to top

Airbnb Alternatives: Vacation Rental Websites You Should Know

Airbnb Alternatives: Vacation Rental Sites You Should Know

Sometimes hotels just don’t cut it, especially when traveling with a family or a large group of friends, or even if you’re a solo traveler, such as myself, who just want to stay somewhere unique. An often-overlooked alternative to hotels are vacation rentals. Often times you can rent properties long-term or short-term; whatever fits your needs. You can rent homes, apartments, condos, beach houses, tree houses, yurts, you name it, you can probably rent it. You just have to know where to look.

By now, we have all heard of Airbnb for accommodation rentals and if not shame on you let me bring you out of the Dark Ages. Airbnb is an online community where hosts can list their properties, and people can discover and book accommodations in over 190 countries around the world. It’s pretty awesome, to say the least. If you’ve never booked an Airbnb, click here and enjoy $30 off your first stay, on me :).

As much as I love Airbnb it is not the be all and end all for renting accommodations. There are tons of other sites that you may not have even heard of that offers vacation rentals at affordable prices. So here is a list of sites you should know…Bookmark it, Pin it, Save this post for later:

FlipKey

Vacation Rentals with FlipKey

FlipKey is powered by TripAdvisor, so not only do you have over 300,000 vacation rentals to choose from, you also have access to authentic guest reviews and photos from the largest travel community in the world. Flipkey also verifies each owner and property, through background checks and authentication process, to ensure all owners are legit and that guests have peace of mind and reassurance when booking properties.

Roomorama

Vacation Rentals with Roomorama

Here’s another favorite. Like the other sites, Roomorama offers short-term accommodations; rent a single room or an entire property. Roomorama offers about 300,000 properties in about 5,000 locations. Whether you’re looking for a swanky Manhanttan loft, or an entire Balinese villa for some R&R, Roomorama has you covered. One of the other great perks about Roomorama is you receive a $50 credit to use towards your first booking when you sign up here.

Booking.com

Vacation Rentals with Booking.com

This is one of my favorite sites for booking accommodations. With over 960,000 properties, worldwide, you definitely won’t find a shortage of options. Not only does Booking.com have a “Best Price Guaranteed” policy, they also have free cancellation on most rooms. For somebody like me who will change my mind on whim, this is perfect! I also love this site because it’s a one-stop shop. You can search hotels and vacation rentals all in one place. Unlike some of the other sites, they also allow you to book all rentals instantly. There’s no waiting for an owner’s approval. They make the entire process painless and convenient.

One Fine Stay

Vacation Rentals with One Fine Stay

Known for their “Handmade Hospitality”, this site is the concierge service of short-term rentals. You will only find them in select cities, such as London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Rome, but each home is carefully curated by One Fine Stay. They visit each and every home and make it presentable for guests. They even go as far as stocking the bathroom with Kiehl’s toiletries, towels, and providing pristine linens for the beds. It’s like a hotel and vacation rental all wrapped up in one. Also, if discretion and privacy is of utmost importance (any celebs or public figures reading WOAW? This is for you 🙂 ) One Fine Stay ensures both the owner and renter remain anonymous. Another nice touch, a representative from One Fine Stay will meet you upon your arrival to make sure you get all settled and everything is up to par for you. And the icing on the cake, guests are provided with an iPhone equipped with a SIM card for local calls, data, and local recommendations to use at their leisure. Talk about service!

Of course with this type of service you’re not going to find hostel-type prices. You can expect to pay a minimum of $150 USD to anywhere upward of $1300+ USD per night.

VRBO

Vacation Rentals with VRBO

You may have heard of VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner). It’s been around for a while. It was the Airbnb before Airbnb. VRBO has since been acquired by HomeAway, another oldie but goodie. HomeAway originally targeted owners who wanted to rent their holiday/vacation property and not their main residence, but now you can find properties in over 190 countries; including everything from beach houses to castles.

The processes and policies for these 2 companies are pretty much identical.

Tripping.com

Vacation Rentals with Tripping.com

Tripping.com is a meta-search site for vacation rentals. It searches and compares listings from all the major sites. So, if you want a one-stop shop for vacation rentals, this is your place. It is like the Skyscanner (or Kayak if you’re more familiar with this site) of vacation and short-term rentals.

Tips for Booking Vacation Rentals:

  • ALWAYS read reviews! This is a must. Reading reviews gives you insight on the good, bad, and the ugly. When I read reviews I look for things that are mentioned repetitively (especially when it comes to cleanliness, location, and wifi). If these 3 things are repetitively getting not so great reviews that property is automatically out. Also, if a location has no reviews or very few reviews then usually it’s on to the next. There’s only been 1 or 2 times where the property and price WOW’d me and I took my chances. Like this amazing condo I rented in Dubai.
  • Only book properties that has credit card or PayPal payment options. NEVER wire money. Can we say SCAM?!
  • Ask the host any and all questions prior to completing your booking. For example, if the property is listed as a 3 bedroom, but the pictures aren’t corresponding, ask about it. Make sure it’s really 3 bedrooms and not 2 bedrooms plus a sunroom or den that can be used as a bedroom. Anything that is not clear, ask up front BEFORE you pay your money.
  • Speaking of photos…be sure to peep those out. No photos or 1 photo is an automatic no go for me. Actually, any listing that does not have at least 1 photo of the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living area is a no go for me.
  • Use discernment. If a property or your interaction with the host during the booking process doesn’t “feel” right, then it probably isn’t. Move on to the next. There are plenty more properties out there.

 

What has been your experience with vacation rentals? What is your favorite site for booking? Let me know in the comment section below!

