Websites like Airbnb: Airbnb has changed the way we travel as much as few companies. But the market leader is far from the only provider of (private) short-term rental and holiday apartments. Maybe these alternatives to Airbnb will better suit your needs. The idea behind the Airbnb model is simple and sympathetic: instead of spending the night in faceless hotels, you are accommodated by private individuals. This is not only cheaper for you, but also a much more personal experience.
This also has advantages for the landlord: You can
easily rent empty rooms to tourists and thus earn a little something with
little effort. Although Airbnb is on everyone’s lips, it is far from the only
provider of holiday and short-term apartments. Since its foundation,
many competitors have emerged. Some just offer an alternative, others focus on
specific audiences or regions.
Are you looking for a private apartment?
Are you traveling to China soon or do you need a wheelchair-accessible
short-term apartment? In the following list, you will find some suggestions.
Further information I like to receive in the comments.
Short term apartment rentals
In recent years, I have rented several times
during my travels for a few days in an apartment. Short term apartments have
some advantages over hotels and hostels:
Hosts: While large hotels are often anonymous
building blocks, the apartments offered at Airbnb and Co. are mostly operated
by cosmopolitan individuals. This results in exciting encounters. In Pula, for
example, our hostess grilled regularly with the guests and talked about their
life in Istria.
Location: While hotels often focus on specific
neighborhoods, private accommodations are better distributed. Where
locals live, you usually have cheap shopping and local restaurants and cafes.
However, you sometimes buy this advantage with longer ways to the sights.
The price: Especially if you are traveling with
children or with several friends, private apartment rental sites offer
great savings potential. If you still have a kitchen and occasionally cook
yourself, you can also save another restaurant visit.
The Internet: For some inexplicable reasons,
many hotels are not willing to offer their guests a fast and well-functioning
Internet. How many times have I been angry about idiotic login masks? For
private apartments, I had hardly any problems so far.
Other sites like Airbnb
When I search for vacation rentals by owner in
a city, Airbnb is part of the research routine. By its own account, the website
lists over 4 million listings in over 190 countries listings.
No competitor has such a large offer.
Nevertheless, my relationship with Airbnb is somewhat clouded. On the one hand, because websites like airbnb is important to me and I basically like to avoid the top dog. On the other hand, because in the past I have had mixed experience with customer service. What I generally less like about Airbnb:
Registration Process: To rent a choose as a
guest, you must complete a complicated registration process by uploading a copy
of the ID card and providing your social media accounts. Since Airbnb wants to
force me to re-register, I have not used the service anymore.
Application procedure: If you have found a suitable
apartments for you, you have to apply. Lots of time is lost because the hosts
can give up to 24 hours to answer. Hosts can also refuse you because they do
not like your nose (even though a toothless anti-discrimination policy claims
Advance payment: Once a host accepts you, you
must pay the full amount. For a short-term booking sites, I do not care, but I
have no desire, months in advance to pay for my lease.
Cancellation Policy: While you can usually
cancel hotels at short notice for free, some Airbnb hosts have strict
cancellation policies. If you have to cancel at short notice, you may never see
your money again. However, even if your host allows cancellations, you will
definitely be able to rely on the high brokerage fees.
There are a number of companies that are so similar
to Airbnb‘s offer that evil tongues call them clones. They all operate
worldwide and may offer bargains that you do not find in the competition.
9flats.com: The former German company works very similar to Airbnb. Even though the selection of currently 125,000-holiday apartment in 104 countries is not quite as big, the company received the best marks in a survey conducted by Stiftung Warentest 2015.
Housetrip.de: Another competitor that you can watch. The main advantage of Housetrip is that you only have to make a deposit when booking.
In principle, however, it should be noted that
competitors face similar challenges and face the same problems. That’s why I
recommend testing the competitors especially if they meet your needs better or
you find nothing at Airbnb.
Important regional providers
The big brokers of private residences act
almost without exception globally. But there is also a small provider that is
particularly strong regional. I want to introduce the most important ones to
Tujia.com: This Chinese provider arranges vacation homes rental company in the Middle Kingdom. However, you have to expect that some hosts do not want / cannot accept foreigners.
Purefrance.com: If you are planning a trip through France, this provider could offer the right apartment. The range also includes luxurious villas and castles.
