With sites like Airbnb dominating headlines in recent years, the very nature of travel is in reform. Gone are the days of hotels and hostels serving as our only options for accommodation. As the number of Airbnb alternatives grow, so do our travel possibilities.
With the advent of short-term vacation rental websites, renting a room or home straight from property owners can save you a sizable amount of cash, and you might even be helping them to pay their bills in the process.
There are plenty of options out there, and hopefully this list of Airbnb alternatives will help you find the best one.
Airbnb Alternatives: Best Vacation Rental Sites Like Airbnb in 2021
There are many Airbnb alternatives around the world, which makes it hard to know which ones to use (and when). Every apartment and spare room has the potential to serve as a boutique hotel, and there are some top-notch Airbnb alternatives for booking home rentals that you might not know about.
Whether you’re looking to make bookings or you’re a property owner and want to sign up as a host, this is a list of 25 of the best Airbnb alternatives out there.
- Plum Guide
- Agoda Homes
- Luxury Retreats
- Top Villas
- Glamping Hub
- Third Home
- Sabbatical Homes
1. Vrbo : Best Airbnb Alternative Overall
Vrbo (an acronym of Vacation Rentals by Owner) is the granddaddy of short term rentals and, in my humble opinion, is the best alternative to Airbnb, period.
Airbnb and Vrbo are the two biggest vacation rental companies in existence, and in fact, Vrbo was around for more than a decade before Airbnb ever opened up shop. You may have also heard of Vrbo’s sister site, HomeAway, which was recently rolled into Vrbo and is now defunct.
While Airbnb has more than six million properties, Vrbo’s vacation rental marketplace clocks in with over 2 million properties listed, with plenty of options for anyone. The primary thing when it comes to Airbnb vs. Vrbo is the size of the properties. Generally speaking, the properties on Vrbo are bigger with more amenities. This means that if you are a big group or a family with children, Vrbo is one of the better Airbnb alternatives.
Plus, if you are already familiar with Airbnb then using Vrbo will be a breeze as the layout is virtually identical.
As with most of these Airbnb alternatives, Vrbo has its own built-in review system. Owners cannot delete unflattering reviews of their properties so you can be sure that if there is a problem with a Vrbo property, you’ll know.
I’ve also found the customer service at Vrbo to be far superior to Airbnb, which, after more than a few frustrating Airbnb stays, is the main reason I recommend Vrbo over Airbnb almost 100% of the time.
2. Flipkey : Best Site Like Airbnb for Groups
Flipkey is another Airbnb alternative and one of the best vacation rental sites, period. With more than 300,000 properties in 179 countries, they offer an abundance of vacation homes and properties around the world. Since the company is owned by TripAdvisor, the Flipkey website seamlessly integrates with their encyclopedia of real user reviews and property descriptions.
With such a comprehensive set of data on every property in their database, you can filter your list by the type of amenities or services you’re looking for. Jacuzzi anyone?
Though there are plenty of options available for single travelers, Flipkey excels at providing properties for group bookings in popular tourist destinations. The large majority of their properties are vacation rentals and holiday homes which fit groups of four, five, six or more people.
You may not get that homely feel, and you may not get insight from local hosts, but if you’re traveling in a larger group, that’s not always very important anyway.
3. TurnKey : Best for Holiday Homes Around the World
One of the newer travel brands in the vacation rental industry, the main selling point for TurnKey —that makes it one of the strongest Airbnb competitors—is that they’ve done away with complicated key exchanges.
For TurnKey’s managed rental properties you get a door code instead of a key, meaning you can show up and leave whenever you want, and without having to meet with your host. This offers a bit more freedom and eliminates the problem of losing your key.
In order to obtain the door code for your rental property, you need to download an app. This app is a treasure trove of information, offering restaurant and entertainment suggestions in your area. It’s a nice little bonus that most alternatives to Airbnb don’t offer.
Currently TurnKey is only listing properties in the United States, but they have plans to branch out in the near future so watch this space.
4. Booking.com Apartment Rentals : Short-Term Airbnb Alternatives
Booking.com has long been the standard search engine for hotel bookings online, and now you can book apartments and vacation rentals by owner anywhere in the world using the same booking process you already know and love.
That also means you won’t have much interaction with the host, so what you’ll get is an apartment rental with the booking and check-in process of a hotel. This is a rare bonus when booking with companies like Airbnb.
