9 Airbnb Competitors to Consider for Your Next Trip
Airbnb is an excellent tool for finding a place to stay when you’re traveling. Whether you’re going on a quick weekend getaway, a business trip, or a honeymoon, Airbnb has a property to fit your budget and needs.
As revolutionary as the company is, however, it’s far from the only player in the vacation rental marketplace. There are lots of other vacation rental sites out there that are worth considering for your next trip.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some great alternatives to Airbnb, with the goal of helping you find the perfect short-term rental for your budget, lifestyle, and type of trip.
Reasons to Consider Airbnb Alternatives
While Airbnb is often a superior choice to hotels in terms of price and personality, it’s not the right choice for everyone. To start, some people dislike the idea of staying with a stranger in their home. While there are certainly many Airbnb properties that let you have an entire home or apartment all to yourself, such properties can end up being more expensive than a hotel, making them less appealing to guests on a budget who still value privacy.
Furthermore, the potential for staying with a bad host also turns some people off of Airbnb. While negative experiences with the platform are extremely rare, they are possible. For this reason, some travelers prefer to use a site that more rigorously vets the listed properties. We’ll discuss several such options below.
Additionally, some people dislike the lack of hotel amenities such as housekeeping, room service, and a concierge. If these services are important to you, then Airbnb is not the best platform for your needs. Luckily, there are still plenty of options for finding excellent hotels or resorts that do offer these services, as we’ll see below.
Finally, some people dislike the pricing structure that Airbnb uses. This can certainly be a frustrating part of using the platform. You’ll see a price that looks reasonable for your budget, but then once you’ve picked the nights you want to stay and looked at the total, you realize the sticker price doesn’t include the Airbnb service fee, cleaning fees, and the required security deposit.
While these fees aren’t unique to Airbnb, there are other platforms that more effectively show the total price upfront, allowing you to more quickly decide if a property matches your budget. We’ll examine several such options in this article.
9 Airbnb Alternatives to Consider
Now that we’ve gone over some reasons to consider alternative accommodations to Airbnb, let’s take a look at nine of the best options out there. There’s something for everyone here, ranging from family-friendly vacation homes to luxury urban penthouses to crashing on someone’s couch for free.
Here are our top Airbnb alternatives that will be perfect for your next trip:
We’ll start our list off with HomeAway, which is an online vacation rental marketplace that’s quite similar to Airbnb at first glance. Both sites target vacation travelers, although you could certainly use them for other purposes if you prefer.
The main difference between HomeAway and Airbnb is that HomeAway focuses exclusively on whole home rentals. You won’t find any shared apartments or rooms in houses for rent on HomeAway. Instead, the idea is that you can book a place with “all the comforts of home” while you’re on vacation.
In practice, the inventory on HomeAway still varies substantially. You’ll find everything from rustic cabins and cottages to urban apartments and luxury seaside villas. And you can sort homes based on factors like price, property type, location, and amenities.
In general, the properties on HomeAway tend to be a bit more expensive than those on Airbnb. This is mainly because all properties listed on HomeAway are entire homes. Airbnb is able to offer cheaper options because it allows hosts to rent out rooms or even just air mattresses on the floor. If you compare the two services based on their whole home rental options, the prices tend to be similar.
As far as locations, HomeAway boasts properties in a variety of countries. Whether you’re looking for a flat in Europe, a beach house in Florida, or a country villa in Asia, you’ll be able to find it on the platform. For more information about how HomeAway and Airbnb compare, check out our comprehensive Airbnb vs. HomeAway guide.
Note: HomeAway also owns VacationRentals.com and VRBO. Both websites are virtually identical to HomeAway and offer almost the same properties for rent. Therefore, we won’t be discussing them separately.
Up next, we have something a bit different. Homestay is a service that focuses on helping you find accommodations in the homes of families around the world. Unlike Airbnb, it only focuses on shared accommodations.
