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21 Airbnb alternatives for perfect holiday homes

Settle into a home away from home with the help of these sites similar Airbnb offering alternate accommodation.

Living like a local has never been easier. There's all kinds of sites like Airbnb out there offering you the chance to stay in local homes, quirky places and other unconventional sleeping quarters - all much more exciting than a hotel.

Here are just a few places where you can find your dream accommodation, be it a hilltop villa in Italy, a chic New York City apartment, traditional ryokan in Japan or a cosy chalet in Whistler.

Alternate sites like Airbnb you should check out before booking your next break

1. VRBO
Part of the HomeAway family, VRBO, or Vacation Rentals by Owner, boasts more than a million vacation rental options worldwide.

  • See transport and attraction maps on your search to help you better choose your stay
  • Read reviews from past guests
  • More than 25,000 dog-friendly properties available

Go to VRBO website View coupon codes for VRBO


2. HomeAway
Acquired in 2015 by travel-giant Expedia, HomeAway offers secure bookings on holiday rentals all around the world.

  • Travellers don’t pay any booking fees
  • Make bookings using the mobile app
  • Choose from more than one million listings in 190 countries

Go to HomeAway website View coupon codes for HomeAway


3. Homestay
Experience what it's like to live in another location with Homestay. The Ireland-based site ensures your hosts aren't just leaving you keys to their place for a more authentic homestay experience.

  • Find accommodation in more than 150 countries
  • Hosts are always present during your stay
  • Meet your host and book your stay with video calls

Go to Homestay website View coupon codes for Homestay


4. Home Exchange
Working a bit differently to Airbnb, but still offering you the chance to stay in a local's home, Home Exchange opens you up to an entire world of house swaps. Just pay a joining fee and then start exchanging your home - there's no limit to your swaps!

  • Gain access to more than 65,000 homes in 150 countries around the world
  • Save on the price of hotels and accommodation
  • Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Go to Home Exchange website View coupon codes for Home Exchange


5. Booking.com Apartments
More than hotels, Booking.com is a base for all manner of rentals, including apartment homestays.

Part of Booking.com's extensive offering of stays, apartments and home rentals provide you wish an alternative to the hotel stay whilst providing you with the all the benefits of the site, including user reviews and price matching.

  • Uncover apartment and holiday rentals all across the world
  • Features reviews and recommendations from previous visitors
  • Most reservations are partially refundable

Go to Booking.com Apartments website View coupon codes for Booking.com Apartments


6. Flipkey
Part of TripAdvisor Rentals, FlipKey boast a massive 830,000 properties in 190 countries.

  • Filter searches by property type and useful extras like whether it's wheelchair accessible, is pet-friendly and allows smoking
  • Features certificates of excellence on top properties, just like TripAdvisor does with hotels

Go to Flipkey website View coupon codes for Flipkey


7. TripAdvisor
While it’s best-known for user reviews and advice forums for hotels and resorts, TripAdvisor also offers a huge selection of holiday rentals that can be booked right on the site. In fact, there’s 630,000 of them.

  • Compare holiday homes to hotels in one place
  • Feel secure with the “Peace of Mind” payment protection for online payments
  • Choose from a range of accommodation options including homes, condos, cottages and rural retreats

Go to TripAdvisor website View coupon codes for TripAdvisor


8. HotelsCombined
In traditional HotelsCombined fashion, the accommodation aggregator compares different homestay and alternate accommodation sites for the best rate.

  • Easily compare the prices of hotel rooms and homestays in one list
  • Awarded the “World's Leading Hotel Comparison Website” at the 2015 World Travel Awards
  • Guaranteed to offer you the lowest accommodation rate

Go to HotelsCombined website View coupon codes for HotelsCombined


9. Rentals Combined
Offering competitively priced rentals, Rentals Combined offers both short- and long-term rentals around the world.

  • Guarantees the best rate and does not add additional booking fees at checkout
  • Complete your booking instantly
  • Choose from more than 600,000 properties in more than 75 countries around the world

Go to Rentals Combined website View coupon codes for Rentals Combined



OneFineStay.ParisStay

11. Best for luxury: One Fine Stay

Designed to provide the ultimate homestay experience, One Fine Stay provides "unhotels" – homes in London, Paris, Los Angeles and New York.

