Short on time? My top pick for the best airbnb alternative is Vrbo.
If you’re tired of dealing with bad hosts and paying too much in fees, check out my picks for the best Airbnb alternatives.
Airbnb has changed the travel industry for better and for worse since it was established in 2008.
Most notably, it has helped travelers get a more unique experience when visiting a new location.
When staying in a hotel, you don’t get as full of a picture of what it’s like to live in a specific place.
But Airbnb has also increased fees and the commoditization of housing, which has negatively affected locals in many cities.
It has even created ghost towns in some downtown areas where locals can no longer afford to live.
In the past, when I would travel throughout Europe or Latin America, I would always find some of the best deals on Airbnb.
These deals coupled with staying in a new destination around other locals truly made Airbnb different than the other alternatives.
Living like a local is how I fell in love with travel.
However, it’s hard to find cheap deals anymore in a lot of places, and with the negative connotation that Airbnb has these days, I’m not as into using them.
Over the years, I’ve had to use many different vacation rental sites to find the best deals while traveling.
It can be overwhelming with the number of new websites similar to Airbnb that exist today, which is why I wrote this article.
These are the best Airbnb alternatives so you can travel stress-free on your next vacation.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so we can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Table of Contents
Main Pros and Cons of Airbnb
Unique experience living like a local
Unlike a hotel, you’ll get to stay in someone’s house with all of the amenities that you’d have if you were an actual resident of that area.
This creates the feeling that you’re living in the place you’re visiting or at least in a spot that feels like home.
Other Airbnb alternatives might not be able to give that exact same feeling.
Good deals for long-term stays
I’m in love with slow travel and you can find many great deals on Airbnb.
Last year, I stayed in a three-bedroom apartment in Medellin for $900 a month. I could’ve easily split this four ways.
Hosts usually give you an automatic discount if you’re staying for 30 days or more.
You can also private message hosts to try to get a cheaper deal, which is often possible with how much they prefer long-term stays.
More space than a normal hotel room
One of the biggest reasons to get an Airbnb over a hotel room is the amount of extra space you get.
This is especially great if you’re traveling with family and need that extra room for everyone to stay comfortably.
Sometimes hosts excel at making you feel at home
My favorite stays at Airbnbs have been when the hosts go above and beyond to make you feel at home.
They aren’t just simply a property owner but your personal tour guide.
They’ll give you recommendations for the area and if you have any concerns, they’ll answer back in a timely manner.
Airbnb is destroying neighborhoods with rent increases
Airbnb has become a massive business worldwide and people with money are buying up apartments for the sole purpose of renting them out.
This has caused rent and home prices to increase in these areas, which drives out locals.
There are more people on Airbnb looking for a rental than there are rentals available for residents in some places.
May not be the cheapest option
I remember when Airbnb was always the cheapest option.
This is usually the case with early startups when they’re trying to get a user base (case in point: Uber/Lyft), but all good things come to an end.
Airbnb has grown in popularity so much over the years that they’ve been able to increase their fees a ton and not lose many users.
Looking for better travel deals for your next trip? Read our guide to the best travel deal sites.
Airbnb is heavily regulated by the government
To combat the issue of Airbnb taking over neighborhoods, governments have started regulating listings heavily.
This has caused prices to increase even more over time and has made it difficult for solo travelers to afford an Airbnb on their own.
Hosts will sometimes treat it too much like a business
The business side of Airbnb has gotten to the point where your host might not live in the location you’re staying in.
Instead, there will be lock boxes with the key and instructions once inside the house.
I’ve also noticed an increase in hosts who are more strict about everything.
This could include not allowing any kind of early check-in/late check-out to hosts expecting things to be spotlessly clean while still adding on a $300 cleaning fee.
There’s been a shift in general with hosts treating it too much like a business and less about empathizing with tired travelers who want a welcoming place to stay.
I miss the friendly hospitality that used to come with Airbnb and the genuine feeling you used to get about staying at someone’s house.
