14 Airbnb Alternatives

Whether Airbnbs at your destination are booked solid, too expensive, or you’re just looking for Airbnb competitors to find something a little different, there’s plenty of options out there! Here’s 14 awesome Airbnb alternatives for renters and homeowners:

HomeAway and VRBO are part of the same company, albeit with slightly different websites.

Like Airbnb, both offer a variety of home and apartments for rent. VRBO seems to offer more search filters, but both have robust searches that allow you to find the exact property you’re looking for. They’re separate websites with separate offerings, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for on one, you might want to peruse the other as well.

Renters will like:

The huge variety of rentals and robust search filters.

Hosts will like:

A heavy traffic website, and the option to pay a fee for each booking, or pay a $400 flat yearly fee per property.

Flipkey is TripAdvisor’s home and apartment rental website, with a wide variety of properties listed by owners and property managers.

You’ll see everything from apartments to resorts all around the world, and there’s some fun options to narrow down your search, including yachts and cottages. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking for something slightly more upscale than the average Airbnb listing, making it a great Airbnb alternative.

Renters will like:

The wide variety and easy booking.

Hosts will like:

The exposure that comes with listing on such a large site, while maintaining a reasonable 3% fee.

If you don’t mind crashing on a local’s couch, Couchsurfing is a free and fun Airbnb alternative.

Couchsufing is a free site that connects you with locals willing to offer space in their homes to travelers. This can be anything from a private spare bedroom, to air mattress in the living room (but hosts specify what you’re getting in their listings).

Anyone can sign up, and anyone can list their home. Of course, you’re not guaranteed approval by hosts, so make sure you fill out your profile completely.

Both guests and hosts can pay a one-time fee of $20 to be verified, which helps to ensure that you are who you say, and increase trust for both hosts and guests. It’s easy and free to sign up, but if after browsing, you think you’d like to give Couchsurfing a try, it may be worth paying for verification.

Renters will like:

It’s free, and a great way to make new friends while staying like a local.

Hosts will like:

The chance to meet travelers from all over the world, and complete control over approval of guests.

Conde Nast Traveler recently called Love Home Swap “Airbnb for Grownups.”

If you’ve ever wished for friends around the world with awesome homes to stay at, Love Home Swap might be for you. Begun in the UK, the site now includes thousands of homes around the world.

Arranging a home swap is as simple as listing your home and finding other homeowners interested in swapping on the site. You can also swap for “points”, which gives you points redeemable for a later stay when you let another member stay at your home while you’re away.

Swaps are free, but you’ll have pay a monthly fee to be a member (be sure to take advantage of the free trial!).

Renters will like:

The flexible swapping system, and low price for accommodations–even with the monthly membership fee.

Hosts will like:

The review system keeps everyone accountable, and Love Home Swap offers 24/7 support.

Roomorama is fairly similar to Airbnb, in that they have a mix of individually owned and corporate properties. However, they let you narrow it down even further, choosing from rooms, apartments, houses, B&Bs, and hostels. The site is well designed, with easy, intuitive access to information.

With 80,000 properties listed around the world, they’re worth checking out for your next trip.

Renters will like:

The design is similar to Airbnb, with some cool extra features like ShoutOuts, which lets you send out an inquiry with your planned city, travel dates, and any details. Relevant hosts can then make you an offer.

Hosts will like:

A nice toolset of management features, including the ability to sync your property’s availability calendar with an external calendar like Google. In addition, the 3% payment processing fee is partially refundable for hosts with frequent bookings.

You probably know Booking.com as a hotel booking site, but they’ve also expanded to apartments, villas, and more.

Like Flipkey, there’s a wide variety of properties available around the world, on average more luxurious than Airbnb. You’ll also find a bunch of different property type options: Want to find a luxury tent in Bali? No problem.

Renters will like:

A ton of options to choose from, and the ability to see hotels and apartment rentals in the same search.

Hosts will like:

A huge audience for your listing, and 24/7 multilingual support.

Homestay is a cool option for those looking for a more authentic local experience.

Similar to booking a private room on Airbnb, you’ll be booking just one room in someone’s home. None of Homestay’s listings are vacant corporate properties, they’re all occupied homes. This means you’ll get a chance to connect with your host and learn about local culture. Hosts are encouraged to list their hobbies, help out with sightseeing suggestions, and more.

In addition to the standard amenity search filters, you can also search for a host who will cook for you!

Renters will like:

Low nightly rates (since you’re only renting a room), and a more immersive cultural experience.

Hosts will like:

The chance to rent out just a room in their home, and connect with travelers from around the world.

Kid & Coe offers high-end kid, friendly home and apartment rentals, all stunning and carefully curated.

There’s listings around the world, and each rental indicates what kid or baby friendly items are included, like cribs, high chairs, children’s dinnerware, baby monitors and more. Some also have luxury add-on options like a nanny or chef! It doesn’t stop at making sure the home is safe for kids either, as listings are in kid friendly neighborhoods.