Stayz.com.au: A beachfront villa or a hut in the outback – as long as you restrict yourself to Australia, you’ll find it here.
Plumguide.com: Focuses on stylish and exceptional apartments in London. A good address for anyone looking for something special in the British capital.
Free accommodation in exchange for work
Not every accommodation you have to pay with
money. Some also accept your time as a currency by helping a few hours at work,
teaching your language, or just socializing. Airbnb competitors.
Couchsurfing: Travelers provide each other with
free accommodation. Usually strong social contact, but often less comfortable
Talktalkbnb.com: The French vacation rental
company arranges accommodation listing not for money but against language
lessons. A slightly different way to travel.
Wwoof.net: With this veteran of social
traveling you can live and eat for free on an organic farm. The annual fee is
HomeExchange Holidays.com: For an annual fee,
you will learn from other travelers who want to exchange their homes with
someone in another destination.
Despite the benefits, many popular travel destinations such as New York, Amsterdam or Berlin have created laws in recent years that prohibit Airbnb and vacation rental company in whole or in part. What is the problem? While offers at the beginning were often limited to air mattresses and breakfasts, much of the offerings have since become professional. Airbnb australia can be seen for example in the data analysis ” airbnb in Australia from the beginning of 2015.”
It came to the conclusion that about one-third
of the then 12,000 housing advertisements listing came from providers who offered
several apartments – ie tend to be commercial providers.
Since it is more lucrative, especially at
year-round popular destinations, to rent an apartment rental to tourists more
expensive than to locals, so the market apartment are withdrawn.
However, housing would also be withdrawn from
the market if new hotels were built because of an increasing number of
visitors. That’s why I have the feeling that the legitimate criticism also
resonates with a hefty pinch of populism and lobbying by the traditional hotel
Private property to rent
For me, private apartments are a great
thing. Especially if I stay longer in one place or travel with several friends
together, I find it very pleasant to rent myself in an luxury apartment.
In the beginning, I only used the top dogs. In
the meantime, I am considering more and more alternatives to Airbnb. However, I
have not yet tested all the companies myself, which I listed here. About
experience reports, I would be very happy.
But it did not stay with the air mattress. Each
host usually has at least one room with a bed or a sofa bed. Sometimes they
also rent entire apartments or houses. Often it does not stay overnight, but
many guests stay several days, weeks or even months. There is not always close
personal contact between the host and the guest. You often see yourself only to
the key handover and sometimes not even that.
I’ve traveled with AirBnB and websites like airbnb many times. My first experiences came in 2012 in San Francisco. Since then, I have been choosing AirBnB more and more frequently. When I travel to a city, I do not look first for hotels, but AirBnB apartments or rooms. In the meantime, I have used the platform in different countries: USA, South Africa, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Turkey, Estonia, and Germany. I do not only book apartment, but also beautiful bungalows, cabins, and small houses. I have described my experiences in this article.
In addition to Airbnb, there are now several
alternative platforms that provide the same or similar services. Staying in private
Disadvantages of Airbnb
Airbnb is the worldwide largest platform for
the rental of private rooms and luxury apartments. The original idea was simple
and sympathetic at the same time: Instead of going to a hotel, travelers should
stay overnight with private individuals, sleep on an air mattress and maybe
even get breakfast.
(Tip: As a new customer you will receive 25
euros discount on your first booking).
I am very satisfied with AirBnB and currently,
do not use any alternatives. I like to stick to something that works well for
me. But I know that not everyone is happy with Airbnb. The platform has a few
The registration process is relatively
expensive. As a guest and host, you must verify yourself through a Facebook or
Google account and / or upload a copy of your ID card. For Airbnb, the identity
of its customers is important because the rental of private property is based
At the time of booking, you will have to pay
the full amount even if your trip is still many months in the future. This one
is not used as a hotel guest. But that’s just the. For some guests, this is not
If you cancel your lease promptly (the
cancellation policy depends on the host), you will be reimbursed for the cost
of the accommodation – not the Airbn fees. This too is usually different from
Some guests complain about the customer service
they have to try when something is not going to work. Company support is not
the best, because you often get stoned with standard answers.
