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You Should Know This: Alternatives To Airbnb

While the vacation rental giant dominates the market, it's important to remember that alternatives do exist. We've crafted a list of reliable Airbnb alternatives that will assist you in discovering the ideal vacation rental for your next trip.

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By Eglė

Published: Jul 12, 2023 min read

You Should Know This: Alternatives To Airbnb

There are plenty of Airbnb options you should know. If you wonder why - the reason is simple. While the platform boasts various rental options, the prices (and those sneaky fees) have steadily climbed since its establishment in 2012. Surprisingly, AirBnB now often surpasses the cost of a reasonable hotel. To make matters more challenging, properties can be fully booked months in advance during peak periods. Considering these factors, we understand the need for alternatives. Fear not, for we have crafted a nifty guide to help you navigate through options to AirBnB. If you're seeking a more affordable or distinct experience that deviates from your AirBnB memories, rest assured—we've got you covered!

VRBO

Not so long ago we shared our research on Making the Right Choice for Your Next Vacation: Airbnb or VRBO. Nevertheless, we will shortly review this platform. 

Vrbo, a pioneer in the vacation rental industry, was among the first platforms to provide property owners a space to connect with travelers. While Vrbo boasts an impressive collection of 2 million rentals, it has experienced slower growth compared to Airbnb. Both Vrbo and Airbnb offer a similar range of rental options, and many property owners list their accommodations on both platforms. If you're considering Airbnb, it's worth exploring Vrbo as well. You might discover that the same property is available at a lower price. It's important to note that Vrbo exclusively offers whole properties for rent, as opposed to shared homes.

Pros: Great search tools; renting entire property; good choice for a group of people or family.

Cons: Inconsistent property owners, confusing cancellation policies.

9flats

9flats presents travelers with over 6 million locations to choose from. Similar to Airbnb, it offers a wide range of rental types, including guest houses, villas, and even private rooms for those seeking a more budget-friendly option.

Operating as an aggregator for other travel sites, 9flats provides an alternative interface for users who may prefer a different experience compared to other prominent platforms. With convenient features such as instant booking, it simplifies the reservation process. Additionally, the results page showcases the maximum occupancy of each listing, enabling quick scanning and efficient decision-making. Whether you're looking for a whole apartment or a private room, 9flats offers a variety of options to suit your needs.

Pros: Insta booking, scannable search results. 

Cons: No unique listings.

INTERESTING FACT 🔥 Did you know that some of Airbnb properties can be found cheaper on other websites, but as you can not check all the websites yourself, we have developed RatePunk Airbnb Feature that can help you out!  Download RatePunk browser extension now! 

You Should Know This: Alternatives To Airbnb- 9flats - RatePunk

SONDER

If you're in search of a service that combines the best aspects of Airbnb with the comforts of a hotel, Sonder is worth exploring. Unlike other platforms, Sonder owns or leases all of its listings, ensuring a consistent experience without dealing with private owners or shared spaces. Currently operating in 10 countries with approximately 6,300 available listings, their selection is somewhat limited but growing steadily.

Each Sonder unit is thoughtfully equipped with a full kitchen, mini toiletries, and Wi-Fi, catering to the needs of travelers on both short and long-term stays. The user-friendly app allows for contactless check-ins and enables guests to make requests for clean towels and receive personalized restaurant recommendations.

Pros: High quality standards, 24/7 concierge service.

Cons: Quite narrow listing. 

HOPPER HOMES

Initially established as a travel booking service, Hopper has expanded its offerings to include a vacation rental program. With an impressive collection of over 2 million listings worldwide, Hopper Homes ensures a high standard of quality by collaborating with professional property managers.

Setting itself apart with a streamlined app-only interface (sadly, it doesn’t work on desktops), Hopper provides users with a convenient and focused experience, minimizing distractions commonly found on other platforms. Travelers can book their stays instantly, bypassing the approval process, and benefit from flexible cancellation policies.

In an effort to help customers save even more during their travels, Hopper is developing its own rewards program called Carrot Cash. This upcoming program will offer additional opportunities for cost savings and further enhance the value provided by Hopper.

