Ask anyone who loves traveling about cheap accommodations and you’ll likely find Airbnb as part of the top recommendations. It’s one of the world’s largest short-term apartment booking services and is hailed as the king in its industry. In fact, many even consider it to be one of the best travel apps that you travelers shouldn’t go without. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only app in its field that can bring you top-notch accommodations. That’s because there are tons of Airbnb alternatives on the market that serve smaller niches.
If you’re looking to switch things up and want to try different things, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ve curated the top 17 best alternative services to Airbnb that you can use in 2021. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Why Do You Need an Airbnb Alternative?
When it comes to booking vacation rentals, it’s undeniable that Airbnb most often comes out as the top-rated app. It’s one of today’s essential mobile apps that everyone — even less travel-savvy people — should have on their smartphones. So, why do people still feel the need to look for alternative apps when Airbnb already exists?
There are multiple reasons why people still do look into Airbnb alternatives. The first reason would be that people might miss out on opportunities that don’t exist within Airbnb. For example, some unique experiences and niche properties only exist in other apps. These could be higher-end properties or even rentals that provide specialized services (e.g., one with concierge service).
Alternative apps to Airbnb also provide cheaper prices compared with Airbnb because they sometimes have lower foot traffic. As a result, fewer people are trying to reserve the same apartment, driving their prices down. Lastly, some local properties simply don’t host using Airbnb and still prefer using property management companies.
Airbnb Alternative: 17 Top Picks for Vacation Rentals
If you’re tired of Airbnb and want to try something new, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top 17 best Airbnb alternatives you might want to try in 2021.
One of the best alternative sites to Airbnb that dominate the Asian market is undoubtedly Agoda Homes. While its 1.8 million listings can’t stand up to Airbnb’s 7 million, it still has a lot to offer. That’s because those 1.8 million listings are guaranteed to be top-quality vacation home rentals. Moreover, its rental types can vary from hotels to budget hostels and even homes.
However, what truly makes Agoda Homes different from Airbnb is that it only allows entire apartments and homes. Hence, you won’t find many shared spaces in Agoda Homes if you’re a lone traveler. Nonetheless, it’s a great way to find entire properties that can afford you and your family a bit of privacy. Moreover, there’s little-to-no contact with hosts and all you need is to check in or out of the property.
On the other hand, booking entire properties doesn’t mean Agoda Homes isn’t welcoming to lone travelers. In fact, the service provides a 12% discount for solo travelers who need to find budget accommodations. Simply select the “solo traveler” option as you’re searching for your listing.
Lastly, in terms of pricing, you may find a large variety of prices in Agoda Homes. That’s because hosts have full control over how they price their properties for rent. Like any other Airbnb alternative, Agoda Homes operates as a middleman between hosts and customers. Hence, Agoda takes a 15-20% commission (on average) from a transaction’s total price. However, it doesn’t place a fixed rate on hosts so these percentages can vary.
Some people look for an alternative to Airbnb because they simply can’t take the lack of service. After all, most Airbnbs charge cheap prices but also don’t come with many services. If you like the service that hotels provide but don’t know where to look, we suggest checking out Booking.com.
Veteran travelers have probably already heard of this Airbnb alternative before. However, if you’re new to these things, then allow us to explain. Booking.com is simply a convenient website where you can book accommodations all over the world. It includes not only hotels but homes and apartments in its listings as well.
What makes Booking.com a great deal is that you can find great deals there even for hotels. Hence, it’s a good choice if you want to keep your budget as low as possible without foregoing luxuries.
Of course, the prices might not be as low as Airbnb and other alternatives, especially if you’re booking hotels. Nonetheless, it’s still a reliable website with a large library for travelers. Moreover, property owners can list on the website for free with only a fee taken per booking completed.
Airbnb is well-known around the world for offering unique accommodations. However, listings on the website don’t always look as aesthetically pleasing as you might want. If you’re particular about the design of your accommodation, then we recommend taking a look at Boutique Homes.