Best Airbnb Alternatives
Vrbo is the best Airbnb alternative as well as their biggest competitor. It was founded way back in 1995 as a way to rent out extra rooms in your apartment.
Because it has been around for over 25+ years, they clearly know what they’re doing and do a good job of it.
They cater to large families or groups of people who are looking for a vacation rental.
And Vrbo offers a lot of great filters to search with. You can search specifically for beachfront properties, villas, apartments/condos, or houses with a pool!
This will help narrow down your search for the best rental properties on the site.
Vrbo might not specialize in as many smaller accommodations as Airbnb does but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find those types of apartment rentals on the site.
- Lower average fee percentage than Airbnb
- Catered for large groups and villas
- Easy-to-use filters to help find your perfect vacation home
- A comparable amount of listings as Airbnb
- Fewer listings than on Airbnb
- Not as many apartments/smaller rental properties
HomeToGo is a great search engine when wanting to compare multiple vacation rental properties from around the world.
Not only do they have their own selection of houses to choose from, but they will also search other websites such as Vrbo, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and many others.
With so many options to choose from, you can save a favorite of yours to your ‘wish list’ for future travels so you won’t forget it.
And depending on what location you search for, it will be different sites popping up for you.
For example, when researching for my upcoming Puerto Rico trip, I received a lot of Vrbo options.
But when looking at New York City, I get a mixture of Expedia, HomeToGo, and Agoda.
This makes me feel like it gives me the best deals by destination and highlights which sites have better options in certain destinations.
- Able to compare houses from multiple sites in one search
- Straightforward searching tools
- Ability to save your favorite houses for later use
- There are a lot of signatures you must sign before getting your vacation rental space
- Since it is a 3rd party site, getting issues resolved about a booking can be more difficult
Homestay is what Airbnb first started out as. It’s a way to stay with a local and to get that local experience in a location.
It can sometimes be harder to find places to stay on Homestay. This is due to the lack of hosts in certain areas, but it’s always worth a search.
I have stayed at Homestays in a few Latin American countries, and the biggest benefit for me was the ability to practice more of my Spanish.
A downside for travelers is that you’ll always be living with the host instead of having the house all to yourself, so it just depends on your style of travel.
- Live with a local and get a more local perspective
- Some hosts offer meals
- Can be cheaper than hotel rooms
- Practice the local language
- Will always be living with the property owners instead of having the entire place to yourself
- It’s not for those looking for luxury villas
#4 Booking.com House Rentals
A lot of people know that Booking.com is a great way to find hotels. It’s also one of the best sites if you’re looking to rent out apartments or entire properties.
Booking tends to have the best deals for hotels and apartments, which makes it great for budget travelers.
An added perk if you frequent Booking.com is that you’ll increase your ‘Genius Level’ with each booking on their website.
Unlike Airbnb, this loyalty program will give you a percentage off certain stays, which helps make these affordable accommodations.
The percentage depends on what Genius level you are at. Level 1 will unlock 10% off, level 2 unlocks 15% off, and level 3 unlocks 20% off.
Booking.com also has hundreds (if not thousands) of reviews for many accommodations, so you can find lots of details and know you made the right choice.
- Trusted hotel and vacation rental giant
- Thousands of reviews throughout the site
- A rewards program that gets better the more you use their site
- Possible payment delays for hosts
#5 Agoda Homes
Agoda is a popular hotel booking website, but it’s also a player in the vacation rental marketplace as well as homes.
There’s a new feature on their website where you can search specifically for long-term rentals. Their booking process is simple and straightforward too!
According to Agoda, they have 150k+ apartments on the site as well as 500k+ vacation rentals.
Just note that they’re a better option if you’re planning to travel in Asia since that’s where they have the biggest footprint.
When visiting their site, you will notice a unique tab at the top titled ‘coupons & deals’. These will change daily and is a great way to get a better price on an accommodation you’re eyeing.
All of these features are simple and easy to figure out on your own.