Less expensive than AirBnB
Websites like airbnb,
there are accommodations that Airbnb does not have. Sometimes you can find even
better bargains or more beautiful apartment that are located outside the big
Some guests are also dissatisfied with the
increasing professionalism of competitors. Many accommodations are no longer
private apartment with personal contact to the host but like a (pretty)
apartment. Also, the prices continue to rise, so that an AirBnB apartment in
popular cities is no longer cheaper than a hotel room.
These criticisms I find all valid, however, I
believe that there are the same problems also with the competitors AirBnBs or
in the future will give. Ultimately, they are all global companies that handle
thousands of bookings every day. As it is clear that the customer service is
suffering from the mass of customers and also the increasing professionalization
is not over the Airbnb alternatives.
If you still want to resort to an websites
like airbnb, for which I have put together the main providers:
Fewo-Direkt is not a direct competitor of
Airbnb & Co., as you can rent only complete apartments here, which
are also offered professionally. Fewo-Direkt belongs to the American HomeAway vrbo
Network. With this, I had good experiences during a trip to the USA when I lived
in a cabin in the forest in Homeaway California. Worldwide HomeAway vrbo
Fewo-Direkt attaches great importance to the
fact that you are protected as a guest. By paying with the payment methods
Credit Card, Paypal, Prepayment or Direct Debit, you automatically benefit from
the “With Confidence Book Guarantee”. If you care about security, you
can take out additional insurance for a small additional charge, for example, a
travel cancellation insurance, travel liability insurance, etc. For me that’s
nothing, but certainly well suited for families.
The reviews at Trustpilot are unfortunately very
bad, and it is mainly the landlords who complain there. These find the
conditions often unfavorable. For guests, however, this can be an advantage. I
think, as a traveler with Fewo-Direkt predominantly good experience.
Websites like Airbnb;
First and foremost, Booking.com is known as the worldwide largest portal for
hotel bookings. In addition to airbnb alternatives competitors, this is my most
used website to book my accommodations. However, Booking offers much more than
just hotels. In recent years, apartments or apartments have increasingly been
included in the offer. There are more than 5,000 apartment in Rome alone, more 4,000
in London and just under 3,000 in Tokyo. All over the world, you will find
alternatives to the hotel.
I have often booked accommodation at
Booking.com, which would be similar in style to AirBnB, for example, holiday
homes in Germany, apartment in Majorca and rustic huts in Tuscany. Some
of these domiciles are even offered in parallel on both platforms, so it is
worth a price comparison. What does not exist here are individual rooms in
private apartments – exactly what AirBnB has become known for. At Booking.com
you will find above all professionally managed.
In case of doubt, the cancellation conditions
of Booking are better than on other platforms and the payment conditions are
also very good.
Naturhaeuschen.de company is particularly
suitable for nature-loving people, because the platform only lists local holiday
homes that lie in nature – that is, in a forest, on the water, in a field or
small villas. Accommodation in cities and holiday parks you will not find among
the “nature cottage“.
The Dutch company lists more than 8,500-holiday
homes worldwide. Many of them in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium, where
the platform is particularly well-positioned. But in Germany, there are already
more than 500 houses (as of January 2019). Spain and Italy are also well
represented. Most regions are suitable for hiking, cycling or fishing. If the
weather does not play along, the accommodations are comfortable enough to spend
one, two quiet days as a couple or with the family in the house.
A remarkable bonus of Naturhaeuschen.de is that
for each booked night a tree is planted. The company cooperates with a
charitable organization in Madagascar for this purpose. Because traveling is
often not ecologically correct, it can help reduce its footprint a bit. The
operators of the platform want to contribute to preserving nature.
“Because without nature there would be no natural houses,” they say.
Despite this extra power, the offers can
compete loosely with, competitors and websites like airbnb. In my
opinion, the “nature houses” are even a bit cheaper than comparable
offers at AirBnB.
Online portals for holiday rentals
9flats was one of the first portals to launch
the Airbnb business model in Germany. In the meantime, 9flats is no longer a
German company. Since the German legislation is not very friendly to the model,
the company was sold to Singapore.