If it’s in your budget, Kid & Coe is a great way for parents to book a gorgeous dream rental without worrying about how to accommodate kids.

Renters will like:

Hand-picked kid friendly rentals, and the option to do a home exchange with other property owners.

Hosts will like:

A niche market for high end rentals.

Wimdu is quite similar to Airbnb, with apartment and home rentals around the world, just on a smaller scale.

There’s a good number of search filters available to find what you want, and plenty of attractive, reasonably priced offerings.

Renters will like:

Similar to Airbnb, and another option to check for your travels.

Hosts will like:

Reasonable 3% commission.

BedyCasa is another website that focuses on homestays. Similar to renting a private room on Airbnb, you’ll get a private, affordable room in someone’s house.

Unlike Homestay.com, there’s also full apartments and homes you can rent, so it’s worth taking a look at if you’re not up for a homestay. Those who do want the perks that come with a homestay can search specifically for homestays, as well as amenities like a private bath, and hosts who will cook for you.

Renters will like:

No booking fees, a nice mix of homestay and private apartment options.

Hosts will like:

The chance to rent out just a room in their home, and connect with travelers from around the world.

For those looking for (or looking to rent out) high end accommodations with no hassle, One Fine Stay is a fantastic Airbnb alternative.

For renters, they offers perks like a local on-call team, and free iPhone to use during your stay. And for hosts, you can be hands-off, while One Fine Stay employees handle nearly every aspect of the booking and stay–they even bring their own towels and linens to your home, and clean up after renters leave!

Right now, One Fine Stay is available in London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, and Rome. Not a big list, but keeping it small means that there’s always a member of their team on the ground in the city ready to help with any hiccups during your stay.

Renters will like:

Perks you won’t get from other rental services, with no extra fees tacked on.

Hosts will like:

One Fine Stay handles most of the details for you; just let them know when your home will be available and they take care of communication with your guests, key handover, cleaning, and more.

You might have noticed that many vacation rental websites– Airbnb included– tack on some pretty large fees, for renters as well as hosts. Home Escape doesn’t charge any fees; instead they’re ad supported and plan to charge for extra services for hosts.

The site is easy to navigate with quite a few search filters, and while they’re not huge yet (we counted just 19 listings in London), they should grow quickly with no fees, and they’re a good first stop before heading to a site that will tack on a 12% booking fee.

Renters will like:

No booking fees, and easy to use site that’s similar to Airbnb.

Hosts will like:

No fees, period, and you’re paid directly by the renter.

Another website that’s very much like Airbnb, right down to the design, 9Flats has a great variety of listings around the world.

We love the huge number of search filters, with all the usual amenity choices, plus options like airport transfers, free parking, and gay friendly hosts.

Renters will like:

No booking fees, and a wealth of search filters, including gay friendly accommodations.

Hosts will like:

The website allows for video uploads to listings, which is sure to result in more bookings for those who take the time to shoot a video. You also have the option to accept cash payment from guests on arrival.

Casamundo is primarily focused on Europe, though you’ll find some vacation homes and apartments in the USA as well. There’s a nice variety of properties, and the standard search filters are there, along with some that everyone should adopt, like distance to water or ski resorts.

Renters will like:

No booking fees, and ease of finding holiday accommodations.

Hosts will like:

The full rental amount is paid to hosts before guests arrive.

It’s an unconventional alternative to Airbnb, but have you thought about housesitting? 

The obvious advantage to housesitting is that it’s free! You get to stay in someone’s home and live like a local at no cost other than your plane ticket. You’re also likely to have the companionship of a furry friend, as many homeowners are looking for housesitters who will take care of their pets while they’re gone.

The downside of housesitting is that good housesits can be competitive, and you don’t get to pick the dates. Sure, you can screen for dates that are approximately when you’d like to take a trip, but ultimately it depends on when a homeowner needs a housesitter.

SAVE $40 AT AIRBNB

New to Airbnb? CLICK HERE to sign up and get $40 off your first stay!

Vacation Rental Booking & Listing Fees Comparison

Compare the fees of Airbnb with their competitors. We’ve broken down the fees for guests and hosts, so you can choose the site that gives you the best deal!

(Note that in addition to standard booking fees, some rentals may require security deposits, cleaning fees, or other additional charges.)