- One of the best vacation rental websites for Asia
- Offers secret deals and coupons to its customers
- Specific search tools for your specific wants and needs
- Easy-to-use website
- You don’t know the person behind the house until after the booking
- Can sometimes have higher prices than the same houses on Airbnb
#6 Facebook Marketplace/Rental Groups
Facebook can be used for more things than to solely keep up with your friends from high school.
There’s a whole other world out there in Facebook groups and marketplace.
I have met many people who have had a lot of success in finding great vacation homes and long-term rental properties through Facebook.
Because of the number of people that use Facebook on a daily basis, their marketplace will always be extremely active. This helps hosts/landlords out too!
Sites like Airbnb make it more difficult to negotiate prices (although it’s still possible), but here it’s fair game.
Facebook Marketplace is most similar to Craigslist, but with added security because people’s identities are shown (though there’s still some risk of scamming here, too).
- Can find great deals as you work with the owners directly and pay no service fee
- Possible to find more unique accommodations
- Great for monthly sublet options or even some long-term options
- More eyes on your property as a host because of how many people use Facebook
- Fewer options to choose from in most locations
- Scams are more likely than on other vacation rental sites
- Unlike Airbnb, payment isn’t through their platform
#7 Expedia Vacation Rentals
If you’re looking for short-term rentals, Expedia Vacation Rentals is another great option.
On this vacation rental platform, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of stays ranging from beachfront villas, mountain cabins, and apartments in your favorite cities.
Why use Expedia for vacation rentals? This is one of the most trusted rental companies on the market today.
Since this is a 3rd party site, if a problem occurs, it can sometimes be difficult to get it resolved. But even with that fact, there are still plenty of reasons to use Expedia.
You’ll have a variety of options to choose from, as well as potential discounts from their loyalty program.
There are three different levels to Expedia’s loyalty program, which are blue, silver, and gold. Once you sign up to be a member, you’ll automatically get 10% off on select hotels.
Once you collect 10 trip elements (one trip element per night of a booking), you’ll be upgraded to silver, and after 25 trip elements, you’ll be in the gold tier.
If you want more than a hotel room, I would suggest using Expedia Vacation Rentals for your upcoming trip.
- Great last-minute deals
- Has bundle discounts available for certain properties
- A rewarding loyalty program that gets better the more you buy
- Sometimes booking direct will be cheaper
- Trying to get problems resolved can be difficult
#8 Plum Guide
Plum Guide is a great Airbnb alternative because it’s also a peer-to-peer booking site.
What makes this site stand out from the others is its unique vacation rental market.
Unlike other major sites, Plum Guide is very selective about who they allow to put their property up.
So, you know you’re always going to be getting quality properties when looking at the accommodation options. In fact, each home must pass a test with over 500 data points.
Unfortunately, this means Plum Guide is only available in more popular locations throughout the world, and their properties are definitely on the expensive side.
It’s ideal for a romantic getaway that you want to be certain is perfect for that special someone.
Overall, Plum Guide is a fantastic alternative to Airbnb if you’re looking for quality and not quantity.
I would also consider it one of the best Airbnb alternatives for hosts because you’ll get high-quality guests who are willing to spend more money.
- Only high-quality properties that pass their test will be on their site
- Many filters available to narrow your search
- If you’re awarded a full refund, they’ll also give the service fee back in full
- More expensive bookings due to the higher-quality properties
- No private rooms are available
#9 Tripadvisor Vacation Rentals
Tripadvisor vacation rentals are loaded with options to choose from for your trip.
This website started out solely as a website that gave reviews for businesses, so the new-age traveler could make educated decisions.
Today, Tripadvisor is a great all-in-one website where you can book rentals and other activities for your trip and read through their popular forum section.
The website is also easy to navigate, and there are usually a decent amount of reviews for each accommodation.
The one downside is that there’s a booking fee between 8% and 16% for their rentals.
Note: the vacation rentals on their site are all affiliated with Flipkey.