The name says it all about this alternative Airbnb website. Boutique Homes is the best place to find rentals with amazingly stylish properties. You might even find it surprising that the website makes sure of this by applying an invite-only rule for hosts. Hence, all you’ll find in this Airbnb alternative are quality homes with beautiful architecture.
Unsurprisingly, the website caters mostly to wealthier travelers who want a posh place to call home for a while. Hence, we don’t recommend it for travelers on a budget as some listings even cost $2000 per night. However, there are slightly cheaper homes here starting at $100 a night — if you’re willing to scour its listings.
One of the best apps like Airbnb is undoubtedly FlipKey. While it isn’t as large as the booking app giant, it still offers tons of great spaces for short-term vacations. There are about 830,000 listings on the site across 190 countries. Of course, that means the number of options is a lot less than that of Airbnb. However, it’s still great to look around the website nonetheless.
Part of why FlipKey isn’t as popular an Airbnb alternative compared to the others is because of its payment methods. Previously, you would have had to pay the host directly without any convenience of processing payments through the service. However, they have recently changed that policy and added a way to process payments through the site.
On the other hand, FlipKey is a little different when it comes to fees. It charges two main fees: an owner fee and a non-refundable booking fee. The booking fee allows transactions to remain secure and provides round-the-clock customer service. On the other hand, the owner fee is simply additional fees for housekeeping, cleaning, etc.
Websites like Airbnb are usually smaller but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. That’s because, for websites like Homes & Villas By Marriott International, the draw is in their niche.
As you might infer from its name, this Airbnb alternative aims to provide luxury vacation rentals to travelers. These homes are high-end and spacious, usually coming in the form of villas or professionally managed properties. Moreover, they usually have high-class services including contactless check-in, 24/7 service, and more.
So far, the company has over 30,000 luxury homes in over 250 travel locations worldwide. That’s not a lot to choose from compared to other Airbnb alternatives. Nonetheless, it’s great if you need a private vacation home with all the luxuries of high-end hotels. Rentals here also offer guests the opportunity to earn Marriott Bonvoy points. Hence, loyal customers might want to consider it to redeem rewards later on.
On the other hand, the downside of this Airbnb alternative is that there’s a minimum booking requirement. Specifically, customers are required to stay at least three nights at a rental — not ideal for super short vacations. Moreover, the rates can vary depending on the destination so you don’t know what to expect. Some rooms will cost $52/night and others as much as $5,000/night. Nonetheless, there’s no harm in checking it out when you’re planning your next trip.
One of the biggest draws of Airbnb is the opportunity to stay in shared spaces and live like a local. However, if you want to take things to the next level, you might want to consider Homestay instead. That’s because the website doesn’t offer entire spaces and only rents out rooms. Hence, you can always expect to stay with a local owner.
The website takes this to the next level by encouraging customers and owners to interact with each other. As a result, some travelers share meals with their owners and can even snag a free breakfast. It’s a great way to truly live like a local and immerse yourself in the place’s culture and language.
On the other hand, Homestay is great for travelers on a budget as renting single rooms will cost less. However, the website does have a smaller selection compared to Airbnb and other alternative websites. Nonetheless, it’s worth checking out if you’re more adventurous and outgoing.
Most of the websites listed here are legitimate alternative services to Airbnb that act as the middleman. However, an Airbnb alternative doesn’t have to operate this way and can simply be like a search aggregator. That’s precisely what HomeToGo does, maximizing the library of various sources, including Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and even Airbnb.
The website itself is pretty intuitive and convenient, allowing customers to search by reservation date and destination. It also allows users to set their budgets and look for their desired amenities. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it (as long as someone’s offering it somewhere in the world).
On the other hand, HomeToGo is also a great way to look for affordable accommodations. The website compares prices from rentals across its providers to find the best price for your trip. However, the booking itself is coursed through the partner website (e.g., Airbnb, Booking.com, etc). If you’re having trouble narrowing down all the Airbnb alternative sites, check out HomeToGo for all-around search results.
The thing about Airbnb and other alternative websites is that they’re not always friendly to families. That’s especially true for families who want to travel with their young children. Thankfully, one Airbnb alternative has thought ahead and addresses precisely that need: Kid and Coe.