Additionally, the idea behind Homestay is that you don’t just stay in someone’s home, but get to experience their culture firsthand. It’s less transactional than Airbnb, though the service isn’t free. Generally, however, Homestay rooms will tend to cost less than those on Airbnb.
The tradeoff, of course, is that the places you stay can be pretty basic in terms of their accommodations. If your goal for traveling is to learn a new language or experience a new culture, then Homestay is the perfect options. It’s particularly appealing for students studying abroad, as it fits a student budget and offers the chance for greater cultural immersion than living in a dorm.
Booking.com is the first site we’ve discussed on this list that doesn’t just focus on accommodation. Certainly, that’s a major part of Booking.com’s business, but the site also allows you to search for and book flights, car rentals, and airport taxis. They even offer package deals that let you book a flight and hotel together.
That being said, Booking.com doesn’t just let you book hotels. You can also book a variety of other property types, including serviced apartments, villas, hostels, vacation homes, and cabins (to name just a few). All of these property types are also available on Airbnb, of course, though Booking.com does make it a bit easier to sort through the different property types.
As far as price, the options on Booking.com vary about as much as they do on Airbnb. You can find $15 per night campsites and $1,500 per night penthouses. The main thing that Booking.com excels at is letting you book a full vacation. You can book your accommodation, flight, and rental car all without leaving the site, making it perfect for travelers who want an all-in-one solution.
If you’ve heard of TripAdvisor, it’s probably because you used their site to find the best things to do while on vacation. However, TripAdvisor also offers a variety of booking features, including vacation rentals, rental cars, flights, and even cruises.
In terms of how the site compares to Airbnb, TripAdvisor is similar to Booking.com. It’s a site where you can book accommodation, but it also lets you book a variety of other things you might need for a vacation. The main advantage compared to Airbnb, however, is that you can also use TripAdvisor to plan what to do while on your trip. You can find the best restaurants, attractions, shopping, and more. In terms of booking places to stay, however, there isn’t a lot of meaningful difference between the two sites.
Note: TripAdvisor also owns FlipKey. There isn’t much difference between the two sites in terms of booking accommodation, as the properties listed on FlipKey are the same ones you can view on TripAdvisor. Therefore, we won’t be covering FlipKey in detail. The same is true of HouseTrip, which has a slightly different design but includes all the same properties as TripAdvisor.
Expedia is a site that lets you book hotels, flights, car rentals, cruises, activities, and vacation rentals. It’s similar to Booking.com in this respect, though it’s even more focused on vacation bundles that include a hotel/flight/car rental.
The key difference between Airbnb and Expedia, however, is that the site principally focuses on hotels in its accommodation offerings. Certainly, the site does let you book houses or apartments, but the experience is less personal than Airbnb. The properties tend to be owned by large holding groups, not by individuals. It’s a lot more like staying in a hotel, even though you do get more space.
The prices also tend to be a bit higher than Airbnb on average, since you can only choose entire homes, not rooms in shared spaces. Depending on your needs, this may be a benefit, but it makes the accommodations booking aspect of Expedia less useful for budget travelers.
In terms of countries, you can use Expedia to book places anywhere in the world. Whether you’re looking for a European vacation, an African safari, or a dream trip down under to Australia and New Zealand, Expedia has you covered.
Kayak, at its core, is a travel search engine. The company doesn’t offer direct bookings of its own, but instead allows you to “Search hundreds of travel sites at once.” You can compare prices on flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages.
In a notable difference from Airbnb and many of the other sites we’ve covered in this guide, Kayak only allows you to search for hotels. You won’t find any vacation rentals listed on the site, so it’s not the best option if you’re looking to rent an entire home or apartment.
The main advantage of using Kayak over Airbnb is that you can compare prices from lots of different sites at once. Of course, properties from Airbnb and other sites that let you rent full homes or apartments aren’t included, so you don’t get a full picture of the accommodation price landscape for your destination. If you know you want to stay in a hotel, however, then Kayak can be a valuable resource for booking your accommodation and other key aspects of your trip.