- Easy-to-use platform
- Known for a large number of reviews across their site
- Trusted website to book accommodation on
- Customer service for both renters and property owners isn’t good
- Affiliated with Flipkey, which can make getting problems resolved tricky
Couchsurfing is a unique experience and a great alternative to Airbnb if you’re truly on a small budget and don’t mind shared spaces.
Similar to Homestay, you’ll stay with a local in their home. Unlike Homestay, however, Couchsurfing is free (besides the yearly membership)!
There’s a massive community of travelers who love to Couchsurf when traveling.
Our editor, Mimi, used Couchsurfing a lot to travel around Australia and the US as a solo budget traveler in her early 20s and found it to be a great resource.
There aren’t as many options to choose from as some vacation rental websites; Couchsurfing has many filters that can be used when searching for spots to stay.
These include options like wanting to stay with a family.
Also, although the name sounds like you’d be sleeping on a couch, a lot of the stays include a guest bedroom for you to sleep in or at least an air mattress.
I wouldn’t consider this a part of the vacation rental industry, but it can be used as a good Airbnb alternative if you’re open to other types of accommodations.
And unlike Airbnb, Couchsurfing is great for sustainable tourism!
- Practically free and great for budget travelers
- Live like a local with a local
- Get helpful tips on the best things to see where you’re visiting from your host
- You don’t get the entire house to yourself
- Some people might feel unsafe staying with a stranger
#11 Trusted Housesitters
Trusted Housesitters is another way to travel for cheap and meet new friends (dogs and cats) in the process!
I’ve used this website to travel around the United States for free, and it works especially well for those who want to slow travel.
There are multiple properties in the US, Canada, and Europe. I’ve found some places in Latin America, but those are far and between.
The whole concept is that you get to stay in someone’s house for free in exchange for watching their house and/or pets. Sounds perfect, right?!
Trusted Housesitters has advanced search filters that you can use to find certain houses where you don’t even have to watch pets at all.
My favorite filter is where you can search for houses that allow you to use their car.
What’s great about a lot of these houses compared to Airbnb and Vrbo is that they’re set up for actual living and not as a business.
And if you choose some of the higher yearly payment plans, they have great payment protection if your host decides to cancel last minute.
- Free accommodation (besides yearly payment plan)
- Opportunity to meet locals (humans and pets)
- No shared spaces with other travelers
- Good filters when searching for properties
- Can be difficult to get your first house to sit
- Might not be your #1 desirable location
- You might have the responsibility of watching someone’s pet (this could be a pro or con depending on what you’re looking for)
#12 Hopper Homes
Hopper Homes is part of the Hopper travel app that’s extremely popular in the United States.
If you’re traveling through the US, this is one of the best Airbnb alternatives to check out.
Most notably because other alternatives to Airbnb don’t have the rewards programs that Hopper offers.
With Hopper, you receive ‘Carrot Cash’ in their app. You can earn up to 5% back in Carrot Cash from your booking.
Sites like Airbnb simply don’t offer their customers any kind of loyalty program. Hopper even gives you the opportunity to freeze a price if you aren’t ready to purchase yet.
If you’re in the United States, this is a perfect vacation rental platform that you should add to your list when doing your research.
Check out our full review of the Hopper App.
Use the promo code “theatlasheart” at checkout to get $25 off your first hotel booking.
- One of the best rewards programs among rental platforms
- The app is set up similarly to Airbnb to show the amenities of the house and what the bedrooms contain
- Ability to freeze price until you are ready to purchase
- Fairly new in the vacation rental industry
- Best deals in the US only
Travelstaytion is a high-quality Airbnb alternative that’s primarily used in the United Kingdom.
This is one of the best short-term rental sites in the area if you’re looking for some of the best vacation rentals.
There might be better alternative sites to Airbnb out there, but Travelstaytion has been growing in popularity and will soon be an option to book from around the world.
What makes Travelstaytion even more unique is its filters under the section of ‘host reception’ as well as each host being an expert in the hospitality field.
