Online apartment rental sites
The Best Apartment Booking Websites: 21 Sites Like Airbnb
Last updated: March 6, 2019 – Written by Jessica Norah
Looking for sites like Airbnb to book your next vacation rental? Here is our guide to the best online apartment booking websites that provides a list of over 20 websites where you can search and book apartments and vacation rentals online.
Getting a great place to stay is key to a good travel experience and if you are looking beyond hotels and hostels, renting an apartment, a house, or a private room can be a great alternative. Staying at an apartment versus a hotel can be great way to save money, have more autonomy, and connect with the local people.
Most of these apartment booking websites also allow you to list your own property so that you can earn money while you travel or rent out a spare room or second home. Airbnb may be the best known vacation rental website, but there are a lot of Airbnb alternatives out there, and many have been on the scene for a lot longer.
Apartment Booking Sites Like Airbnb
Today it is easy to book an apartment or vacation rental online from anywhere in the world, and apartments can offer a lot of benefits compared to hotel stays for certain travelers. So whether you are tired of Airbnb, looking for some additional sites to compare prices, want a professionally managed property, or want to book apartments in a region where Airbnb has few properties, this list of websites like Airbnb should help you find some great new apartment booking websites.
This list includes both peer-to-peer properties (such as on Airbnb) and professionally managed vacation rentals. Almost all of these booking websites also allow those who have extra rooms, empty apartments, or second homes to list their properties online as well, so we’ve provided details for property owners as well.
VRBO , which stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner, was one of the first websites to connect apartment owners with travelers, and has been around since 1996! It was also the first apartment company I (Jess) ever used to book an apartment in France for a week. In 2006, VRBO was acquired by HomeAway, but still operates under its own brand.
Many of the properties listed on VRBO can’t be found on other listing sites like Airbnb, and with over 1 million listings to choose from is definitely one you should check out when traveling. Properties are worldwide with a heavy concentration in Europe.
For Property Owners: There are two models for property owners – you can list for free and then pay a fee per booking, or you can pay an annual subscription with no booking fees. Read more and sign up for VRBO here .
Part of the TripAdvisor family, FlipKey has over 300,000 properties to choose from. Owners are verified by FlipKey, and they can list whole homes, apartments, villas, or private rooms. One thing we particularly like about FlipKey is their search engine, which lets you filter by all kinds of requirements from things like pet friendliness to whether or not the property has a mountain view! Properties worldwide but heavy concentration in North America, and particularly the United States.
For Property Owners: When you register your property on FlipKey, your property is searchable across the whole TripAdvisor platform, opening you up to a huge number of potential clients around the world. Registration is free, then you pay a fee per booking. Sign up for FlipKey here.
Another major vacation rental website is HomeAway, and it is one of the main competitors to Airbnb. The company is now owned by Expedia (as are VRBO and VacationRentals.com ). It has over one million properties listed around the world, making it one of the largest sites of its type in the world. The website includes properties in 190 countries with largest number of properties in Europe and North America.
For Property Owners: There are two models for property owners: you can list your property for free and then pay a fee per booking, or you can pay an annual subscription with no booking fees. Read more and sign up for HomeAway here.
Homestay differentiates itself by offering hosted experiences for those who want to actually meet the property owners and talk to the local host or family. All their stays also include breakfast. Homestay has properties in 150 countries; however, they have fewer properties than many of the other websites on this list, which means that it can be more difficult to find a property and get a booking accepted.
Properties are more concentrated in Europe (particularly the UK) and major cities worldwide (Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Paris). We have stayed in multiple Homestay properties around the world and have enjoyed the interaction with hosts and loved the fact that we could take advantage of their local knowledge and even share their pets for a few days!
We can offer you a 5% discount on all Homestay bookings if you use this link to book, as well as up to USD $30 off your first booking when you sign up using this link (discount varies depending on the currency).
cats are a good reason to do a homestay
With over 600,000 properties listed (2 million expected by next year), VillasDirect (formerly RentalsCombined) is one of the largest independent operators (most have been bought by other companies) for apartment rentals online. And all that choice means this is definitely a site to check out. Their focus is on professionally managed properties, so it is well-used by business travelers as well as leisure travelers.
Aluguest is a Uruguay based vacation rental website focused on properties in Latin America. Although they have a fairly limited selection compared to many of the other websites on this list, it is a good resource for those looking for properties in South America. Most listings are in Spanish or Portuguese but the website also has an English version.
We’re guessing you’ve used Booking.com at some point to book a hotel stay. And with many excellent deals and often no-fee last minute cancellation policies, we love it too. What you might not have realized is that in addition to hotels, you can also book vacation rentals properties on the site, including apartments a nd villas , all around the world. And with over 300,000 properties on their books thus far, there’s no shortage of choice.