With Kid and Coe, you can find apartments and rentals that have tons of kid-friendly amenities. These include strollers, cribs, toys, kid-friendly beach gear, and more. Families can even filter their searches depending on the age of their child. Additionally, Kid and Coe even offers a handy feature that lists kid-friendly nearby shops, activities, and restaurants.
Through the website, parents can comfortably search for an apartment without having to worry about their young children. Furthermore, it even has a great feature where you can swap your kid-friendly place for someone else’s.
Unfortunately, the website is slightly limited as it only provides 1,400 listings in over 50 countries. Moreover, some of the listings you’ll find in this Airbnb alternative will cost more than its alternatives. Of course, this price range can vary from less than $100 a night to over $1000. Nonetheless, it’s a good option if you want to take your kids on your travels and vacations.
If you’re looking for a high-class vacation rental, then you might want to take a look at One Fine Stay. This Airbnb alternative aims to, well, provide one fine stay for travelers who want 5-star accommodation and amenities.
Like other alternatives on this list, it simply acts as the middleman and doesn’t host the rentals itself. Instead, it manages the payment, booking process, and all other admin-related activities for hosts and guests.
However, what’s unique about it is it also takes care of a guest’s stay meticulously. It does this by providing concierge-level service and even offering 24/7 support. Moreover, the service ensures a rental’s quality by conducting onsite inspections, so you’re sure to get only the best.
Unfortunately, like similar luxury alternative websites to Airbnb, One Fine Stay has a limited library of 10,000 luxury vacation rentals. However, it does offer these listings in most major cities internationally. Lastly, you should certainly expect to pay a high price for these rentals because they don’t come cheap.
Tons of vacation rentals provide affordable accommodations. However, some travelers are simply looking for great quality without minding high prices too much. If that’s you, then you should certainly check out the Airbnb alternative called Plum Guide.
The platform is one of the best websites where you can rent high-quality vacation rentals. In fact, the website is so particular about the quality that it even conducts on-site visits. Through these, their staff conduct tests to check cleanliness, amenities, internet speed, and more. As a result, travelers can be sure that everything on the site goes through a rigorous vetting process beforehand. Perhaps that’s why it only accepts 3% of the properties people submit to the website.
Moreover, this Airbnb alternative also bars hosts from posting their listings on other websites at cheaper prices. Hence, you’ll never be tricked into paying high prices for something that you could have booked for cheaper. However, all of these quality assurance tests mean that The Plum Guide offers pretty expensive homes. You might want to look elsewhere if you’re on a budget.
Most Airbnb alternatives select a niche community instead of targeting the general public. That’s precisely what Sabbatical Homes does as it provides rentals for academics while on sabbatical. These properties can be rented, swapped, watched over for a time, or even shared.
Like any other Airbnb alternative, Sabbatical Homes has a whole library of properties worldwide. Its prices are reasonably affordable so budget travelers don’t have to break the bank to make a reservation. The website keeps things cheap by providing affordable annual listing fees or commission fees for its members. There are no additional charges or hidden fees at all.
If you know any educators going on a sabbatical, this one’s just the right Airbnb alternative to go for. However, it’s not strictly for educators or scholars as anyone can use the spaces listed. Hence, you can certainly check it out for your next vacation.
One of the best Airbnb alternatives on this list is certainly Sonder. At first glance, you might not be able to figure out whether the listings here are hotels or apartments. That’s because Sonder provides rentals that feel like a mix of both by ensuring the quality of its properties.
Sonder does this by renovating the apartments manually, adding high-quality towels, beds, and other amenities. Hence, you can find great quality amenities that you’d normally find in hotels while still staying in a rental apartment. Moreover, it’s unique compared with other alternative apps to Airbnb in that it leases these properties itself.
Most of Sonder’s rentals usually live in popular cities and neighborhoods that are right in the middle of city life. Hence, you’re never too far from all the action when you’re booking through Sonder. In addition, Sonder also provides excellent service to its guests, with 24/7 support and an automated self-check-in process.