When searching for accommodation options on the Booking.com site, their filtering system is, hands down, the best on the market. You can refine your search results can be refined to show exactly the type of properties that you need, whether it’s a hotel stay, vacation rental or apartments.
If you’re a property owner, they make it easy to add your listing with zero advertising fees.
Plus, because they have such a high inventory of properties, the competition is fierce, which means you get better properties at better prices.
5. Hotels.com : Airbnb Alternatives Listed by Property Owners
Like Booking.com, Hotels.com has now added apartment rentals to their huge inventory of 325,000+ properties listed. And because they’re one of the largest booking sites on the internet, with so many listings and properties, prices are always incredibly competitive.
You don’t need to do anything special to access the rentals listed on Hotels.com—they’ll simply show up in your search results alongside hotels, boutique homes, apartments and more. And if you’re a property owner, they have an easy option to list your property as a part of their inventory. Plus, it’s free to list!
The best part about Hotels.com is that, for every ten nights you book, you get one free. This is particularly handy if you’re traveling long-term or are a frequent traveler.
6. Plum Guide : Luxury Vacation Rentals by Owner
Plum Guide takes the cake for quality vacation homes. Plum Guide’s Home Critics put every single one of their properties through a grueling vetting process, and most applicants are actually rejected. That means you’re pretty well guaranteed an exceptional, magnificent place to stay, simply because it meets the Plum Guide standard. Browse the listings and you’ll see they’re all exceptionally beautiful.
Thanks to this strict vetting process, you don’t have to worry about any unwanted surprises or fake reviews. Plus their concierge team of Plum Guide Experts are on hand seven days a week to help you if you need it. Plum Guide prides themselves not only on their properties but their customer service, too.
And not only do they have short term rentals in key cities throughout Europe and the United States, but they also have homes in smaller regional locations. So if you’re seeking a staycation with a side of luxury, you’ll find it. A villa in the Catskills with an enormous pool, maybe? How about an estate filled with antique furniture in a wooded hamlet of the Cotswolds? Perhaps a dreamy desert vacation rental in Joshua Tree?
My favorite thing about Plum Guide is their “Home Truths” section in each listing. From a rental in the Hamptons:
“Your host, Jack, provides bikes, but there are only two at the moment.”
I LOVE that kind of transparency!
7. Sonder : Luxury Apartment Rentals & Properties
Sonder takes all the perks of Airbnb (like rentals at great prices) and combines them with the experience of staying in a hotel—right down to luxurious sheets and mini toiletries.
All of Sonder’s listed rentals are private rental apartments, so you never share a space with its owners. Whether it’s a studio space in New York or a giant six-bedroom apartment in Montreal, your property will have a full kitchen and living area to use as your own.
One of the best things about Sonder is their wonderfully efficient app. You rarely have to interact with the homeowner, but you can use the app to check in, request fresh towels, and even get dinner recommendations in your area.
There’s a 24/7 concierge service you can call or text for all the little details, like getting locked out or a light bulb burning out. Now that’s customer service.
Right now Sonder has over 5,000 listings in 35+ cities, and they’re still growing.
8. Hipcamp: Airbnb Alternatives for Campsites
If Airbnb and Vrbo aren’t your cupt of tea, and you’d prefer to lay your head down under a starry sky, Hipcamp is definitely for you. Hipcamp caters entirely to campers, but the listings here cover a huge range of different accommodations, including tents, RV parks, cabins, and treehouses. It’s Airbnb for campers.
Hipcamp lists 13,047 parks, 25,978 campgrounds, and 425,938 campsites all over the States. The folks behind the website completely believe that connecting people with nature brings out the best of human nature, and that’s something I can get behind.
Like Airbnb, regular people rent out their private spaces to nature lovers—but you can also find unique places to spend the night, like on a blueberry farm or a horse ranch. It’s the ultimate option for camping lovers simply because the range of experiences is so wide.
I love the search options, too. You can find sites based on listing type, location, activities in the area, amenities, and even landscapes. Want to set up on a beach, or on a lake? Or near some hiking trails, or a fishing spot? Just use the filters to find the perfect place.
9. Agoda Homes: Rental Apartments & Vacation Properties
Agoda has long been touted as the largest online travel agency in Asia, providing more than 1.8 million quality accommodations ranging from hotels, resorts, budget hostels, and now homes.
Agoda Homes differs from other Airbnb websites because listings include only entire apartments or homes listed by the homeowner. Your contact with the host is minimal—you simply arrange for check-in and check-out (although you’re more than welcome to ask for local recommendations).