HotelsCombined is our favorite comparison site to check before we book accommodation online. It’s not a booking site, rather, it searches all the other booking sites (including booking.com, hotels.com, Agoda, Expedia, etc.) to find you the best price on a hotel. Whereas it is primarily focused on hotels, you can also find serviced apartments and alternative accommodation options such as guesthouses on the site.
For Property Owners: HotelsCombined searches other sites, so there isn’t a way to add your property directly to this site. The best option is to sign up to one of the sites they search, like Booking.com or Agoda, which will then add your site to the HotelsCombined search engine. If any details of your property are wrong, you can ask HotelsCombined to update your listing here.
If you prefer your travel to be at the luxury end of the scale, look no further than OneFineStay . They’re similar to Airbnb in many ways, with the key difference being that they focus on high-end properties. They also only offer whole properties so no private rooms or shared houses.
Backed by hotel chain AccorHotels, OneFineStay aims to offer the best of both the hotel and apartment rental worlds. Homes are professionally serviced, there’s a meet & greet when you arrive, 24/7 phone support, and every rental comes with an iPhone that has both local calls and data included.
OneFineStay currently offers 2,500 properties across six of the worlds major cities (London, Los Angeles, Paris, Miami, Rome, & NYC) although check as more major cities will be added in the near future. This booking website has some of the most expensive apartments and homes on this list, but this is a great site for the luxury traveler.
For Property Owners: OneFineStay don’t make their listing fees clear on their website. Research indicates that they are very picky and reject a high number of applications. They also charge a booking fee in the region of 40-50% per booking and this high cost allows them to offer a fully serviced hands-off solution to property owners. You can apply to list your property here.
SleepOut is a vacation rental website that specializes in vacation rentals throughout Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, and the Middle East. The website includes listings for everything from beach huts and tree houses to private rooms, apartments, guest houses, luxury villas, and traditional hotel rooms. Africa can be one of the more difficult places to find apartment rentals, and this website lists properties in over 700 cities. Definitely a good resource for those planning to travel to Africa or the Indian Ocean.
RentaVilla is a vacation rental company that has been around since 1983. It initially focused on providing places for families who didn’t feel comfortable in a hotel. Today they offer villas, apartments, houses, and condominiums in Italy, France, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, Morocco and the Caribbean.
The family-owned company has employees who personally inspect each property, and cater mostly to American travelers. The company has local representatives in each area and can help in arranging additional services such as car rentals, cell phone rentals, and maid services as needed for customers.
12. Quest Apartments
Quest Apartments is a bit different from all the rest of the websites listed as it only offers serviced apartments. The company caters to business and leisure travelers who like the services of a hotel but wants the autonomy (e.g., kitchen facilities to cook) and space of an apartment. Quest Apartments operates over 150 apartment hotel properties in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. A good place to search for travelers heading to Australasia.
13. TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals
You have probably already used TripAdvisor to read and leave reviews on hotels, tourist attractions, and restaurants. TripAdvisor also has its own apartment rental search engine, known as TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals . TripAdvisor has been gobbling up apartment rental companies like FlipKey, holidaylettings, and HouseTrip and so all those listings are also in its search engine. With almost one million properties across 190 countries, there’s certainly no shortage of choice. And of course, as you’d expect, there’s a full review system for each property.
A slightly smaller operator, Perfectplaces lists over 75,000 properties in over 100 countries around the world. They’ve been operating since 1996, and most properties have both nightly and weekly rates, meaning this can be a good option for those looking for longer stays. They also don’t charge service or traveler fees. They have properties worldwide, but a large percentage of their properties are in Europe.
Interhome offers over 100,000 vacation rentals in 31 countries, with a focus on European apartments and vacation homes. Founded in Switzerland in 1965, this company has been providing vacation rentals for a long time and they are able to assist guests on-site with check-in and provide comprehensive services. A great website to check out for those heading to Europe and wanting to have a local service agent available 24/7.
For Property Owners: Property owners choose either full professional management of their property or choose to act as representatives. Fees vary by type of management and contract agreement. You can find more about listing your apartment on Interhome here.
If you are traveling on a budget and want to stay for free, then Couchsurfing may be a good bet. The website allows you to connect with a local person who has a spare bed, couch, room, or apartment and they let you stay for free. Begun in 2004, this was a pretty radical concept at the time.
Couchsurfing is designed for people who want to meet and stay with local people and want to be part of the Couchsurfing community, and ideally you return the favor and host people coming through your own hometown. Even if you are not looking for a hosted experience, you can also find people to have coffee with in new places or offer to meet up and have coffee with travelers near you. There are also thousands of events and meetups each year for Couchsurfing community members.