Unfortunately, these high-quality amenities and services come at a cost. So, you’ll find higher prices on Sonder compared to Airbnb and apps like it. Moreover, it only offers listings across the US (and select European cities) so it’s not great for international travel. Nonetheless, if you value quality in a rental home within the country, it’s certainly worth checking out.
One of the giants of the travel industry is none other than TripAdvisor. If you’re an avid traveler, then you’ve probably already heard of the service by now. It’s one of the best places to look for reviews, tips, and activities to do on your travels. However, its vacation rental booking service might very well be lesser-known compared to the website itself.
If you’re unfamiliar, TripAdvisor recently expanded its service by offering listing aggregations for rental homes across 200 countries. So far, it already has over 800,000 properties available which you can choose from. Moreover, TripAdvisor utilizes its existing database well by providing user reviews and photos on each property.
Lastly, the TripAdvisor website is fairly simple and should be easy enough to use for most travelers. Moreover, it also has a handy app that allows you to easily view other information on the go. Check out our TripAdvisor app review for more details.
TurnKey is one of the best alternative apps to Airbnb — and it’s no surprise why. One of its main draws is that it uses door codes instead of keys on its properties. While that may seem like a minor feature, it’s great for remaining contactless, especially during the pandemic.
On the other hand, it also gets rid of one step of the process and streamlines your stay. You can check in and out when you want without worrying about returning the key. Moreover, it’s also great to keep your mind at ease so you don’t have to worry about losing keys.
Of course, this isn’t the only offer that TurnKey has to offer. That’s because it has a handy companion app that guests can utilize in many ways. Through it, you can not only obtain your code but also look for entertainment and eatery suggestions. Moreover, its listings all come with full kitchens, fresh toiletries, Wi-Fi, and 24/7 customer support. Unfortunately, TurnKey is only available in the US, so you have to look elsewhere for international accommodations.
Tech-savvy customers who love technological conveniences will certainly appreciate Vacasa. That’s because this Airbnb alternative uses many AI-based tools for scheduling cleaning times, setting prices, and more. The website even comes with 3D tours of the various properties listed.
Moreover, Vacasa has a handy app that lists all of a guest’s and owner’s information. This is truly all you need when it comes to double-checking details about a guest or reservation. The app also contains essential details for guests including Wi-Fi and instructions for certain amenities.
Furthermore, Vacasa also provides great 24-hour customer (and owner) support. It also hires local housekeepers, property managers, and everything else to support the local economy. Lastly, the prices are fair and reasonable for vacation rentals, so it’s not too cheap but not too expensive, either. If you’re looking for an extremely convenient booking experience with flawless execution, Vacasa should be your go-to Airbnb alternative.
One of the biggest websites like Airbnb is probably Vrbo. With over 2 million listings worldwide, we can see why. The app not only has a large library of listings worldwide but also specializes in renting out entire spaces. Hence, you won’t find any sort of shared space that might compromise your privacy as a guest.
Moreover, these properties are usually large with backyards that truly give you a home away from home. This makes Vrbo the ideal Airbnb alternative for families and large groups who want an extended vacation. Moreover, these vacation homes cost about the same as Airbnb so there’s nothing to lose in terms of price.
One of the best Airbnb alternatives that seem to dominate Europe is Wimdu. With the site, you’ll get access to over 300,000 properties in over 100 countries internationally. Like Airbnb, the website specializes in short-term rentals and streamlines the booking experience.
However, unlike Airbnb, Wimdu seems to specifically favor city apartments. Hence, it’s great if you’re looking to stay in apartments right in the middle of bustling cities. On the other hand, it also provides reasonably affordable properties and varies its prices based on the rental type. If you’re looking for a strong Airbnb alternative in Europe, you should certainly give Wimdu a try.
The Bottom Line
There are tons of Airbnb alternatives on the market that provide various rentals across the globe. Some offer more niche services and bookings that focus on specific needs. Others will focus on a specific experience that customers might be looking for. Regardless of what type of traveler you are, there’s certainly an Airbnb alternative you can look into.