another person can save you a sizeable amount of cash, and you might even be helping the host to pay their bills in the process.
Often you’ll get a relaxed homely feel with a complete set of amenities, and if you’re traveling abroad and renting a room from a local family, you might get a slice of cultural immersion, with a chance to stay in an authentic neighborhood.
That all being said, by using some of these Airbnb alternatives, not only can you find rooms and apartments, but you can actually stay at timeshares and resorts at a fraction of the price.
There are many competitors for sites like Airbnb, which makes it hard to know which ones to use and when. Every apartment and spare room has the potential to serve as a boutique hotel, and there are some top-notch alternatives to booking home and vacation rentals that you might not know about.
1. Roomorama for Medium-Term Stays
Rather than spending a couple of nights in a city and moving on, I often like to stay for a couple of weeks and really explore an area. Roomorama specializes in exactly that. Since you’re booking for a longer term, you often get a better price (it’s like buying in bulk), and you’ll tend to find places for rent with amenities that are more sustainable for a longer term.
Despite providing some options to rent single rooms and even hostels, Roomorama really shines when it comes to furnished apartments and houses, which is kind of ironic given its name. Primarily focusing on short to medium-term stays in apartments, villas, beach houses and condos, you won’t have to share a living space, but your host is never too far away.
For couples, small groups, and even flying solo, it’s a great option. The average rental period is 11 nights so you can see the specific appeal.
2. SellMyTimeshareNow for Affordable Resort Stays
The term “timeshare” can often come with a bad rap, but I’ve recently realized that it doesn’t have to. If you’re looking for a last minute rental at a luxury resort, the best way to get a good deal is to rent a unit from someone who owns a timeshare.
SellMyTimeshareNow provides a marketplace for timeshare owners to rent their units out, often saving renters like us up to 70% on a stay. What would normally cost $500/night on the retail market might only cost about $100/night (or less) when rented straight from an individual owner.
If renting isn’t your game, and if you tend to travel on a more regulated schedule (i.e. one or four weeks of travel per year), owning a timeshare is actually a great choice. It’s like having a second home in the tropics, without the price tag of owning a second home in the tropics.
And if you’re not ready to drop $10k on a brand new one direct from the resort (I’m definitely not), you can buy a timeshare on the resale market, literally saving yourself thousands of dollars. Their online database offers spacious suites, villas, and chalets at some of the world’s most popular brands such as Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton, and so many more.
3. Flipkey for Small Group Bookings
Flipkey offers an abundance of vacation home rentals around the world, and since their parent company is TripAdvisor, it seamlessly integrates with their encyclopedia of real user reviews. With such a comprehensive set of data on every property in their database, so you can filter your results by the type of amenity you’re looking for. Jacuzzi anyone?
Though there are plenty of options available on the site for single travelers, Flipkey excels at group bookings in popular tourist destinations. The large majority of their properties are vacation rentals and holiday homes which fit four, five, six or more people. You may not get that homely feel, and you may not get insight from a local host, but if you’re traveling in a larger group, that’s not always very important anyway.
4. HomeAway for Holiday Homes
HomeAway is the more refined, older brother of Airbnb. You’ll find more polished listings for holiday homes on HomeAway, which are targeted to a slightly older crowd. The hosts tend to be professionals who list for a living, so if you’re looking for a higher standard of rental and you’re willing to pay for it, Homeaway is an obvious choice.
Properties like this are perfect for older couples, families, and larger groups who are looking to enjoy the comforts of an entire home. If I were on a ski trip in Aspen with a group of buddies, I know exactly where I’d look first. HomeAway also owns a few other Airbnb alternatives, like VRBO which is essentially the same but offers a slightly different inventory of properties. If you’re traveling in Asia, use their geo-targeted site, TravelMob, for similar bookings.
5. Booking.com for Apartment Rentals
Booking.com has long been the standard for booking hotels online, and now you can book apartments and vacation rentals with their same easy-to-use (and easy-to-book) interface. That also means you won’t have much interaction with the host, though, so what you’ll get is an apartment with the booking and check-in process of a hotel.
When searching for places to stay on their site, their filtering system proves to be one of the best on the market, which means your search results can be refined to show exactly the type of place that you need. Plus, because they have such a high inventory of properties, the competition is fierce, which means you get better properties at better prices.
6. onefinestay for Luxury “Unhotels”
onefinestay is the opposite of every other Airbnb competitor on this list. Offering upscale accommodation options in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Rome, onefinestay thoroughly vets their hosts by staying in every property, and they only list the creme of the crop on their site.
onefinestay calls their curated collection of homes “unhotels,” a fitting name that accurately represents their properties. Location is a determining factor for each one, and the owners aren’t allowed to be home during your stay. You’ll never have to share and you’ll always have the place to yourself!
If you’re like me, you owe it to yourself to experience alternative forms of accommodation! Life is too short, and it’s important to broaden your horizons when it comes to travel and choosing where you’re going to stay.
There are more than a few websites like Airbnb, and they all prove to be useful in their own special way, depending on what you’re looking for. Knowing which one to use and when is one of the most important things to remember before you start your search for accommodation.