Here’s an added perk, though: if you’re traveling solo, you can get up to 12% off your rental price! Just select the “solo traveler” option when you’re searching.
Finally, a reason to stay single.
10. Luxury Retreats : Luxury Home Rentals & Properties From Airbnb
Sometimes splurging on a luxury vacation rental just makes sense when you’re with a group or as a couple, or really, even if you just want to treat yourself.
Luxury Retreats is over the top. Once a private company, Airbnb recently acquired Luxury Retreats and melded their offerings into the Airbnb site, rebranding it as Airbnb Luxe. Now you can find the most luxurious Airbnb properties all in one place.
In addition to insanely beautiful Airbnb properties, they also have a 24/7 concierge service for last-minute itinerary changes, and they all go through a rigorous checklist that’s over 240 items long. You can expect the service and amenities at any one of these to be extra extra!
11. Outdoorsy : Airbnb Alternatives for RVs
Hit the road and explore the great outdoors by renting an RV or campervan with Outdoorsy . If cruising down the California coast or driving cross-country on Route 66 sounds like an ideal vacation, then you might want to think about staying in a campervan or RV instead.
Outdoorsy is a marketplace for RV rentals. Basically, the Airbnb for RVs, with over 14 million RV rentals to choose from. Browse through vintage airstreams, modern campers, and luxury Winnebagos made for every type of trip.
Similar to Airbnb, each listing has a built-in review system so you can see what previous drivers have to say about the rentals. Not only is Outdoorsy a great alternative to Airbnb, but it’s a nice change from staying in traditional apartments or hotels.
And for the RV owners out there, adding your vehicle to the site is a breeze
12. Top Villas: Airbnb Alternatives for Luxury Villas
You’ll find more polished listings on Top Villas, which are targeted to a more affluent crowd. The hotels and rentals listed here all meet very high luxury standards (swimming pools are practically mandatory), so if you’re willing to pay for it, this platform is an obvious choice.
All of their properties are professionally managed, so you can expect an extremely high level of service, attention to detail and outstanding amenities. And, because they cater to luxury travelers, you won’t find rentals in every country. Instead, their reach is limited to 50 of the most popular travel destinations in the world, like Palm Springs, the Caribbean, and Thailand.
13. Homestay: Best for a Local Experience
The main difference between Homestay and most other websites like Airbnb is that you are always living with a host. Naturally, this has its pros and cons depending on what kind of traveler you are. You might find it awkward living with someone you don’t know in their house. On the other hand, it could be the most unique and enriching experiences you have on your trip.
The point of Homestay is to give travelers a taste of authentic local life. Ditch the hostels on your next trip—by staying with people or families who call your destination home, you will get a completely unique, local experience.
With Homestay, you’re not just renting a property from an owner, you’re living with them. They’ll be able to give you some background history of their city, tell you about the regional dish you simply must try and help you avoid the tourist traps.
14. TrustedHousesitters: Watch Plants & Pets, Stay for Free
Does free accommodation sound too good to be true? It’s not! TrustedHousesitters will match you with homeowners who want somebody to look after their place (and, in most cases, a few pets) while they’re away. It won’t cost you a thing—you get a free place to stay, and the homeowner gets peace of mind that their furry BFFs are in good hands.
You will have to pay a small fee for a membership, which is $10.75/month, billed at $129 annually. But that includes unlimited housesits, plus some extra bonuses like insurance and access to a 24/7 Vet Advice Line. This is like pennies on the dollar for budget accommodation.
Both sitters and homeowners go through a vetting process to get verified, so you don’t have to worry about safety. And when it comes to choosing a housesit, the variety is incredible. You could end up tending to goats and chickens at someone’s farmhouse in the middle of Germany, or you might find yourself in the middle of Paris taking care of someone’s cats in an apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
It’s the ultimate local experience, especially for any of you animal lovers.
15. Vacasa: Best for a Short Term Rental
Vacasa has been referred to as a “tech vacation company” thanks to its many AI-driven tools used for things like scheduling post-stay cleans and setting prices for accommodations. From the get-go, you’ll notice that Vacasa is set up with some impressive technology: you can even take 3D tours of the property you’re interested in, and the video quality is so incredible you’ll feel like you’re already there.
They also have 24-hour guest and owner support, and the details of your entire trip are laid out for you in the app, including instructions for WiFi and other details (like how to light the fireplace).