The ‘host reception’ section is where you can find things like shuttle service and luggage storage that can help make the rental options more appealing.
If you’re looking to try a new vacation rental platform while visiting cities like London, then I highly suggest taking a look at Travelstaytion.
- High-quality stays with multiple amenities
- Simple searches for those looking to not only find a private room
- Offers great services with each booking
- Minimal search results in other locations besides the UK
- No shared spaces if you’re looking for more of a local experience
Uniplaces is an Airbnb alternative for those looking to live in a place for at least a month.
Contrary to the name, you don’t have to be a student to rent out one of these rooms.
Case in point–our editor, Mimi, rented a room in Lisbon through Uniplaces back in 2018 for two months and had a great experience.
Two of her housemates were grad students, but she and another housemate were just working remotely in Lisbon for the summer.
I wouldn’t say this is one of the big Airbnb competitors, but if you’re looking to live in an area for a longer time than normal, then this might be a good choice for you.
What sets Uniplaces apart from other sites is that some of these homes have been visited by a professional photographer of the company.
This ensures the location and authenticity of the room you’re looking at booking!
I hope that more companies in the short-term rental industry start doing something like this with all of their properties.
A feature that I love is when looking at the rental details; you can individually select each room and see a list of what that room has.
This is something you don’t often see from other Airbnb competitors.
- Housing options specifically for those looking to rent long term
- Gives detailed descriptions of what each room has
- Affordable prices
- Not your typical vacation homes
- Minimum stays of 27+ days for a lot of houses
Hotels.com has more than just hotels you can search for. Whether you want just a room or something more, you can find plenty of options on the site.
Although Hotels.com is owned by the same company (Expedia Group) as Expedia Vacation Rentals, it’s not the same type of marketplace.
Instead, their search engine is more standard in having verified locations like Booking.com.
How Hotels.com truly separates itself from the other Airbnb competitors, though is through its reward program.
You’ll get one night free after staying ten nights at any accommodation on their site!
Hotels.com can have an overwhelming amount of search results when you look up a place. Luckily, their filtering options let you specify many details when you search.
- Loyalty vacation rental program to save you more money
- Thousands of options to choose from
- Good filtering options when searching
- Not one of the cheapest Airbnb alternatives
- There are sometimes customer service problems
Sonder is another one of the best Airbnb alternatives if you’re looking for quality over quantity.
If you’re a host, then there are great benefits for you too!
Sonder only rents out entire units, so you know what you’re getting.
There might not be as many units to choose from compared to Airbnb, but sometimes less is more.
They specialize in hospitality as you’ll be assisted by Sonder staff instead of the host.
All of the prices are a flat fee as well, so no surprises! This also means great customer service.
One of the downsides is that Sonder currently doesn’t offer reviews on its platform.
This might not be a big deal for some, but it’s something I hope they change in the future.
If you’re a host who wants as little hands-on as possible, then this is the perfect platform for you.
Sonder signs multi-year leases for your property and takes care of the rest–you’ll always know there will be 100% occupancy on day one!
- They offer instant booking
- Specializes in private rentals
- Hands-off approach for hosts looking to make easy money
- Only in popular tourist destinations
- No reviews on the properties
#17 Top Villas
Top Villas is a great alternative to Airbnb if you’re looking for, you guessed it, villas.
Other booking sites have a variety of selections, but if you’re looking for villas, why not go to a site that specializes in just that?
If you’re looking for help when planning your dream vacation, then try out Top Villas’ travel planner! They will help you find your perfect stay and give you everything you need.
These aren’t affordable accommodations by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re certainly luxurious!
The variety of locations isn’t as vast as you might want it to be, but it has villas in many of the popular locations throughout the world.
- Specializes in villas and vacation rentals
- A luxury Airbnb alternative that has a guest experience team to help with anything you might need
- Has a travel planner team to help you with your perfect vacation
- Expensive vacation rentals
- Only in select locations
#18 Glamping Hub
Glamping Hub is a different style from other Airbnb competitors because it’s a glamping site as opposed to offering traditional accommodation options.