So what it that makes One Fine Stay the ultimate homestay experience provider? The company will make sure a representative personally vets each home before it's listed online and you’ll be personally greeted on arrival. Even more? You'll be provided with all the comforts of home including an iPhone with free data and local calls.

  • Get a £20 discount on your first stay
  • Committed to choosing the finest homes to rent out
  • Enjoy boutique toiletries, quality linens and 24/7 customer support by phone or text

Book a stay with One Fine Stay


Stayz.TrenthamVIC

12. Best for Australian holidays: Stayz

Choose from more than 40,000 properties in 2,000 locations across Australia with the country's largest holiday rental site.

Another member of the HomeAway network, Stayz is a Sydney-based rental booking site boasting everything from beachside homes to farmhouses to city apartments. It is limited to just Australian properties, but provides loads of information and inspiration on where you can go in your own backyard.

  • Filter searches by attractions or themes, ranging from cheap to executive and honeymoons to family holidays
  • Receive free property features protection assurance
  • No additional booking fees

Book a stay with Stayz


13. Best for European holidays: Wimdu

Explore Europe and beyond with over 350,000 apartments at your fingertips.

Bred out of Germany, Wimdu specialises in city apartments throughout Europe though is present in over 150 countries worldwide. To date, it features over 350,000 apartments and holiday homes that you can make your own with a few clicks of a button.

  • One of Europe's biggest portal for holiday apartments and homes
  • Trust pilot score of 8.9/10
  • Hosts can list their apartments for free

Book a stay with Wimdu


Aura Sites Like Airbnb

14. Best for unique Australian stays: Aura

One of the largest Australian-owned holiday rentals website, Aura offers a range of holiday homes, apartments and short-term rentals.

After launching its site in 2012, Aura was founded by owners and managers of rental properties looking to improve the process of dealing with renting out their places online. They did it well enough to be recognised by the NSW Tourism Awards just two years after going online.

  • Easily search for properties that offer facilities for pets, wheelchairs and with parking.
  • Guarantees the best price on its accommodations online
  • Properties available right across Australia, from Melbourne CBD apartments to cosy cottages in rural Tasmania to remote beaches on WA's Coral Coast

Book a stay with Aura


15. Best for backpackers: Camplify

Don't like sitting still on a holiday? Hire someone's RV, campervan or trailer when they're not using it with Camplify.

What better way to explore than on a roadtrip? Camplify gives you the chance to do just that in the comfort of a camper without forking out high rental costs. Choose from destinations all across Australia and rest assured - every hire on Camplify includes NRMA nationwide roadside assistance.

  • Caravan, campervan, motorhome and trailer hires start at just $40 per night
  • Stay in unique destinations across the country like remote outback campsites and near quiet beaches
  • Select campervans/RVs can be relocated to suit your travel needs, which is ideal for events and festivals

Book a stay with Camplify


BedyCasa.TelAvivStay

16. Best for budget stays: Bedycasa

Focusing mainly on homestays, Bedycasa claims to be as little as a third of the price of staying in a hotel and offers guests the opportunity to stay in traditional homes in 185 countries around the world.

France-based Bedycasa may have started as a blog, but it's since evolved into a platform designed to help travellers explore in a more economical and authentic way in more than 8,500 cities around the world.

  • Earn a free stay every 10 nights with the loyalty program
  • Experience authentic homestays including riads in Morocco, ryokans in Japan and gîtes in France
  • Choose from more than 50,000 hosts

Book a stay with Bedycasa


HouseTrip.SitesLikeAirbnb

17. Best for entire home rentals: HouseTrip

Get all the comforts at home with HouseTrip's carefully vetted properties in 20,000 destinations around the world.

If you're looking for a private stay, then HouseTrip may be the best option for you. Unlike some of the other homestay and property rental booking sites out there, HouseTrip exclusively lists entire home rentals so you'll never find yourself sharing your space with other guests or the owners.

