Sites Like Airbnb for Your 2019 Travels

Whether Airbnbs at your destination are booked solid, too expensive, or you’re just looking for Airbnb competitors to find something a little different, you have more options than you might know! Here’s our definitive list of reputable Airbnb alternatives for renters and homeowners, updated for 2019.

Did you know some vacation rental sites charge fees of up to 15%?

Booking.com, for example, is great for renters because they don’t charge a booking fee, but a bit pricey for hosts at a 15% cut.

Scroll to the bottom our Vacation Rental Fees Comparison Chart to compare all fees for renters and homeowners.

Editor’s Picks: Worldwide Vacation Rental Sites

Worldwide Vacation Rental Sites

Booking.com

Booking.com

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

You can choose from properties available around the world, on average more luxurious than Airbnb. You’ll also find a bunch of different property type options: Looking for a luxury tent in Bali? Or a love hotel in Japan? No problem. Booking.com (along with other sites that offer luxury rentals) is great for groups, as it’s easier to find large houses that can accommodate your party.

Renters will like:

No booking fees for renters! There’s also a ton of property types and filter options to choose from, and the ability to see hotels and apartment rentals in the same search. When it comes to searching for the perfect stay, Booking.com is better than Airbnb, no contest.

Hosts will like:

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


VRBO

VRBO is a large vacation rental site with a surprising variety of rentals.

You might think of VRBO and its sister site Homeaway as corporate and luxury focused, but it’s not difficult to find budget friendly accommodations, even in international cities. And don’t be fooled by the focus on US properties in their homepage– there’s actually plenty to choose from around the world.

Renters will like:

The huge variety of rentals and robust search filters (see why they’re one of our favorites for pet friendly rentals) There’s also a really cool feature on VRBO called Trip Boards that allows you to create lists of potential rentals for a group or family vacation. Your co-travelers can then comment and vote on which rental to choose, making the process super easy.

Hosts will like:

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


HomeAway

Homeaway

HomeAway and VRBO are sister sites, with slightly different interfaces and listings.

Like Airbnb, both offer homes and apartments in countries around the world. 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 sites with separate offerings, so if you don’t find the accommodations 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 fees for individual bookings, or pay a $400 flat yearly fee per property.



Flipkey / TripAdvisor Rentals

Flipkey Vacation Rentals

Flipkey is a popular home and apartment rental platform owned by TripAdvisor, with a wide variety of properties listed by owners and property managers. However, TripAdvisor recently launched a dedicated TripAdvisor Rentals website. Both are worth taking a look at!

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 huge number of choices and easy booking.

Hosts will like:

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


Remember Hotels? 

Yeah, we get it, if you’re looking for an Airbnb, standard hotels may not offer the amenities you’d prefer, like a kitchen or washer and dryer.

However, we think there’s a couple big reasons to re-consider hotel stays:

First, short term rentals are increasingly of shaky legality, or outright illegal in many cities or neighborhoods. Airbnb, and many other platforms, can’t or won’t police every rental. You know what you don’t need to worry about with hotels? Getting kicked out mid-trip because it’s not legal lodging.

Second, the price savings just isn’t there any longer– with all the platform fees, cleaning fees and large city-imposed taxes, Airbnb type rentals are often more expensive than hotels now. Of course, this depends on the market, but I usually check both hotels and vacation rentals before I book in any new location. 


Home Escape

Free Airbnb Competitor Home Escape

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, and they’re a good first stop before heading to a site that will tack on a 12% booking charge.

Renters will like:

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

Hosts will like:

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


European Airbnb Alternatives

European Airbnb Alternatives
Did you know that many vacation rental sites are subsidiaries of larger sites?

For example, Booking.com maintains a European specific site called GoWithOh–but you’re actually re-directed to Booking.com to complete the booking.

Similarly, many homes are available on multiple sites. It can pay to check around for the lowest fees before you book.

