6 Alternatives to Airbnb for When You Want Other Options

The vacation rental giant may have a near stranglehold on the market, but there are other options.
Sam Kemmis
By Sam Kemmis 
Edited by Meg Lee

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Maybe you have experienced your own horror story at an Airbnb rental. Maybe you are sick of the high cleaning fees and poor cancellation policies. Maybe you’re comparison shopping for an upcoming trip.

Whatever the reason, it’s worth considering other vacation rental sites like Airbnb.

Airbnb is truly a behemoth. Data from Second Measure, a company that tracks transaction trends, estimates that Airbnb accounted for 19% of the entire accommodation market in 2018, including hotels and vacation rental competitors. And the pandemic likely expanded Airbnb’s slice of the pie: Longer-term stays among untethered workers boosted the platform’s revenue in 2021, according to a 2021 shareholder letter.

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In other words, Airbnb holds a monopolistic grip on the vacation rental industry, making it hard for travelers to find good competitors. Unlike the hotel industry, which enjoys healthy competition, the vacation rental world is dominated by Airbnb — and everybody else.

Yet some of these competitors offer meaningful Airbnb alternatives to travelers with specific needs. Those looking for glamping options might consider Hipcamp, while those looking for high-quality urban rentals should consider a site like Booking. Each has its own limitations and drawbacks. Here’s a closer look at six sites similar Airbnb.

The best sites like Airbnb

1. Vrbo

Good: Powerful search tools. Many listings aren't available on Airbnb.

Bad: Confusing cancellation policies. Only standalone houses (no shared spaces).

Use it when: You want to comparison shop.

Vrbo, in many ways, is the Lyft to Airbnb’s Uber. It doesn’t share the same ubiquitous name recognition, but it is indistinguishable from its competitor in many ways.

Vrbo plays second fiddle for a reason. It offers far less selection in most markets and has more confusing, user-unfriendly cancellation policies and customer support. In addition, you can only rent standalone accommodations, unlike Airbnb, which offers hotel rooms and shared spaces.

But it’s always a good idea to check Vrbo and comparison shop when searching for a standalone rental home. Some listings are available on both platforms and are sometimes cheaper on Vrbo. Plus, Vrbo’s search function includes a “total price” option that lets you compare the real cost of a rental, including cleaning and other fees.

Be sure to filter by total price when assessing costs on Vrbo.

In most cases, it makes sense to check Vrbo as an Airbnb alternative, especially during peak travel dates when Airbnb listings might be scarce.

2. Booking.com

Good: More professionally managed properties. Loads of international properties.

Bad: Limited portfolio. Little charm or personality.

Use it when: You’re looking for hassle-free accommodation when traveling internationally.

Booking.com is known internationally as a major flight and hotel search tool. It also offers vacation rentals.

Booking.com properties tend to be run by management companies.

Many of the properties, especially in major international cities, are for apartments in professionally managed buildings. This means the accommodations often lack the charm and character of some of Airbnb’s more colorful listings. It also means that booking and checking into these apartments is less of a hassle.

While Booking may not be as well-known stateside as other rental platforms, it’s a good option to keep in mind, especially when traveling abroad.

3. Hipcamp

Good: Cheap, quirky.

Bad: Rustic. Quality control might be an issue.

Use it when: You’re looking for a cheap and interesting crash pad on the road.

Hipcamp is, as the name implies, a camping reservation platform. It also includes “glamping” options like Airstream trailers and yurt rentals that make it a solid cheaper alternative to Airbnb for travelers seeking a rustic experience.

For the crunchier among us, Hipcamp may be the right choice.

It can be a great option for budget travelers looking for a bare-bones place to rest their heads or adventurous travelers looking for something especially offbeat. And, of course, it’s good for camping.

4. Marriott Homes and Villas

Good: Earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points, high quality standards.

Bad: Very limited portfolio, low point value for redemptions.

Use it when: You want to use points.

The hotel mega-brand Marriott launched a home rental business in 2019 that has quietly gained popularity among frequent travelers. The biggest draw is the ability to earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for vacation rentals, which opens a world of possibilities for travel rewards enthusiasts.

Marriott Homes and Villas is a solid choice if you've got points to burn.

Airbnb and most of its competitors lack rewards programs, making it difficult (or impossible) to book a vacation rental for “free” using points. Marriott Bonvoy points, on the other hand, are relatively easy to earn through credit cards and transfer partnerships. (Editor's note: VRBO is now part of the One Key travel rewards program, which you can read more about here. This article is being updated to reflect this change.)

That said, the redemption value for using Bonvoy points to book through the Homes and Villas program isn’t always the best. Compare the cash and point costs of booking a rental to make sure it’s a good value.

5. Hopper

Good: Simple and easy.

Bad: Mobile only.

Use it for: Finding accommodation on the go.

Known as a user-friendly travel booking platform, the mobile app Hopper launched a vacation rental program in 2022. Remarkably, it already boasts 2 million bookable homes across the globe.

Hopper offers a strong app experience for mobile booking.

Hopper’s big selling point is its simplicity and user-friendliness. The app is fast, easy to use and less cluttered than most vacation rental platforms.

But simplicity cuts both ways. Its mobile-only limitation makes it hard to comparison shop by switching between browser tabs or to share information with travel buds who don’t have the app.

Hopper’s product is new and might require some ironing out to become a serious competitor to Airbnb. But it’s worth checking out.

6. Local vacation rental management companies

Good: Supports local businesses and hosts.

Bad: It’s a crapshoot.

Use it when: Local laws regulate vacation rentals.

Have you ever checked into an Airbnb and been asked by a host to avoid talking to neighbors? That’s likely because the vacation rental is forbidden by local law or the property’s homeowners association.

Popular vacation towns often sport their own local rental management companies. For example, the town of Seabrook, Washington, is composed primarily of vacation rentals that are rented and operated by the town itself.

Local rental companies tend to be on the up and up with the community in ways Airbnb might not be.

If you’re having trouble finding vacation rentals through the platforms listed above, it’s worth doing a quick internet search to see if any local operations exist.

Final thoughts on Airbnb alternatives

Airbnb maintains a firm hold on the vacation rental space. Indeed, “getting an Airbnb” is often shorthand for booking a vacation rental.

If you’re dissatisfied with the cost, functionality or safety of the behemoth, good alternatives to Airbnb do exist. None can match the big fish in terms of pure size, but each satisfies a particular travel niche.

Always consider the final cost, including taxes and fees, when comparison shopping among sites like Airbnb (e.g., Booking versus Vrbo) as the extra fees can add up in a hurry.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

Cards for Airbnb from our Partners
Citi Custom Cash® Card

on Citibank's application

Citi Custom Cash® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

on Wells Fargo's website

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases


Intro offer


Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Credit Card

on Wells Fargo's website

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services and phone plans. Plus earn 1X points on other purchases.


Intro offer


Limited Time Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value.

See more cards for Airbnb
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