Tripping.com is another travel search engine, but it’s different from Kayak in that it focuses only on short-term vacation rentals. According to the site, it searches “HomeAway, VRBO, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and more.” This “more” notably includes Airbnb and Couchsurfing, so you can view properties as varied as spare bedrooms, large homes, and even campsites.
You can search for properties all over the world, and you can also filter based on amenities, rating, and property type. Tripping.com also offers an interactive map that lets you compare locations and prices for short-term rentals in a given city. This is a valuable feature to have if you know you want to stay in a particular neighborhood or near a particular attraction.
In general, if you know that hotels aren’t for you and want to compare lots of short-term rental options at once, Tripping.com is the site to use.
Out of all the options we’ve looked at on this list, Couchsurfing might be the most distinctive. To start with, accommodations on Couchsurfing are free. You can pay a small fee of $60 to become a “Verified Member,” but this isn’t necessary to use the platform.
With free accommodation, however, come some tradeoffs. As the site’s name implies, the accommodations you can get through Couchsurfing are quite basic. You might get a bed, but you could also end up sleeping on a couch, air mattress, or cot.
On the other hand, you do get to connect very personally with a local as they invite you into their home. This isn’t appealing to everyone, but it could be perfect for a budget traveler who wants to get off the beaten path. It’s also a useful option for a backpacker or solo traveler who is heading to a different city each night while on an extended trip.
Due to the nature of Couchsurfing, it isn’t the best option if you want to book long-term stays. It’s best for just a few nights at a time and not meant for stays of several weeks. Of course, you could always Couchsurf with several different people in the same city during a trip, but this won’t appeal to every type of traveler.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Couchsurfing also offers free meetups and community events. You can participate in these as long as you’re a member of Couchsurfing, and they can be an excellent tool for meeting people from all over the world when you’re in a new city (or even in your own hometown).
Leaving the couches and air mattresses and heading to the four-poster beds and divans, we come to our final Airbnb alternative: OneFineStay. This is a site that focuses on only the most luxurious short-term rentals out there. OneFineStay visits and vets each property on their site, and they offer 24/7 concierge-level service to all guests.
This level of service comes with a price tag to match. It’s not uncommon to see properties on OneFineStay that cost more per night than the average person earns in a month. There are properties in the low $200s, but they’re the exception.
As far as locations, OneFineStay offers properties in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Asia, and Oceania. The destinations are more limited than other travel sites to ensure that all properties meet the luxury standards that users of this service expect.
In particular, the site focuses on properties in the Caribbean for its “Getaway destinations,” while offering urban bookings in only the largest, most cosmopolitan cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, and Rome. The site also offers luxury accommodations for adventure travelers, with properties in popular ski resort towns such as Aspen and Breckenridge.
If you’re looking to book a luxury vacation in either the city or the country, then OneFineStay is the option for you. We should mention that Airbnb has a competing service called Airbnb Plus, which offers a higher level of vetting and amenities than your typical Airbnb property.
However, the listings there still tend to be more modest in price and furnishings than those available on OneFineStay, which targets the wealthy and ultra-wealthy.
Find the Best Vacation Rental Site for Your Needs
Airbnb isn’t for everyone, which is why alternatives exist. We hope this guide has helped you understand the many Airbnb competitors currently operating in the vacation rental market. Airbnb is a remarkable service, but you shouldn’t rule out other options when planning your next trip.
Want to get more information on finding the best place to stay for your next trip? Check out our other short-term rental guides:
- A Comprehensive Guide to the HomeAway App for Travelers
- The 9 Most Unique HomeAway and VRBO Properties in the World
- The Definitive Guide to HotelTonight: How to Save on Last-Minute Bookings
We respect your privacy.
Subscribe to the Gigworker.com newsletter and never miss a gig-economy story.
No spam, just stories.
We respect your privacy.