2,160-square-foot apartment in Rome available for rent through
Plum Guide. | Courtesy of the Plum Guide
Where to find your ideal vacation rental
Slick apps and cheaper pricing make booking a vacation property
easier than ever, whether you’re paying to sleep in someone’s
extra room—the true definition of the “sharing
economy”—or renting an entire house.
But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for companies looking to
take advantage of the short-term-rental market. Airbnb is
undeniably popular; now in 81,000 cities, with six million
rental listings worldwide. Despite this success, the company and
its competitors have battled
local zoning laws that prohibit short-term rentals and fought
grassroots movements aiming to limit where and how short-term
rental companies can operate.
On top of this, Airbnb has come under
fire for its role in campaigning for lax rental laws,
been criticized for exacerbating the already tight housing
market in America’s biggest cities, and faced serious accusations
racism—highlighted by the
#AirbnbWhileBlack hashtag. For some, Airbnb’s lack of
questionable practices have pushed people to look elsewhere for
vacation rentals, even as the company works to
combat these problems.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up alternatives to Airbnb and
HomeAway, the two biggest players in the short-term rental
industry. Whether you use this list as part of a deliberate choice
to support an Airbnb competitor—or just because all your favorite
Airbnb listings are booked—it’s a helpful guide to other
options in the vacation rental market.
From a vacation rental company that focuses on families to one
that wants to combat racism, here are nine alternatives for your
Courtesy of Sabbatical Homes
A listing service dedicated to academics and scholars,
Sabbatical Homes provides short-term and medium-term home rentals
and exchanges in 57 countries worldwide. Low listing fees keep
costs down, and members work out rental terms with each other. Once
a member has found a match, they can decide on an honor-based
success fee of any amount that helps support Sabbatical Homes and
keeps the site advertisement-free.
Vacasa A 6-bedroom rental in Escondido, California.
This Portland-based vacation rental company may not be as large
as Airbnb—it offers around
14,000 vacation homes around the world—but it offers a few
key differences. Instead of relying on the home sharing system,
Vacasa curates the properties and pays over 2,000 employees to
clean and maintain them. According to
Fast Company, Vacasa workers earn at least $15 an hour at their
jobs in order to comply with the company’s fair wage
Even though Vacasa isn’t a peer-to-peer home sharing company,
it still offers good prices on vacation rentals and provides more
consistency than competitors like Airbnb.
The Plum Guide
Courtesy of the Plum Guide
This new London-based startup bills itself as the Michelin Guide
for vacation homes. The company selects its properties based on a
150-point criteria and a team that visits each home to test
everything from the neighborhood to the WiFi speed, with a sharp
eye for interior decor. Currently in London, Paris, New York, Los
Angeles, Rome, Milan, Copenhagen, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon,
Berlin, and Tel Aviv, the Plum Guide also has a customer service
that team that is available via call back, email, or a live
Founded in summer 2016 in response to the racism experienced by
people trying to book lodging on Airbnb, Innclusive is a
peer-to-peer rental platform with an admirable goal: “We’re
building a place where you can travel with respect, dignity, and
love, regardless of race, s****l orientation, gender
The ever-growing site makes sure that people can’t
discriminate when booking lodging by only showing photos after
bookings have been confirmed, offering instant booking on almost
all of the listings, and preventing hosts from denying a booking to
one guest and offering it to another.
Kid and Coe
Via Kid and Coe A nursery in a 2-bedroom, 2-bath vacation rental
that costs $500 per night in Manhattan Beach, California.
It’s the eternal problem for parents everywhere: Hotel rooms
are pricey but many vacation rentals don’t offer enough amenities
and convenience to be worth the hassle. Enter Kid and Coe, a site
launched in 2013 that offers plenty of kid-focused amenities.
Listings tell parents exactly how many people—and what age—the
property can handle, and offer extensive descriptions of toys, baby
gear, and beds.
We love the extensive amount of information provided on each
property, with paragraphs on “Perks for the Parents,” “Why
Kids Love It,” “Things to Know,” and even “Style Notes”
describing the decor. The downside? Inventory can be limited and
some of the listings are downright expensive.
If architecture and design is just as important as relaxation on
your vacation, Boutique Homes could be the site for you. With a
highly curated list of design-driven homes—listed by invitation
only—Boutique Homes offers dramatic locations and stays in some
of the most beautiful properties in the world.
Beyond architectural gems, Boutique Homes also offers an
impressive list of event venues available for rent. While the
number of listings is substantially less than other sites,
jaw-dropping photos and fun descriptions more than make up for
FlipKey A 1-bedroom, 1-bath condo in New Orleans that rents for
$125 per night.
Now owned by TripAdvisor, FlipKey is similar to Airbnb but
offers plenty of guest reviews and property owners who are verified
by FlipKey staff. Beyond this, expect the same experience as the
other big competitors, and it offers payment protection through its
website. Note that FlipKey doesn’t offer shared rooms, but you
can use lots of filters to find the perfect dog-friendly,
kid-friendly, or waterfront property.
If cost is your biggest deciding factor, consider booking with
Homestay. There aren’t any private houses or apartments on this
site, and every stay is a hosted experience. But you also get an
in-the-know local to give advice, help you navigate the city, and
be a friendly face. There aren’t as many options in some cities,
but the prices make Homestay a reasonable option.
With an emphasis on city apartments, Wimdu has about 350,000
properties around the world and is especially popular in Europe.
There’s a nice selection of well-priced properties, from a room
in an Amsterdam apartment to a whole-house getaway in Croatia.
Helpful filters let you pick the type of property, price, and
amenities like whether there is a washer and dryer or an
Source: FS – All – Architecture 10
The 9 best alternatives to Airbnb