You might be wondering what glamping is. Glamping is camping but in a more luxurious way.
I’ve been to many festivals where this type of accommodation was offered and it’s hard not to want to try it out at least once.
They not only have luxurious cabins and glamping tents to choose from, but they also have houses.
These accommodations are normally on the outdoorsy side, though.
- Perfect for those looking for accommodations in the outdoors
- Search for glamping cabins, tents, caravans, domes, and cottages
- Offers unique places to stay in the wilderness
- Not for those who don’t like the outdoors
- Glamping accommodations can be pricey
HipCamp is another one of the Airbnb alternatives for those who truly enjoy the outdoors, but usually with cheaper options than Glamping Hub.
Their website makes it easy to book camping sites with tents in some of the most secluded locations.
If camping in a tent isn’t your thing, they also have glamping or cabin options.
Additionally, they’re an excellent source of information regarding the national parks and some of the best places to camp within them.
The property owners on this site also seem to really love HipCamp because it’s truly a one-of-a-kind community.
- Great community of like-minded travelers who love the outdoors
- Excellent customer service
- Wide range of price ranges–from camping to glamping options
- Not for those who don’t love the outdoors
- Mostly in the United States
#20 Furnished Finder
Furnished Finder is one of the best sites, like Airbnb, for long-term stays.
In fact, I think it has qualities that are better than Airbnb for those looking to slow travel or move to a new location.
For instance, when staying in a new location long-term, you’ll want to make sure you truly love the property.
Furnished Finder lets you arrive at the house before renting it to see if it passes the eye test.
My girlfriend is a travel nurse, and this is what we’ve used this site for–and it’s what the site was originally started for.
It’s perfect for a 3-month stay in a new location.
And in the right circumstances, Furnished Finder can be a cheaper alternative to Airbnb.
- Price is negotiable before booking
- Possible to find cheaper long-term rentals than Airbnb
- Save on 30+ day rentals like Airbnb
- Payment policies vary due to you paying the host and not the website
- More paperwork is involved than going through Airbnb
#21 Marriott Homes & Villas
Marriott Homes & Villas is a trustworthy company in the accommodation space that offers a wide variety of places to stay.
This is a huge Airbnb competitor due to the name and how they’re run.
Each property is run by a managing company that ensures each stay is up to your standards.
Like many popular rental platforms and hotel chains, you can earn points the more you stay with them if you’re a member.
Plus, you’re able to enjoy a wide range of villas and homes around the world on their easy-to-use website.
- 24/7 customer service
- Get reward points for each stay if you’re a member of their loyalty program–Marriott Bonvoy
- Easy-to-use interface with many filters
- Customers have had deposit issues in the past
- The managing companies don’t always do a perfect job inspecting the house
- Can be expensive
Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Airbnb Alternative
Alternatives to Airbnb are on the rise with the growing demand for cheaper and better accommodations in the travel space.
With that being said, Vrbo is my pick for the best Airbnb alternative and a website you should also use alongside Airbnb.
It’s difficult to compete with this juggernaut as they dominate a large space in this niche.
Like Airbnb, Vrbo has a variety of options to choose from worldwide and sometimes better options than Airbnb.
Airbnb has had issues in the past of taking the side of the host when they shouldn’t have and has received worse reviews about customer service in return.
This is where an Airbnb competitor like Vrbo can stand out amongst the other giants.
Plus, Vrbo is really the site most like Airbnb if you’re looking for the closest alternative.
Overall, if you’re looking for more niche alternatives to Airbnb, this list is a great starting point for finding your perfect accommodation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip Anderson is a freelance travel writer, personal trainer, and adventure enthusiast from Virginia Beach. Growing up, he spent most of his days either hiking in the Shenandoah, going to the beach, or working out. He is currently traveling through Latin America while working on projects to share his adventures with the world.
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