In comparison to Airbnb competitors, 9flats
stands out above all for its variety of payment methods. Here you can pay for
your accommodation with a credit card, Paypal, Sofortüberweisung, direct debit,
and even Bitcoins. So many alternatives are rare! For some local accommodations,
you will see a “book now – pay later” icon. With these, you only have
to pay a small deposit and pay the rest when you start your journey. That’s an
The reviews are impressive. In 2015, 9flats
became the winner of Stiftung Warentest. You can also find a detailed test at
Trusted.de. However, the most meaningful opinions come from the 9flats users
who rate the Trustpilots platform very well. For all these reasons, 9flats is a
good AirBnB alternative.
For holiday apartment and holiday homes in
Germany BestFewo is one of the best platforms. In Germany alone, there are more
than 90,000 apartments. BestFewo accommodations are considered to be relatively
high quality as the hosts are better audited than on some other platforms.
You can not only book online here but also over
the phone via the booking hotline. That’s not so often. You can always pay by
bank transfer, direct debit or credit card – but this depends on the individual
case of the provider of the accommodation.
I have not had any experience with BestFewo,
but the platform has been running down my path for years. Incidentally, the
Trusted Shop ratings are very good, so I would trust the provider.
Housetrip company is a Swiss company that has
been part of the Tripadvisor travel portal for some time. With more than
300,000 accommodations, Housetrip is one of the largest portals for the
provision of private accommodation and holiday apartment.
The payment methods good, but worse than
9flats. You can pay here only with Paypal and credit card. However, you only
have to pay 20% of the total amount when booking. The remainder will only be
due at the start of the journey. That should be nice for many guests.
If you would like to read more about Housetrip, I would like to refer you to the test in Ontario and the excellent customer reviews at Trustpilot.
Way to stay
Way to stay is a good alternative to Airbnb
& Co. but strictly speaking not a direct competitor. Because Way to stay
rents out only professional holiday luxury apartment – partly also from
private permanent tenants – that is, you can not only reserve a room here and
live with a local. Also, Way to stay specializes in major European cities. For
small cities or even the province, you will not find any offers. Most Way to
stay apartments can be found in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Prague, Amsterdam,
An advantage over is that you can book all luxury
accommodation immediately. That means you do not have to get in touch with the
host first. You can pay for your accommodation by credit card, Paypal,
Sofortüberweisung, and Giropay.
Several years ago I booked an luxury apartment
in Barcelona through Way to stay and was completely satisfied with the
experience. The customer reviews at Trustpilot are also extremely good.
Type of accommodation
When talking about private accommodation,
Couchsurfing should not be missed, even if it is not a airbnb alternatives.
Couchsurfing is based on the ideal value that guests and hosts find in a
That’s why I do not like couch surfing that much.
I do not always want to be available to my host during a trip, but this is
expected of me. I could not retreat at any time without offending my host.
However, if you do not mind, Couchsurfing might be a good alternative.
As the competition for free nights is of course high. Also, Couchsurfing.com is no longer an ideal project, but a commercial company that has to make a profit. Therefore fall for the
Use partly fees as for the optional
verification. There are also concerns about the privacy, security of guests.
Sometimes it’s better to pay for your accommodation.
These are the common AirBnB alternatives that I
either had touchpoints with myself or that I’ve been watching for a while. As
long as I have good experiences with Airbnb, I will remain true to the
platform. Finally, I have already built a profile there with positive reviews
for me as a guest. That’s why it’s not worth changing the platform all the
time. But if I became dissatisfied or needed more accommodation, I would choose
the alternatives above. Which one that depends on the type of accommodation
Houses and apartments for rent
People can rent a single room, a couch or an
entire apartment on the rental sites. The host lists his place online,
publishes photos, writes a description, clicks on “Publish” and also
earns extra money with the unused space.
The booking process is like any other type
of accommodation. You search online, find a place you like, a booking. If
the property owner agrees, you will receive a confirmation. (See below for how
to find the perfect location.) Also, owners can put their place on many
websites with an instant booking option, so you do not even have to wait for
the owner’s response. You are immediately booked in your place!
As an added bonus, non – luxury most apartments are typically located away from overpriced tourist areas where hotels call at homestay (there are maps on rental locations that let you see where your space is in relation to everything), giving you a feeling get for the everyday rhythm of life and food in restaurants that are not just geared towards tourists.
Hostel or hotel
Apartment rental properties represent the space
between hotels program.