Vacasa is a big supporter of sustainable tourism, and so they hire local housekeepers and on-the-ground property managers. This also means that you get highly professional service and incredibly clean properties all while contributing to the local economy.
Vacasa is really, really good at simplifying the booking process and managing the property for both travelers and homeowners. The result is a smooth, flawless transaction from start to finish.
16. HomeToGo: Compare Airbnb Competitors
Unlike the other Airbnb competitors on this list, HomeToGo is a search aggregator. You can use HomeToGo to search and compare over 17 million accommodations in over 200 countries from a huge number of partners, including Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and more.
The search tools are impressively intuitive, with options for setting flexible dates, finding your preferred destination, staying within your budget, and selecting all the right amenities. A castle in Southern Italy with a boat included? Yup, you can search for that. A budget room in Berlin for under $50 a day? No problem!
HomeToGo is one of the best options for people on a strict budget. Since they compare so many prices for rentals from hundreds of providers, you’re pretty well guaranteed the best price. Booking is done via the partner website (e.g. TripAdvisor or Booking.com), much like how you would with many flight search engines.
And if you’re not exactly sure where you want to vacation, just peruse the listings of some of the most popular travel destinations around the world.
17. Glamping Hub: Airbnb Alternatives for Glamping
If you want to be immersed in nature but still have all the perks of being at home (who doesn’t love a hot shower?), then glamping is the best option for you.
Instead of a basic tent on a rustic campsite, you might end up in a luxurious cabin, or a yurt, or a teepee. As one of the world’s leading luxury camping sites, Glamping Hub has everything from eco-friendly hotels to full resorts—and the options are anything but boring.
What you’ll end up paying really depends on your idea of what “glamping” is. Some listings are as simple as a Volkswagen campervan, while others are more elaborate, like a giant treehouse with an outdoor pool (seriously).
You have lots of filters to work with as well, including an option for only pet-friendly listings. If you’re focussed more on eco-friendly options, keep an eye on the listings for mentions of things like compost toilets and solar power.
18. Casamundo: Airbnb Alternatives in Europe
Casamundo is another search aggregator, but their main focus is Europe. You can also rent out incredibly large holiday rentals for a group of 20 or more people!
For example, a quick search for 20 people in Italy brings up results for some pretty elaborate villas with pools or beachfront access, and at affordable prices. You can even book a full island. Yes, a whole vacation island.
They have more than 700,000 listings throughout Europe (and some in the U.S.) and they’ve been around since 2003, so you can count on their expertise for an excellent booking experience. Their inventory is continuously growing as travelers keep looking for Airbnb competitors.
So if you’re dreaming of taking the fam to Switzerland on a ski vacation, or just lounging in your mansion’s infinity pool in Croatia with a handful of your closest friends, check out what Casamundo has to offer.
19. Golightly: Trusted Rentals Through a Network of Women
This one is for the ladies—Golightly allows women to book through a trusted and verified network of women. This was born out of a need to provide safe and secure accommodation for women, and particularly for solo female travelers.
While more women than ever are traveling solo, it’s true that sometimes women still face certain risks that men do not. Golightly encourages women to “travel often, stay safely, and go lightly.”
The website is entirely invite-only, meaning a vetted member has to vouch for you. Each member and property listing is thoroughly assessed for safety and privacy. Each member also only has five invitations to hand out (this is an attempt to keep a certain level of accountability throughout the network–everyone’s a friend of a friend).
You’ll have to pay $100 for a lifetime membership, but once you’re part of the network, you can travel with whomever you’d like, including men. Plus you’ll get regular notifications about social events and other travel-related activities, and even a membership card with discounts on attractions when you travel.
20. HouseTrip: Similar to Airbnb for Rental Properties in Europe
HouseTrip is another option like Vrbo or Airbnb for vacation rentals owned by TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor has been around for a long, long time—if you’ve been relying on their hundreds of thousands of trusted reviews to make travel decisions, it makes sense that you’d want to try HouseTrip as an Airbnb alternative. Because it’s one of the many companies owned by TripAdvisor, it’s a name you know and trust.
There’s nothing particularly unique about HouseTrip, but it might be the largest vacation rental site in the world, offering places to rent primarily in countries in Europe and the UK, though they do offer listings in other major cities.
If you’re unable to find that perfect beach rental in Menorca, chances are HouseTrip has some options for you.