  • Read reviews from actual guests before making your booking
  • Join the HouseTrip+ rewards program
  • Choose from more than 300,000 properties

Book a stay with HouseTrip


18. Best for the US: Vacasa

Discover over 7,000 vacation rentals across the US, South America and Central America.

Vacasa's point of difference is that it not only managers your whole homestay experience but is responsible for marketing, maintenance and housekeeping, making the process easier for both hosts and guests. It's available in numerous countries around the world, though not yet Australia.

  • All bookings managed through Vacasa direct
  • Homes can be booked for up to 29 days
  • Changes are permitted up to 30 days prior to the reservation

Book your stay with Vacasa


19. Best for all: Innclusive

An all "innclusive" homestay site that celebrates people and helps you connect with the community.

Perhaps Airbnb's greatest rival, Innclusive aims to curate a fun and rewarding holiday experience for all cultures. On top of accommodation it organises Innclusive networking events to help build its community and allow users to meet likeminded travellers.

  • Reward system lets you earn money through referrals
  • Curates networking events
  • Available in 130+ countries

Book your stay with Innclusive


20. Best for families: Kid and Coe

The ultimate platform to discover kid friendly accommodation throughout the world.

Whether you've a family of three or a brood of many, Kid and Coe is a supportive network for families who love to travel offering suitable accommodation and services while on holiday.

  • Partnered with concierge services, baby equipment rentals and itinerary suitable for families
  • All properties are personally reviewed to ensure their suitability for families
  • Stay, host or exchange your home for the holidays

Book your stay with Kid and Coe


20. Best for budget and making friends: Couchsurfing

A homestay that will very likely change you for the better.

Before Airbnb was even conceived there was couchsurfing. It's a homestay of a very different kind that works on a cultural exchange rather than a monetary one and allows you to stay in someone's extra space, whether it be a couch, a spare room or an attic. More often than not your host will be present throughout your stay and generally it's expected you save time to get to know them. From this you'll receive an insight into how they live and their personal recommendations of their city. And, sometimes, you may even come out of it with a long lasting friendship.

  • Community of over 4 million surfers and 400,000 hosts to date
  • It's free to stay, host and attend traveller events
  • Message verification and reviews build trust and safety into the community

Find your next adventure with couchsurfing


What should I know about Airbnb and other homestay sites?

Are sites like Airbnb legal?

In Australia, renting out your home on platforms like Airbnb is generally legal. However, if you live in an apartment complex or are a tenant rather than an owner, the landlord or building management may not allow you to rent your unit out.

As Airbnb is still relatively new and the laws are constantly being changed, it's important to double check with your local council if you have any doubts.

If you're looking to book a stay in an Airbnb, it's also good to know what the laws are where you are, especially if you're booking a stay overseas. Laws differ from destination to destination, so it's important to check whether renting out someone's home for profit is legal for them to do without a license. If you're contacted by the host and they tell you anything that raises a red flag (like for you to pretend to be their relative and not a paid guest), tell Airbnb and try to get your reservation cancelled and refunded.

Some cities where it's recommended to double check local laws are Barcelona and New York City (Manhattan, specifically). Other destinations, like Santa Monica (Los Angeles) and Berlin restrict Airbnb-tyle listings to only offer a room in someone's home rather than an entire home.

Are sites like Airbnb safe?

Just like hotels, listings on homestay sites get reviewed by previous guests, which are usually clearly displayed on each listing. The rating (usually out of five or 10) and the number of reviews are clearly listed.

For example, on this listing on Homestay, the host has an average of 5/5 based on 39 reviews. The green badge on the upper right corner means the host is verified by the company. When looking for a place to stay, find a host that has a higher number of reviews - it will also likely mean they're a more experienced host.

HomestayListingExample

Similar to the green badge used by Homestay, Airbnb has "superhosts", who have received five stars from at least 80% of their guests.

It's also recommended to check the area that you're staying in. Check online to see how far the stay is from the attractions you'd like to visit and check out Google Maps' street view function to get a feel for what the local area is like.