Don’t forget your FREEBIES and DISCOUNTS!

Airbnb: $25 off your first stay

Booking.com: Up to 50% off deals for subscribing

Roomorama: $50 credit towards a booking

 

 

Note: There are some affiliate links on this post, which means I will earn a small percentage of the sale if you purchase through them, at no additional cost to you. 

Colby

  • Tara

    Great list. I’ve only used VRBO and AirBnB, and we’ve always been really happy with the offerings. Can’t wait to check out these other sites.

    July 5, 2016 at 11:11 am Reply
  • Kemkem

    Yep! I love Booking.com and VRBO. I have used Flipkey once but l always forget about it. Nowadays l find AirBnB a little more expensive than hotels, so we have been doing more hotel stays :-). I wrote an article like 2 years ago, but l am gearing up for another rant 🙂

    July 5, 2016 at 12:29 pm Reply
  • Tom

    Some great sites here, will be sure to check these out!

    July 5, 2016 at 1:06 pm Reply
  • Anita Sane

    Thanks for useful tips. It’s always good to have more options.

    July 5, 2016 at 6:47 pm Reply
  • Ruth Johnston

    Flipkey is good – great article

    July 5, 2016 at 9:30 pm Reply
  • Kristine Manley

    Love the list, and will be checking these out. Thank you

    July 6, 2016 at 2:26 am Reply
  • Keisha Rogers

    Whew! This is GREAT. I’ve had mostly great experiences with Airbnb so far, and I use Booking a LOT. I’m planning to use Flipkey later this year for the first time. Good to have more options!

    July 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm Reply
  • Tamshuk

    Booking.com has been my favorite and preferred one till now because I always get reasonable prices.
    Ill check out the other websites too. They look interesting.

    July 7, 2016 at 9:31 am Reply
  • Natasha

    Such a great resource — I’m always looking for new places to stay and sites to book on. I had never heard of One Fine Stay so I will be sure to check that out! 🙂

    July 7, 2016 at 9:53 am Reply
  • Cristina

    THanks Colby! I find some great new options to take a look at when it comes to vacation rental!

    July 8, 2016 at 7:36 am Reply
  • Helena

    What a great article! I love AirBnB and Booking.com so it was great to see some other similar resources.

    July 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm Reply
  • Kirstie

    This is really useful, and I hadn’t heard of a few of these! One Fine Stay sounds especially cool!

    July 9, 2016 at 9:25 am Reply
  • Jonno

    Great list of resources, not heard of all of them but will certainly check them out now. We use Airbnb almost exclusively and Booking.com to fill the gaps. Haven’t experienced Airbnb being more pricey than hotels except in San Francisco. All fabulous except our last booking (most recent post on our blog). Need to find some longer term bookings for next year now so will check all your recommendations . Excellent.

    July 9, 2016 at 2:35 pm Reply
  • Carol Colborn

    Nice useful tips at the end of the post! Have only tried booking.com from these options but now I will try airbnb or vrbo1

    July 9, 2016 at 7:26 pm Reply
  • Vicki Louise

    I’m a big fan of booking.com and love trip advisor so Flipkey would be a natural progression. Great idea to showcase options other than AirBnB – their market saturation means they don’t always offer the best deal!

    July 10, 2016 at 5:05 am Reply
  • Lisa

    Booking.com is a good site, never used Airbnb. Its great to have so many choices now, definitely some great deals to be had. Thanks for all the tips!

    July 10, 2016 at 1:21 pm Reply
  • Nancy Pitman

    We just returned from staying at our first AirBnB and had an incredibly good experience. We actually received more than we asked for and fell in love with the owners. We realize that may not happen for every booking and appreciate your tips to help protect us on future bookings.

    July 11, 2016 at 5:28 am Reply
  • Karla at GlobalETA

    What a great list – thanks for sharing. Like you, I won’t book a place that I can’t find reviews or photos for. You just never know and it is so nice to be able to depend on other traveler reviews. I also like hostelz.com. Will be pinning for future reference!

    July 11, 2016 at 2:55 pm Reply
  • Anisa

    I didn’t realize there were so many! I tend to use VRBO, but will have to try some of the other ones.

    July 11, 2016 at 5:53 pm Reply
  • Criz

    I haven’t tried any of these vacation rentals before because I normally stay with friends and families or in hotels. Thanks for sharing, this will come in handy in my future trips for sure. 😉

    July 11, 2016 at 8:54 pm Reply
  • melody pittman

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am actually curious about getting more friendly with these options so it came at the right time for me. I mostly want to try Flipkey.

    July 11, 2016 at 10:55 pm Reply
  • travelling chingrita

    This is really helpful, I haven’t Air BnBed but I’ve always looked for alternative and this consolidated list is great. I have to say I’m iffy on bookings.com as I have checked with hotels directly and they seem to have lower rates than booking.. it’s a bit strange. i’m going to try some of these on this list the next time i’m in the states or europe 🙂

    July 11, 2016 at 11:40 pm Reply
  • Christine Maguire (@thetraveloguer)

    Great poST! I hadn’t heard of a few of these. One Fine Stay sounds really cool, little touches really make a difference!

    July 12, 2016 at 5:26 pm Reply
  • Lara Dunning

    This is SO GREAT! Most of these I’ve never heard of and I’m into alternative stays so this is wonderful. Thanks for posting! Saving!

    July 15, 2016 at 2:57 am Reply
  • South lake Tahoe vacation rental

    Hi
    It is meaningful information. Thank for your posting. I hope to see more than that.

    January 24, 2017 at 11:18 pm Reply

Leave a Comment