SiteRenters FeesHost FeesListing Fees
Airbnb6-12%3%Free
Roomorama12-15%3% (partially refundable for frequent renters and good customer service)Free
HomeAway / VRBO4-10%, up to $4998-10%, or an annual fee (for each property) starting at $399Free
Flipkey8-14.5%3%Free (or hosts can pay an annual fee to receive guest payments directly)
Booking.comFree15%Free
CouchsurfingFree (but we recommend paying the one-time $20 verification fee)Free (but we recommend paying the one-time $20 verification fee)N/A
OneFineStayFreeFree (OneFineStay will work with the host to determine an acceptable nightly rate, then add their cut on top of that in the final listing price)Free
Homestay.comFree15%Free
Wimdu15%3%Free
BedyCasaFree15%Free
HomeEscapeFreeFreeFree
9Flats.comFree12-15%Free
CasamundoFree12%Free
Kid & Coe3-15%5-12%Free
Love Home SwapFreeFreeAll users pay a monthly membership fee ranging from $20-$68

FAQs

Why use one of these rental sites instead of Airbnb? 

Really, it’s a matter of personal preference and needs. We think that overall, Airbnb actually has a nice range of rentals, from bargain stays to luxury homes. But there may be other reasons–like fees– for guests and hosts to choose another rental site.

We’ve tried to offer a good balance of value focused and higher ends rental sites in this list, and to break down the pros and cons of each.

The comparison chart above is worth taking a look at, as some sites tack on substantial fees even for renters. Flipkey, for example, is a good deal for hosts with just 3% fees, but charges guests up to 14.5% booking fees on top of the nightly rate. Booking.com on the other hand, doesn’t charge booking fees, but hosts will pay a weighty 15% fee on earnings.

At 6-12%, Airbnb’s booking fees can quickly add up, so it doesn’t hurt to see what’s available on other sites that don’t charge fees to renters.

What’s the best Airbnb alternative in the USA? Or in Europe? 

All of the sites listed here are great alternatives to Airbnb, but some are more focused on a particular corner of the world.

For the US, we like Homeaway and Booking.com, while Roomorama and 9Flats have a nice selection in Europe. While there’s plenty of high end rental sites, and Couchsurfing is an option for the budget conscious, Airbnb is probably still the best place to find middle of the road accommodations in the US.

If you’re on a budget, you might look into housesitting as well. The best housesits can be competitive, and you may have the responsibility of caring for the homeowner’s pets while they’re gone– but you can’t beat free accommodations!

Are Airbnb and other vacation rentals legal? 

With some cities moving to restrict and even outlaw Airbnb style rentals, guests and hosts alike may worry about staying on the right side of the law.

Many of the local laws are concerned with apartments that are continuously rented out, rather than the host who occasionally rents a room in the apartment they live in. This is in part because those dedicated vacation rentals eat up housing stock in cities like NYC where affordable housing is already difficult for locals to find. And, if we’re being honest, a portion of the Airbnb pushback seems to be coming from hotels who aren’t happy about the competition.

While Airbnb and other rental sites should prevent strictly illegal listings, sometimes it’s not quite that simple. I stayed in a wonderful Airbnb in Tokyo back in 2014, and was discomfited to read recently that Airbnbs may finally be legal soon in Japan! It seems that they previously operated in a complex legal gray area, or were outright illegal, depending on the rental type.

We won’t go into specific cities here, since regulations are always changing. However, hosts should always check with their city and state for any restrictions before advertising their home. Airbnb offers some assistance determining and staying in line with local laws here, and here.

Guests are far less likely to get into legal trouble, but the worst case scenario of being denied lodging at the last minute, or kicked out of your rental mid-trip could still be disastrous for your vacation. It doesn’t hurt to do some research to make sure rentals like Airbnb are legal in your destination city.

How Can I Stay Safe on Airbnb? 

You’ve probably read at least one of the much hyped Airbnb horror stories, and we don’t want to deny that things can go very wrong for hosts, as well as guests. But these experiences are the minority, and even hotels aren’t always as safe as you might think. Key cards are notoriously insecure, and all it takes is one poorly trained staff member to give out the wrong room key.

When renting on Airbnb or any other site, use common sense and read the host’s–or guest’s–reviews. If something looks too good to be true (incredibly cheap even for the local economy, etc), it probably is.

Guests may also be safer and more comfortable staying in a dedicated vacation rental rather than a room in someone’s home. Search for “entire home” on Airbnb, or take a look at listings on one of the sites that only lists entire homes or apartments like Flipkey or Kid & Coe. Personally, I don’t enjoy staying with someone I don’t know, so I stay away from bed and breakfast type accommodations, and happily pay a little more for complete privacy.

Hosts have a number of ways to weed out bad guests, including setting a high security deposit, and turning off the “Instant Book” setting, so they can screen guests before allowing a booking. You may also want to consider getting a smart lock, so you can hand guests a changeable entry code, rather than your house keys.

It’s also important to check your homeowner’s insurance policy to be sure that possible damage from renters will be covered. Chances are, you’ll need to add coverage for this.

Some suggest going so far as to run a background check on your potential guest or host, but we think if you’re that uncomfortable, you should probably just stick with a hotel.

Overall, go with your gut, and don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable to save–or make– a couple bucks.

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14 Airbnb Alternatives

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