Airbnb is often a love or hate type of deal. Many travelers love Airbnb. Others despise the site. Often, the high prices, limited selection in certain areas, and customer service turn travelers away from the service. While I’m still a fanboy, many Airbnb competitors have been popping up. When websites like Airbnb come to mind, most think of sites like:
Sites like the Airbnb competitors above are used for vacation rentals. Most of the time, the properties found on VRBO.com will be large vacation homes that do little good for independent travelers. The prices alone ensure solo travelers won’t find what they’re looking for on such sites. (Learn more about Airbnb here.)
While some have found great accommodation on these sites, there are rarely enough options on these websites for me to bother checking them out, either. These aren’t the Airbnb alternatives I’m going to talk about. Don’t waste your time using sites like the above unless you’re flush with cash and looking for a “vacation” home.
Check out these six Airbnb competitors sure to help you find great accommodation around the world:
Boots on the Ground
The absolute best Airbnb competitor out there is getting your boots on the ground. Instead of booking anything online, just head to your destination and find something while you’re there. Once you’re in your desired destination, you’ll find that renting an apartment of grabbing a hotel is much easier. There are numerous benefits to booking something once you arrive, including:
Absolutely no surprises.
Get the exact amenities and location you want.
Much better deals.
Airbnb will never be as cheap as the deals you’ll be able to find once in a destination. You’ll always find better deals upon arrival. You’ll also know exactly where the location is and if you like the place. While Airbnb does a good job eliminating surprises, there’s only so much you can see through a map and photographs.
I prefer to use this method of finding accommodation in a few different scenarios. If I’m staying over three months in a location, then I’ll always try to rent once I arrive. I’ll also rarely book something ahead of time if I’m going to a tourist destination in low-season. Once you arrive, you’ll find hotels are cheaper than advertised online – if they’re struggling to fill rooms.
Pro Tip: For long-term stays in a city, working with a local realtor is never a bad idea. Realtors are the ultimate Airbnb competitors.
One Airbnb competitor that I’ve used numerous times, Booking.com is my absolute favorite place to book hotels around the globe. You’ll find an incredible selection of hotels and apartments on Booking.com. Plus, the site offers great search features to ensure finding the perfect hotel for your needs is simple.
As an Airbnb alternative, Booking.com features a great selection of fully furnished apartments around the world. In some cities, there’s a better selection of apartments on this site then Airbnb. I’ve also noticed that Booking.com often offers better deals on hotels than trying to book through the hotel itself. The site truly does force the hotel to give them their absolute best price (when they offer daily deals).
I haven’t personally used this Airbnb competitor, but I’ve heard great things about Agoda.com. Many travelers in Asia rave about the site, and a quick check shows many rentals throughout the region. You’ll find a decent selection of hotels and rooms on Agoda in other areas, like Latin America. Although, I’d checking Booking.com before using Agoda in Latin America.
If you’re planning to stay long-term in certain Latin countries, then Encuentra24.com is the perfect starting place. You’ll find fully furnished rentals in these countries on Encuentra24.com:
This Airbnb alternative is easy to use and offers a great selection in certain countries. Just remember when contacting agents on Enceuntra24.com – most of these rentals will only be available for 3+ months to a year. Unless explicitly stated, you won’t be able to rent daily or weekly on this site.
I’ve made it known I’m not a fan of CouchSurfing.com these days. The site just isn’t what it once was. Due to that, I wouldn’t recommend many travelers use this Airbnb alternative. That being said – if budget is your primary concern, then you could save a decent chunk of change staying with a fellow surfer. It’s hard to beat free, especially when traveling to expensive cities on short stays.
TripAdvisor.com isn’t just a review site, you can actually book hotels, apartments, and homes through this Airbnb alternative. While I prefer to use Trip Advisor when looking for reviews, the site occasionally has hotel offers that other Airbnb competitors just don’t have access to.
Quick Tip: Whether you book through Trip Advisor or not, it’s always a good idea to read reviews of any hotel you plan to book.
Finding the Ideal Airbnb Alternatives For Your Needs
While there are numerous Airbnb competitors out there, most don’t come close to competing with the short-term rental giant. Airbnb is the most valuable booking service for the independent traveler moving from city to city. Unless you plan to stay 3+ months in a city, you’ll find none of these websites like Airbnb more useful than the original. For me, it’s Airbnb or boots on the ground.
Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel – one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.