BedyCasa

Bedycasa

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. Those who do want the perks that come with a homestay can search specifically for them, 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.


9Flats

9Flats

Another website that’s very much like Airbnb, right down to the design, 9Flats has choices 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 hosts.

Hosts will like:

The website allows for video uploads to listings, which may provide an advantage for those who take the time to shoot a video. You also have the option to accept cash payment from guests on arrival.


Casamundo

Casamundo holiday rentals in europe

Casamundo is primarily focused on Europe and the UK, 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 accommodation.

Hosts will like:

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


Boutique Vacation Rental Sites

Boutique Vacation Rental Sites

Love Home Swap

Airbnb Competitor Love Home Swap

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 share, Love Home Swap might be for you. Begun in the UK, the site now includes thousands of houses and apartments in countries 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.


TurnKey Vacation Rentals

TurnKey provides professional management for vacation rentals, with a curated selection in destinations across the US.

Turnkey’s professional management means you don’t need to filter for properties with basic amenities, and there’s no unpleasant surprises waiting for you. Every one of their rentals includes professional cleaning, hotel quality linens, toiletries, Wi-Fi, keyless entry, and 24/7 local support.

Renters will like:

The reliability and consistent quality of professionally managed rentals, along with a great selection in popular US cities.

Hosts will like:

Hassle free management of your vacation rental, and TurnKey’s revenue guarantee.


Kid & Coe

Kid and Coe: Kid friendly vacation homes

Kid & Coe offers high-end, kid friendly house and apartment rentals, all stunning and carefully curated. If you gravitate towards the luxury listings on Airbnb, but wish it wasn’t so difficult to find listings with things like high chairs, this is the website for you. 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 property 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.


Plans Matter

Plans Matter is an upscale, curated site with a focus on incredible design.

The site for “architectural vacation rentals” features a small selection of stunning properties around the world. They’re on the higher end, but the prices aren’t completely out of reach– similar to what you’d pay for a nicer rental on Airbnb.

Renters will like:

A curated list of gorgeous homes, no duds here!

Hosts will like:

Great exposure on an elite site, and the option to have Plans Matter manage the rental setup and booking–or you can choose to have your property simply “linked”, so that you handle the booking yourself.


Stay Alfred

Stay Alfred is part of the growing trend of boutique Airbnb style apartments owned or sublet entirely by the company.

The model works like a cross between Airbnbs and hotels–you might not even see Stay Alfred employees if you don’t want to, but customer service is available by phone to help work out any kinks.

Their tastefully decorated (read: not hyper trendy), homey apartments all feature a full kitchen, washer and dryer, a downtown location, along with special amenities like rooftop pools that vary from building to building.

Stay Alfred is great for leisure and business travelers alike, because the consistency and professional management make for a super smooth experience. And the very curated selection means no stressing over location–all apartments are in “vibrant, walkable downtown neighborhoods.”


Sonder

Sonder aims to recreate that immaculately decorated Airbnb you’re lusting over, with the quality you’d expect in a boutique hotel stay.

Lack of consistency is a big downfall of Airbnbs, and Sonder is one of the latest startups aiming to compete by changing that. Their listings only include apartments that they lease directly from landlords, then furnish and maintain.

With gorgeous apartments dotting major US and several European cities, they’re one to keep an eye on. Amenities vary, but they promise that each rental is in an “amazing location.”


Quirky & Unique Airbnb Alternatives

Quirky and Unique Airbnb Alternatives

RVshare

RVshare is a unique Airbnb alternative for travel in the US, offering RV rentals.

Browse their site and choose the perfect RV for your next trip, from sleek Airstreams, to behemoths with all the conveniences of home. With RV rentals available in every US state, arranging a road trip is easy. Renters can search for the RV size they’re comfortable driving–or arrange to have the RV delivered to their campsite! We love that they offer this for those who aren’t comfortable driving an RV.