How do you pay for your stay?

Most sites act as a middleman between the guest and host and allow you to pay for your stay through their platform. This is also the safest way to pay, as it will offer a secure payment system and you'll get a confirmation screen or email stating you've paid.

Like hotels, some prefer you pay upfront when you make the booking, while others you'll pay for closer to your stay date.

When you pay upfront, it may take a day or two to process your booking as the host needs to accept your request to stay before your card is charged.

What additional fees do these sites charge?

Provider Additional Fees
Airbnb 6-12% guest service fee + variable cleaning fees
HomeAway Varies, but averages at 6%
VRBO Varies, but averages at 6%
Homestay Booking fee of up to 10%
Home Exchange Annual fee of $180 (Unlimited exchanges)
FlipKey Booking fee of 8-14%
Booking.com Apartments No booking fee
TripAdvisor No additional fees
HotelsCombined External fees may apply
Rentals Combined No additional fees
Tripping No additional fees
Aura No additional fees
Stayz 2% service fee
Wimdu 15% booking fee
Camplify 13-15% booking fee, some hires require a service fee
Bedycasa €3.90 booking fee
HouseTrip 5% of the total cost
Vacasa 10-15% booking fee, some hires require cleaning, pet and hot tub fees
Innclusive 15% booking fee
Kid and Coe 3-15% booking fee
Couchsurfing No booking fee

Want to book a stay at these sites like Airbnb? Use one of our coupons:

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Hawaii homestays from US$60 per night

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Alex Keshen

Alex takes care of the travel section here at finder.com.au. If there's a new sale on tours or cruises, discounted flights or hotels, or anything else that can be on offer, she'll fill you in.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BellaMay 7, 2017

    Hi, I cannot book Airbnb for conference travel funded by my university because they do not supply a tax invoice. Long shot, but are you able to tell me whether any of these websites provide a proper tax invoice so I can use them in an up and coming trip?

    Many thanks

    • Default Gravatar
      LiezlMay 8, 2017

      Hi Bella,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Actually, Airbnb provides VAT invoice whenever VAT is assessed on Airbnb service fees. An invoice is finalized and issued when a reservation is accepted and includes your information (name, address, etc) as you entered it in your Airbnb account.

      As a guest, you can the access the VAT invoice for your reservation following these steps:
      1. Go to Your Trips on airbnb.com
      2. Under the trip, click View Invoices
      3. Select Guest Invoice

      Although some hosts are required by their local regulations to charge a tax, it would be best to communicate with your host before booking to see if they’re able to assist you if you need additional documentation, such as tax invoice, for travel.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

  2. Default Gravatar
    January 8, 2017

    your article quotes airbnb charging a fee of 6-12% however their web site quotes 3% (and free to list). Stayz in your article quotes “no fees” however I checked their website – they charge 7%

    • finder Customer Care
      StephanieJanuary 18, 2017Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your contact.

      The fees referred to in our article are guest service fees that are charged to the guest for making bookings through the accommodation website.

      Hosts are charged different rates for placing listings and welcoming guests. These are the rates you are referring to.

      Hope that helps,

      Stephanie

  3. Default Gravatar
    TinouNovember 2, 2016

    As a host how do I get in touch with Airbnb management team in Australia. This is in case of an issue.

    • finder Customer Care
      HaroldNovember 2, 2016Staff

      Hello Tinou,

      Please note that you have contacted finder.com.au and not Airbnb. To provide you the proper guidance regarding who to contact with a certain issues. It would be more appropriate to reach out for Airbnb customer support because they are the ones who has the direct knowledge on how to address any issues that are related to their website.

      I hope that helps.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  4. Default Gravatar
    lynnSeptember 23, 2016

    I CANT LOG IN HELP

    • finder Customer Care
      StephanieSeptember 23, 2016Staff

      Hi Lynn,

      Please be advised that you have contacted finder.com.au and not Airbnb. If you are trying to login in Airbnb please sign in here. There is a “forgot password” option for you if you have lost your password to your account.

      I hope that helps!

      Stephanie

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