21. onefinestay: A Luxury Airbnb Competitor in Major Cities
onefinestay is the opposite of the other companies on this list. It features upscale vacation rentals in major cities from the U.S. to Europe to the U.K. to Australia. And onefinestay thoroughly vets their list of hosts by staying in every property. They only list the creme of the crop on their site.
onefinestay calls their curated collection of homes “unhotels.” It’s a fitting name that accurately represents their platform. Location is a determining factor for each one, so if you’re looking for something within walking distance to the heart of the city, onefinestay has the house for you.
What’s more, the owners aren’t allowed to be home during your stay. You’ll never have to share and you and your guests will always have the place to yourself!
22. Third Home: Luxury Airbnb Alternatives Around the World
Third Home has the most luxurious of all the Airbnb competitors on this list!
If you are tired of traveling on a budget, staying in dorm rooms and cheap motels, Third Home will put an end to your accommodation woes. Third Home specializes in high-end rentals. We’re talking mansions, penthouses, and luxury everything. And, the bar is set high for those who want to list on the website. Your home must be worth more than $500k, be in a desirable location, not be your primary home, and have luxurious furnishings.
With such stringent criteria, you can be assured that only the finest places actually make it on to the site. In fact, the average property price on the website is $2.3 million. It beats your average youth hostel, that’s for sure. And, the prices are far more reasonable than you might expect, with some glamorous rentals going for just $200 per person per night.
23. 9flats: A Company Like Airbnb and Vrbo
9flats might not seem too different to Airbnb—and in all honesty, it isn’t—but what distinguishes this Airbnb equivalent is its collection of whole apartments to rent. Instead of just a room in someone’s apartment, 9flats gives you the whole place.
The title of each apartment listing tells you how many people you can fit in the accommodation and the minimum number of nights you need to stay. This makes your search even quicker as you don’t need to open the listing to get the essential details.
Currently, the website operates on almost every continent, bar Australia and New Zealand. You’ll find luxury in Miami Beach, chalets in the Alps and just about everything else in between.
24. Sabbatical Homes: Airbnb Alternatives for the Academic Community
SabbaticalHomes.com is built for the academic community. Here you’ll find homes to rent, swap, or sit in while the owner is on a sabbatical (or if you’re on sabbatical and need a place to live for an extended time as you carry out your studies).
There’s nothing glitzy about this website, that’s for sure. It’s incredibly basic. But Sabbatical Homes operates without ads, and members looking to rent out their homes pay an annual listing fee and a “Made-a-Match” fee each time they find a tenant.
Academics looking for longer stays don’t have to pay a fee at all, but you’ll still have to pay the Made-a-Match fee of $50. It’s basic, but it works!
Universities like UCLA, NYU, and UBC all vouch for Sabbatical Homes, so you know they’re a reputable company. Generally, you’ll set up a meeting to chat with the homeowners before moving in, so you can ensure you’re a great match. The Sabbatical Homes community is a lot smaller than Airbnb, and you’ll be living in someone’s home for longer, so it’s important to get to know who you’re renting from first.
25. Tripping.com: Vacation Rental Websites Listed in One Place
Tripping.com is the largest vacation home rental aggregator in the world, with more than 12 million rentals on its site in 190 countries. A quick search for apartments in Panama City Beach comes back with a whopping 300 results.
They pull listings from more rental sites than any other on this list (over 1,300 providers), including big names like VRBO and HomeAway as well as smaller sites like 9flats and Red Awning.
Tripping.com compares prices across the board and the search filters let you search for specific amenities. There are definitely more amenity options here than other sites on this Airbnb alternative list–you can search for places with pools, fireplaces, backyards, wheelchair access, and more.
I don’t think there’s anything spectacular about Tripping.com other than their sheer volume of rentals, but if you compare their offerings against the other search aggregators, you’re sure to come back with some excellent and fairly priced accommodation options.
What’s the Best Airbnb Alternative for Vacation Rentals?
There are more than a few Airbnb competitors out there. Each of the vacation rental sites listed above all prove to be useful in their own special way, depending on what you’re looking for. Knowing which one to use and when is the most important thing.
Depending on your needs, whether you’re traveling on a budget, looking for a short-term rental property, boutique home, city apartment, luxury villa or you’re looking for a host family in a local community, now you can find the perfect properties for your next trip.
If you’re like me, you owe it to yourself to experience all forms of accommodation! Life is too short. It’s important to broaden your horizons when it comes to travel and choosing where you’re going to stay. So give these Airbnb alternatives a chance. You might find something that suits you better.
And if not, hey, there’s always Airbnb !