Pros: Nice interface, insta booking. 

Cons: Doesn’t work on desktops. 

PLUM GUIDE

Plum Guide presents the crème de la crème of travel accommodations, offering exquisite rental options. This Airbnb alternative sets itself apart by curating only the top 3% of rentals in each destination, ensuring that you're presented with the most desirable choices. (Some cases even better than on Airbnb Lux). With a meticulous vetting process that rigorously evaluates properties against 150 strict criteria (while Airbnb Luxe applies 300 point inspection and vetting), Plum Guide guarantees an unparalleled standard of excellence.

While prices on Plum Guide may exceed those found on other platforms, the investment is well worth it for those seeking a luxurious vacation experience. Rest assured, Plum Guide does offer price matching, ensuring that you receive the best value. (At least they state that.) 

Pros: Curated list of fancy rentals; you get the rental as it was advertised. 

Cons: High prices.

You Should Know This: Alternatives To Airbnb - Plum Guide - RatePunk

FLIPKEY

FlipKey, a subsidiary of Tripadvisor, leverages its parent company's extensive collection of user reviews to enhance its own offerings. What sets FlipKey apart is its improved search functionality, allowing travelers to find accommodations with specific amenities more easily. Whether you're seeking gardens, fireplaces, or nearby walking trips, FlipKey's search tools cater to your specific preferences.

While FlipKey is suitable for solo travelers, its true strength lies in accommodating groups. It can be quite challenging to find a place large enough to accommodate a group on other platforms, let alone finding one that suits everyone's individual tastes. FlipKey tackles this issue head-on, addressing the unique needs of groups and facilitating the search for a perfect shared vacation rental experience.

Pros: Perfect filtering by amenities, uses Tripadvisors user reviews.

Cons: Not adapted to solo travelers, inconsistent property owners. 

HOMESTAYIN

If cultural immersion is your top priority when traveling, Homestayin is the ideal choice. This platform connects you with hosts who open their homes, providing you with a room where you can not only stay but also share meals and gain insights into the local area. Operating in 129 countries, Homestayin offers a user-friendly matching tool that helps guests and hosts find the perfect fit for their cultural exchange.

Homestayin serves as an affordable alternative to traditional hotels while offering a significant upgrade from typical hostels. Whether you're a backpacker seeking authentic experiences or a student looking for long-term rentals, Homestayin caters to your needs, ensuring memorable and enriching stays. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture with Homestayin as your trusted travel companion.

Pros: Great for solo travelers, affordable, local experience. 

Cons: Lack of privacy, not for everyone. 

MARRIOTT HOMES AND VILLAS

In 2019, the renowned hotel brand Marriott quietly ventured into the home rental business, captivating the attention of avid travelers. One of the main attractions of this venture is the opportunity to earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for vacation rentals, unlocking a world of possibilities for travel rewards enthusiasts. Unlike Airbnb and most of its competitors, which lack rewards programs, Marriott Bonvoy allows for the potential of booking a vacation rental using points, providing a pathway to enjoy stays "free" of charge. Earning Bonvoy points is made relatively easy through credit cards and transfer partnerships, further enhancing the appeal.

However, it's important to note that the redemption value of Bonvoy points for bookings through the Homes and Villas program may not always offer the optimal return. To ensure a worthwhile value, it is advisable to compare the cash and point costs of booking a rental, making an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences.

Pros: Can earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points, high  quality rentals. 

Cons: Low point value for redemptions, limited list of rentals.

BOOKING

Booking.com, widely recognized as a leading global flight and hotel search tool (I’d say most likely monopoly), also delves into the realm of vacation rentals. Particularly in major international cities, many of the properties available are apartments situated within professionally managed buildings. While these accommodations may lack the distinctive charm and character found in some of Airbnb's more vibrant listings, they compensate by providing a hassle-free booking and check-in process.

Although Booking.com may not enjoy the same level of familiarity in the United States as other rental platforms, it remains a noteworthy option to consider, especially when embarking on international travel. 

Pros: Professionally managed property booking, many international properties in one place.

Cons: Limited list of properties, no personal touch. 

Jul 12, 2023

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