5 Home-Sharing Sites You Should Know
Live like a local next time you travel with help from these home-sharing sites
Home-sharing sites and services offer an exciting alternative to traditional hotels. In addition to offering a more authentic travel experience in a residential setting, these sites feature competitive pricing and, often, unbelievable deals.
Many of these services allow locals to host travelers by renting spare bedrooms or unused properties for nights, weeks or months at a time. Oftentimes, hosts in residence can serve as your local expert providing tips on dining, entertainment and more.
We’ve rounded up five of the top home-sharing sites and services to make your next travel experience a breeze.
The quintessential home-sharing site, Airbnb is available in 191 countries and boasts more listings than any of the services featured on our roundup, including some truly unique options like treehouses or famed locations from movies and television. Prices on Airbnb can range widely depending on whether you are looking to rent a room, an entire house or an apartment. Other factors – like location, dates and number of guests – also influence pricing. Some of these prices may be offset by discounts provided by hosts for travelers seeking longer stays.
VRBO by HomeAway
VRBO, originally an acronym for Vacation Rental by Owner, is the oldest home-sharing service still in existence. With more than 20 years of experience successfully connecting travelers to hosts throughout the globe, many consider VRBO to be a trusted travel partner. While many of its competitors offer hosted experiences, VRBO exclusively rents private properties.
Unlike other home sharing sites and services, Homestay guarantees a hosted experience. With hosted homestays in more than 160 countries, Homestay offers a unique experience to connect with a local and gain insider insight about the city in which you are traveling. Due to this shared hosting experience, Homestay offers the most competitive pricing when compared to similar services but may not be ideal for those who prefer their privacy.
Owned and operated by TripAdvisor Rentals, FlipKey rivals other home sharing sites with more than 830,000 properties in 190 countries. Thanks to parent company, TripAdvisor, FlipKey listings include a list of the highest-rated nearby attractions. However, FlipKey prices are often higher than those of their competitors so budget-conscious travelers should beware.
Perfect for international travelers, WIMDU boasts more than 350,000 properties competitively priced in 150 countries. Many of these properties are centered in popular European markets which can make researching a European vacation a little less daunting. The majority of WIMDU listings are for private properties, so you may not receive the same shared, hosted experience you can enjoy elsewhere.
When using these sites or services, always remember to factor in any added charges such as service, cleaning or damage fees before booking your stay. Also, be sure to read the fine print to verify the cancellation policy, as home-sharing services often allow hosts to determine their own rules.