Airbnb has grown to be one of the more popular alternatives to a traditional hotel, but there are other options out there. Here are a few services that share a lot of the same perks.
Expedia is the parent company to quite a few Airbnb alternatives, including HomeAway. The property profiles offer info on a number of bedrooms/bathrooms, minimum stay requirements, images, property descriptions, reviews, information on the owners, amenities, and availability. You must sign a rental agreement and usually pay 10-50% upfront to confirm the reservation. You also may have to provide a security deposit. Cancellation policy, and other details, depend on the rental agreement you sign with the property owner.
Vacation Rental By Owner, aka VRBO, is much more similar to Airbnb. It offers worldwide accommodations from people willing to rent out their space, and apart from the selection, it isn't that different from Airbnb. The property profile lists bedrooms and bathrooms, photos, reviews, minimum stay requirements, amenities offered, and availability. According to their site, cancellation and payment policies vary by property.
Not as nifty looking as some of the other sites, Vacation Rentals offers options for those looking to book in the United States as well as abroad. The property profile gives basic information like amenities provided, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, prices, and nearby attractions.
Asian influenced Agoda is a newer site on the scene. Agoda was a pioneer in non-hotel accommodation, offering villas and homes throughout Asia from the very start.
Owned by TripAdvisor, FlipKey has both domestic and international offerings. Each property profile has info on the managers, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a description of the place, reviews, amenities, availability, and photos. Cancellation and payment policies vary by property based on what the manager offers. Flipkey offers the ability to browse listings by certain parameters (cheap, kid-friendly, etc.) and trip type (adventure, beach, city, etc.).
If you're willing to crash on someone's couch, Couchsurfing helps you find a host who lets you stay for free. Typically, in exchange for crashing on their couches you make a meal (or pay for a meal/drinks/etc.) for your host. Besides cutting your costs, Couchsurfing allows you to meet locals who want to share their culture with you and will give you the behind-the-scenes guide to their location. The community aspect of Couchsurfing is pretty important and there are a ton of community events offered through the site. This is definitely the most informal of all these services, as you can see in their quirky information videos.
Agoda is one of the world’s fastest-growing online travel booking platforms. Established in 2005, the start-up quickly expanded in Asia and was acquired in 2007 by Booking Holdings Inc. – the world’s largest seller of rooms online. Agoda is headquartered in Singapore, and they provide a network of over 2 million accommodation properties including apartments, villas, homes, and hotels backed by over 15 million traveller reviews.
Many hotels, B&Bs and short-stay self-catering rental agencies offer guests an incentive to book direct rather than through a booking engine or agency. Aside from getting a better rate, you could be rewarded with a discount, room upgrade or complimentary extra.
Beyond using these services to stay with locals during your travels, you can also be a host on many of them. Hosting people is a great way to meet those from other places, show them the best your home city has to offer, and possibly make some extra income. These are just some of the options you have besides Airbnb, let us know your favourite accommodations service as a reply to this post.