If you travel for business and want the comforts of home, you probably will not
stay in a hostel. But luxury hotels can be too expensive or too impersonal for
you. A rented apartment is a perfect compromise
If you want to travel the world, but are not in
the hostel scene and no hotels can afford, this is the perfect compromise. A
rental sites will be much quieter and more relaxing than a hostel. You can also
prepare your food and reduce the costs on your long journey.
With a large group or a family? This is the
option for you. Forcing a few people into these apartments is much cheaper per
person than a room in a hostel or hotel. You also have space to spread and
relax. Dorms and cramped hotels do not give you much time for me.
I was lucky. I have never had a bad host on
these websites. There was only one room in London that was a bit smaller than
advertised, but that’s a small thing. I avoided some bad hosts because I use
the same criteria for websites like Airbnb as for Couchsurfing. This
allows me to sort out bad listings. Here are some things to keep in mind when
looking for a host:
Is your calendar updated? – While lists are
only displayed in a search when they are available, hosts do not always update
their calendars. Follow: If someone has not updated their calendar within 30
days, I usually skip it. There is nothing worse than booking a place, just to
say something and say agree,
“Oops, I’m sorry, it’s not available!”
Do you often answer? – You do not want your
request to go unanswered. These online sites display the percentage of messages
that hosts respond to. The higher the better.
Are you an active user? – Active users are good
users. So check when you last logged in. If it’s been a while, your request may
How to register airbnb
Are you verified? – Confirmed accounts are less
likely to be of suspicious quality, as the listing site has at least some
background information on it.
Do you have good photos? – Any listing that
does not contain any photos of the place probably lies about its quality.
Did you check the photos? – Verified photos
mean someone has been there, seen the place, and vouched for actually looking
like his photos.
Do you have reviews? – If other people stayed
there, a good time and found the apartment, you probably will.
Have you ever been the guest of another? – If
they were somebody’s guest and that went well, they probably would not be
Do you have several listings? – This is
important as many people use these websites as property owner. They rent a few
apartments and then rent them again at Airbnb. I try to avoid these places
because they are usually not as nice as other apartments and the personal touch
that comes when hosts rent their apartments.
These nine rules are helpful guidelines, but at
the end of the day, you have to go with your stomach. I do not need a listing
to fulfill all nine points. I once had a host who only achieved a few of these
points, and she turned out to be my favorite landlady! And sometimes, in places
without many hosts, you have to be a little relaxed with this list.
Airbnb rent a room
But the more points a place reaches, the safer
As a guest, I have never had bad experiences
with these rules.
A note about gentrification / legal issues
Over the years, home rental websites
have dramatically increased rental rates and displaced the locals you want to
contact, as people have begun to buy multiple properties to rent out to
tourists. That is a big problem. In many places, such as Lisbon and Venice,
most locals can no longer afford the rent. There have been violent protests in
Barcelona. Japan has recently banned Airbnb. NYC has strict laws against it.
I think the government can not tell you what to
do with your apartment – but I do not think these sites have done enough to
make sure that they are rented by real people and not by property owners who
buy multiple apartments and expelled the locals.
For this reason, I strongly recommend that you
only use Airbnb if you rent a room in another house. It is too difficult to
determine whether the entire house to be rented is, in fact, a private
residence or a rental properties owned by a giant firm. If it’s a room, you
know it’s the place of a local. If you want to rent a whole apartment, make
sure it’s a real apartment – not a business. Help to finish upper tourism. You
have the power. Do not crowd out the people you want to visit!
Are home rental sites like Airbnb safe?
Websites like Airbnb
trusted. Worldwide all of these companies are trying to inspect both buyers and
sellers to make sure no one robs anyone, but sometimes you hear reports of sex
parties, robberies or scary hosts
However, home rental companies provide a window
where you can get your money back if you find a place that is not advertising.
Just call their 24-hour online and they’ll set you up somewhere else. You also
keep your money in a trust account so that you can get your money back if the
place does not match the tender. They never give it directly to the host.
All sorts of accommodations are risky (maids
steal from hotel rooms, roommates dress to hostels, Couchsurfing hosts are
scary), so these rules are important. I do not think home rental properties are
less secure than your other options, and the benefits far outweigh the