Be sure to check out their comprehensive National Parks guide, with detailed info on getting to, and RV camping at each park.

Renters will like:

The fantastic support that comes with each rental, including roadside assistance, and insurance that covers both parties. Also, that delivery option just might seal the deal.

Hosts will like:

A hassle free way to profit from an RV you’re not currently using, with a trusted third party handling the renter screening and insurance.


Housesitting

Trusted Housesitters

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

The obvious advantage to housesitting is that it’s free! It’s popular among travel bloggers and digital nomads because 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 people 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.


Outdoorsy

Similar to RVshare, Outdoorsy is a platform for RV rentals, with availability across the United States.

We especially love the varied RV and camper options available, as well as the robust search filters. Looking for a camper that’s Burning Man friendly? There’s a category for that! In the vibe of their website, and the loads of cute campers listed, Outdoorsy feels quite similar to Airbnb.

Outdoorsy offers 1 million dollars insurance protection for both owner and renter, and 24/7 customer service via chat, phone or email. They’re also got some pretty awesome National Park guides with all the info you need to know about visiting with an RV, like maximum trailer length, availability of water and electric hookup, and much more.

Renters will like:

A huge variety of campers and RVs, from cute and quirky, to modern and family friendly. They’re also got a great referral program that will earn you site credit for referring friends to rent an RV or list their RV.

Hosts will like:

A trusted, hassle free way to rent out an RV or camper that’s currently sitting unused. Insurance, customer service, and DMV checks ensure that renters will be careful with your property, but you always have control over accepting bookings.


Selina

Selina is a vacation rental site with a focus on millennial travelers.

Not only do they offer design focused apartments and homes, they also have co-working space for digital nomads, package stays with activities, and even a wellness retreat location in Costa Rica. We love that they offer teaching and other volunteer opportunities, so that travelers can give back to the communities they’re visiting.

Selina has locations throughout South America, and Mexico, along with a handful in Europe. They own or sublet the spaces they’re offering, so there’s no opportunities for hosting on this platform, but guests can expect more consistency. Selina seems to frequently rent out entire buildings or floors, so you’ll find a wide variety of available rooms, from suites to shared hostel-style dorms, and communal rooms for socializing.


Hipcamp

Hipcamp specializes in campsites, rustic cabins and glamping.

There’s an incredible variety of rentals on Hipcamp, from rural Ohio, to coastal California. You can filter by nearby activities and geographical features like forests and swimming holes, as well as considerations like pet friendliness.

Campers will like:

A site especially for those who are something a little more rustic, and so many listings you won’t find anywhere else.

Hosts will like:

A place to list your land, even if you don’t run a formal campground. Hipcamp is a great way to earn extra money from the natural beauty of your property–without opening yourself up to the obligation of year-round rentals.


Luxury Vacation Rental Sites

Luxury Airbnb Alternatives

Luxury Rentals by Homeaway

Vacation rental site Homeaway has a luxury specific sub-site where you can browse their most luxurious properties.

Rentals are available worldwide, with country mansions, city penthouses, and dreamy seaside villas, but you’ll find the highest concentration in the United States. Because they’re part of VRBO, you can also take advantage of the Trip Boards feature to easily create and share lists of potential rentals that your group can comment and vote on.

Windows on Italy

Windows on Italy, as the name implies, specializes in Italian properties.

While there are some moderately priced rentals available, the site has a bent towards luxury, with sections for castles, villas with pools, and more. Windows on Italy doesn’t lay out their rental structure, but it’s clear that not just anyone can get their property listed on the site–in fact there’s no info at all about listing your property. Property owners should contact them directly if interested, but renters can rest assured that the selection is highly curated.


OneFineStay

OneFineStay luxury vacation rental website

For those looking for (or looking to rent out) high end accommodations with no hassle, One Fine Stay offers serious competition to Airbnb.

For renters, they offers perks like a local on-call team, and free iPhone to use during your stay. And if you’re a home owner, 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.