For property owners. It is free to list your property. If it illegal in your city to rent or sublet your spare room, this can be a great way to still meet up with travelers and host them without breaking the law.
Outdoorsy, the “Airbnb of RV rentals” started in late 2015 in the United States. It is currently the world’s largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace where owners to can list their RVs when not in use to others wanting to rent one. They list RVs, campervans, motorhomes, trailers, and adventure vehicles.
TravelMob is a lodging booking website founded in Singapore where travelers can connect to homeowners in the Asia Pacific region. Travelers can book rooms, apartments, villas, and homes, and some experiences are hosted. Now owned by HomeAway, TravelMob is a good website to search if your travels are taking you to Asia, the Pacific islands, Australia, or New Zealand.
19. Owners Direct
A UK based company which started in 1997, Owners Direct offers 125,000 vacation properties around the world. It was acquired in 2007 by HomeAway but it still operates its own distinct website and branding. Best for those looking for properties in the United Kingdom and Europe.
For Property Owners: Owners Direct lets the owner choose to pay either an annual subscription or sign up for free and pay per booking. You can get started by registering on Owners Direct as a property owner.
20. Luxury Retreats
Luxury Retreats is a full-service villa rental company focused on high-end luxury villas and properties. They manage over 3,000 properties in over 90 locations. A great Airbnb alternative for those looking for luxury properties. Their properties are concentrated in popular vacation and honeymoon locations around the world (e.g., Hawaii, Paris, Caribbean, Mexico, Croatia).
For Property Owners: It is free to list a property and sign up for property owners, although the website states that less than 5% of submitted properties are accepted for inclusion on the site. Owners pay a fee for successful bookings.
21. Local Apartment Booking Websites like Airbnb
With all of these huge search engines to choose from, you might think that your search is over. But don’t forget to check to see if there are local websites like Airbnb specialized in the city or region you plan to travel. Localized websites often offer amazing properties that you won’t find anywhere else. For example, when we visit the Costa Brava region of Spain, we check out Naturaki (read about Laurence’s experience here) and Charming Villas.
Also be sure to see if there is a website that caters to the type of property you want whether you want a self-serviced apartment in San Francisco geared to business travelers, a hosted guest stay experience in Vietnam, or a rural farmstay in Tuscany. For instance for those looking for small town and rural properties, we love Gites.com for places in France and Agriturismo for properties in Italy.
Go with Oh started in 1997 in Barcelona and has grown to include over 3,000 rental properties in Europe. A great place to check out if you are looking for an apartment rental in Barcelona (over 500 properties) or another major European city. It is free to list your apartment and then you pay fees based on bookings. You can learn more and sign up your property here.
If you have a specific city or region in mind, it’s definitely worth doing a bit of internet research to see if there are any local apartment booking companies. Sometimes you find very localized websites like Airbnb that can help you book somewhere truly unique. If you still are not able to find the sort of property you are looking for and are looking for a longer term stay, consider asking a local rental agency to help you find and book a property.
Don’t Forget Airbnb
If you are looking for websites like Airbnb, don’t forget to check Airbnb itself! We have used Airbnb all over the world. They have an incredible choice of properties, the review system makes picking a place easy, and prices are usually competitive.
This is particularly true for longer stays, where hosts often provide a discount. Properties are available worldwide in 191 countries, so you can find a stay almost anywhere, and properties include everything from houseboats to apartments to even private islands.
Admittedly, my love for Airbnb has declined since I first wrote a review of my Airbnb experiences back in 2013. Back in 2012, when few people had used Airbnb (even among my fellow San Francisco based travelers), most of the apartments and rooms were actually run by the owners (and you met them!), there was an Airbnb concierge service, and prices were almost always much better than hotels. Back then it seemed most of the property owners (especially those renting rooms) were doing it to meet travelers rather than to make money (Couchsurfing was very popular at the time).
Time has changed things at Airbnb, some for the better and some for the worse. The number of property listings has skyrocketed, the concierge service appears to have disappeared, prices have gone up, legal battles have ensued, and many properties are now managed by people hired by the owners to run multiple properties.
All three of our last three stays have been managed by people hired to run apartments owned by other people, and this can result in some pretty poor communication and coordination. Our last stay in London was absolutely terrible. That said, we think like with all these apartment booking websites, travelers just need to be careful and read past reviews carefully. We will still continue to use Airbnb, but we also now check on other apartment booking options, such as many of those on this list, before we make a booking.
There you have it, over 20 apartment booking websites! Find any new favorites? Have you used any of these alternatives to Airbnb or use other websites like Airbnb not on this list? If so, we’d love to hear about your experiences. As always, we appreciate your comments and do always do our best to answer all your questions!