Whether we’re wistfully browsing the most luxurious and far-flung properties for the vacay of our dreams or actually booking the (probably slightly more humble) accommodation for our next holiday, Airbnb is often one of our first ports of call. When you want something more unique, homely and private than a hotel can offer, a rental property is an ideal solution and since 2008 Airbnb has been facilitating that desire for travellers across the globe.
However, what started as literal homestays where the USP was getting to know your hosts, Airbnb has become a victim of its own success, with most properties on the platform now run remotely and nightly prices skyrocketing.
Additionally, if you spend as much of your downtime browsing listings as some of us do (don’t look at us), you may feel as though you’ve exhausted the platform and are looking for something new.
And now that we can holiday in England once more, the itch to book a mini-break suddenly got very real. However, with the popularity of staycations soaring this year thanks to the pandemic, you may be more likely to find what you’re looking for within your budget on one of these lesser-known sites as opposed to monstrously popular Airbnb.
If that’s the case, we’ve found 11 alternative home rental services and sites like Airbnb that will be perfect for your next holiday, whether it’s a staycation or further afield.
11 sites like Airbnb to help you book your next break
Vrbo – that’s Vacation Rentals by Owner, for the uninitiated – is an originally American home rental website that now also operates globally, including in the UK, to the tune of around 73,000 properties on our shores alone.
Plum Guide prides itself on finding ‘the world’s best homes’ and vetting them for suitability so only the finest remain (a process which only 3 per cent of submissions make it through). Whether it’s a local escape or something a little more far-flung, you’re bound to find a luxury option to suit your party.
Another high-end option with a particularly Insta-friendly aesthetic, Onefinestay can help you with anything from a romantic mini break to the long-haul holiday of your dreams. Only 1 in 10 homes make the cut for inclusion on this exclusive website.
Sonder’s focus is on cities and apartment living – ideal if you’re after a city break with a difference. Each rental is professionally cleaned and serviced much like a hotel, but still boasts freedom and home comforts that come with a more flexible self-catering stay.
For a UK retreat, you’ll be hard pressed to find a swankier set of pads than those listed with Unique Homestays. From architect-designed masterpieces to pared-back beach houses and flamboyant country homes in acres of secret gardens, each one is visited by their team before they promote it to ensure it lives up to their exacting standards.
Cotswolds Hideaways is part of a family of other sites like Airbnb for UK stays, including Norfolk Hideaways, Dorset Hideaways, Suffolk Hideaways and Cornwall Hideaways. If your focus is on the cosy side of the coast or the country, start your search here.
Homestay is an affordable site that pretty much does it all – there’s a plethora of long and short stay homes with quirky and unique features aplenty. If your budget is small but your aspirations are high, this is the place we’d head to first.
And London Perfect and Italy Perfect – well, the clue is in the name! The ‘Perfect’ network will help you get to the heart of a neighbourhood and find the most beautiful place to make yourself at home while you’re there. Their experts will also share insider tips to help you make the most of your stay.
Kid & Coe
If sites like Airbnb are leaving you feeling stuck for specifically family-friendly options, check out Kid & Coe – no matter what age your kids are, they’ll make sure the home in question is kitted out so that everyone has a great time. Amenties like baby equipment, books and toys will be waiting at your destination, so you can even afford to pack light.
If you don’t mind earning your keep by watering the plants or taking care of the pets, TrustedHousesitters could be the option for you. You’ll be rewarded with far more cost-effective travel options, and the chance to snuggle up with a four-legged friend or two during your trip, too.
Domus Stay is a new service offering luxury short-stay home rentals and they have some of the most unique and stunning architecturally-designed spaces in some of the most sought after postcodes in London. Yo you can be guaranteed the prices match the jaw-dropping interiors, but for a luxury stay combined with five-star service (including exclusive experiences not found anywhere else), Domus Stay is the one.