Oasis Collections

Oasis Collections is a hip, curated luxury vacation rental site.

With properties available in a dozen international cities, Oasis may not have something for everyone, but what they do have is consistently chic. Homes must pass a 50 point checklist, are professionally managed and cleaned, and stocked with hotel quality towels and linens. And the hotel comparisons don’t stop at some cushy towels. You can request a fully stocked fridge, help setting up a private driver, and more.


Quick Comparison Chart: The Best Airbnb Alternatives Editor’s Picks

Vacation Rental SiteRental LocationsCharge Booking Fees?Type of Accommodation
Airbnb AlternativeRental LocationsCharge Booking Fees?Type of Accommodation

Booking.com
USA, Europe, AsiaNoMid-Range to Luxury

Homeaway/ VRBO
WorldwideYesLuxury

Flipkey
WorldwideYesLuxury

Love Home Swap
USA, EuropeNoLuxury

HomeEscape
USA, Europe & AsiaNoMid-Range

Trusted Housesitters
WorldwideYearly membership feeBudget (since stays are free!), but many nice homes

Airbnb Competitors: Vacation Rental Booking & Listing Fees Comparison

Compare the fees of Airbnb with their competitors. We’ve broken down the commissions and charges 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.

Sites with Low Booking Fees for Guests:

SiteBooking Fees
Airbnb (for reference)6-12%
Love Home SwapFree
Plans MatterFree
Booking.comFree
Kid & Coe3-15%
BedyCasaFree
OneFineStayFree (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)
HomeEscapeFree
9Flats.comFree
CasamundoFree
Trusted HousesittersNo individual booking fees, but house sitters and home owners must pay a $119 yearly fee to list and apply for house sits

Sites with Low Listing Fees for Hosts:

SiteHost FeesListing Fees
Airbnb (for reference)3%Free
Flipkey3%Free (or hosts can pay an annual fee to receive guest payments directly)
Love Home SwapFreeAll users pay a monthly membership fee ranging from $20-$68
Kid & Coe5-12%Free
OneFineStayFree (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
HomeEscapeFreeFree
Trusted HousesittersNo individual booking fees, but house sitters and home owners must pay a $119 yearly fee to list and apply for house sits

Airbnb vs VRBO and Other Vacation Rental Sites: What’s the Difference?

Oftentimes, travelers aren’t sure what the difference is between Airbnb and other vacation rental sites like VRBO. Do they function differently? Is one better than the other?

airbnb vs vrbo

At their core, all vacation rental sites are basically the same. You’re renting either a room in someone’s house, or the entire home or apartment for an agreed-upon price. The rental website acts as an intermediary, protecting both parties in case something goes wrong.

Where vacation rental sites often differ the most is in their percentage of professionally managed properties. Airbnb has an increasing number of listings that are only used as vacation rentals. They’re professionally managed, and occupied only by travelers.

Depending on what you’re looking for, this can be a huge advantage. I do try to steer away from rentals in tight housing markets, but overall, I prefer to stay at a dedicated vacation rental. They’re generally, cleaner, less cluttered, and unsurprisingly, more professionally run.

Compared to Airbnb, large sites like VRBO, Booking.com, Homeaway, and Flipkey tend to have a higher percentage of professionally managed listings. You can expect the same from the majority of the luxury vacation rental sites too.

Most of the larger Airbnb competitors are quite similar to Airbnb in terms of budget range as well. VRBO is sometimes associated with more luxe accommodations, but you can easily find budget friendly digs as well.

One area where Airbnbs and other vacation rental sites do vary is distribution of fees. Nearly all will charge a cleaning fee, along with the required taxes. But when it comes to site and payment fees, charge can vary quite a bit. One some sites, hosts shoulder more of the fee burden; on others, it’s guests that get bogged down in fees. Our handy guide above lays out some of the cheapest vacation rental sites for guest and for hosts.

Ultimately, when it comes to Airbnb vs all the other vacation rental sites, a big part of the difference is branding and name recognition. The word Airbnb has become synonymous with vacation rentals in general–but don’t let that keep you from exploring all your options!


What to Pack for Your Airbnb or Vacation Rental Stay

The amenities that Airbnbs and other vacation rental offer can vary widely. Read the details of the property to see what’s included and what you might need to bring with you. Here’s 6 things to consider packing for your next stay:

1. A Carbon Monoxide Detector

While some vacation rentals do have carbon monoxide detectors, not all do. Be sure to check if your booking includes one. If not, grab a travel carbon monoxide detector. They’re relatively cheap, and it’s just not worth risking your life over.

2. Extra Towels

Some hosts’ stinginess with towels can be incredibly frustrating. We recently stayed in a Tokyo rental that included just 1 bath towel for each guest–and no face or hand towels!

But if the vacation rental is what you want overall, sometimes it pays to make the compromise and bring your own towels. I’m rarely able to pack lightly to begin with, so a couple extra towels in my big suitcase don’t take up too much space (and they make great padding when you want to bring back a couple bottles of local wine!).

Travel towels are also a good way to go while still packing light, and you can save some space by packing cheap shower puffs that can be discarded at the end of your trip.

3. Laundry Pods

I find that many vacation rentals that have a washer and dryer also offer at least a little bit of detergent. More often, my problem has been with the type of detergent. With very sensitive skin, and a travel partner who’s extremely sensitive to scents, the “free and clear” laundry detergents are a must. If you’re in a similar boat, or just not sure you’ll be provided detergent, consider packing a small package of laundry pods.

And if your vacation rental doesn’t offer a washer and dryer, we’ve got some tips on how to do laundry while traveling.


Airbnb and Vacation Rental FAQs

Why shouldn’t I use Airbnb? 

We’re not here to tell you not to use Airbnb. But if we had to pick one reason to look elsewhere, it would be Airbnb’s terrible customer service and lack of interest in policing their listings. I’ve experienced their sub-par customer service myself, and it does make me nervous about how they’d respond in a critical situation.

Mostly though, it’s a matter of personal preference and needs. Where you’re traveling, what your budget is, and how large of a group you’re booking for will greatly affect the accommodation you choose. Similarly, your needs will be different if you’re an owner wanting to occasionally rent out your home, versus running a full-time rental business.

There may be other reasons–like fees, and the ability to cancel a listing– for guests and hosts to choose another rental site. Airbnb has dominated the market for years, but now travelers have so many fantastic choices that better deals may be found elsewhere.

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

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.

Our Editor’s Picks at the top of this post are all fantastic sites with a worldwide presence, and we’ve included section for Europe specific vacation rental sites as well.

Are Airbnbs 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 tourist 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 in 2016, and was discomfited to read in mid 2017 that Airbnbs were finally legal 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 make sure rentals like Airbnb are legal in your destination city.

How can I stay safe when booking and staying at a vacation rental?

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. 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.

Hidden cameras have been a large issue for Airbnb lately. It’s clear that they haven’t found a real way to prevent hidden cameras or even to deal with it appropriately from a customer service perspective in many instances. There are some great tech articles about how to find hidden cameras in your Airbnb. We’d also suggest sticking with higher end, more professionally run rentals to lower your chances of running into this creepy issue.

Guests may 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 list 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. And if you have a problem as a host or a renter, be sure to contact the booking website, as well as the proper authorities if necessary. Be a squeaky wheel and assert your rights! Reporting people who abuse the system to the booking site, and sharing your experience via reviews help keep the bad apples off vacation rental sites and make the experience better for everyone.

What’s the cheapest Airbnb alternative?

Many of the sites listed here have a range of budget friendly options. We like Booking.com for the sheer variety and ability to compare hotel and vacation rental prices in one place.

If you’re on a tight budget, you might look into housesitting. 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!