Before 2018 comes to a close, make it a point to try something you’ve never done before. If year-end travelling is on your agenda, don’t limit yourself by staying in a hotel, surrounded by four walls and a television, when you could be doing so much more. For an immersive travel experience where you’ll get to interact with locals and probably make some lifelong friends along the way, AirBnB is a great option, but in recent years, travelers have been searching elsewhere to rest their weary bodies after a long day of new adventures. Here’s a list of AirBnB alternatives that you might want to consider for your holidays:
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, VRBO, or Vacation Rentals By Owner, is as luxury as it gets, whether you’re looking to book a swanky beachfront condo with an amazing ocean view or an idyllic log cabin tucked away in the quiet woods. Since the site only deals with vacation properties, this is perfect if you desire privacy without having a host around. According to the site, you can “rent a whole house for half the price of a hotel”, which is a pretty sweet deal.
What started out as a personal blog referencing Frenchwoman Magali Boisseau Becerril’s friends, is now a full-fledged platform with more than 260,000 members in 8,542 cities worldwide, each offering authentic, economical accommodation. You can either choose to stay with a friendly host family throughout the duration of your travels, or find a room to put up in while you’re fulfilling an internship or business commitment. With the loyalty programme, every 10 nights earns you a free nights’ stay too!
3. Go With Oh
If you were wondering, “Oh” stands for Open House, which is the company’s name. Founded in 1998 and initially based in Barcelona, Go With Oh has grown to include more than 3,000 holiday apartments in top European countries. Although the selection is smaller than the other accommodation sites listed here, what’s great is that users rated Go With Oh an average of 9 out of 10, so you know you’re getting your money’s worth with comfortable lodging in stellar locations.
Boasting an expansive portfolio of 350,000 properties across 150 countries, Wimdu promises you a home away from home, in the city of your choice. It serves as a portal, offering you a look at options from multiple sites so you don’t have to manually look up each one individually, so you’ll definitely find a lot of decently-priced places. According to a Wimdu spokesman, the company places utmost emphasis on guests’ safety, verifying all hosts by phone and visiting a number of properties in person.
5. Love Home Swap
Despite its rather suggestive name, Love Home Swap has a pretty interesting concept: to stay in someone else’s house, you’ll have to offer up your own in return. That’s kinda cool, because you’ll feel connected in some way to your host family since they’ve also experienced how it feels like to stay in your own home. To swap homes in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Spain, and more, all you need is a membership (priced between $11 and $15 monthly), and you’ll be on your merry way.
Let us just be frank upfront and tell you that WWOOF does not involve any furry friends that go “woof”, but instead, stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Through WWOOF, you get to interact with organic farmers and growers in 132 countries around the world, lending a helping hand and getting a first-hand look into the culture of farming, from working with horses to beekeeping, cheese-making to wild food foraging. If living close to nature is something you’re passionate about, this one’s definitely for you.
Our top tips to score great accommodation
Finding the right place to stay, especially on the internet, can be a hit and miss, but with some research, you’ll do just fine. Here are two of our tried-and-true tips:
1. Look up the location on Google Maps.
Most property descriptions tend to over-exaggerate how convenient or strategic they are, so at times like these, there’s no-one better to turn to than trusty Google. Using Google Streetview, you’ll have a better idea of the surroundings and overall vibe of the property.
2. Always read the reviews.
Don’t fall for the professionally-taken, studio-quality photos that were meant to showcase the property in its full glory. Take some time to see what others have said, which will help you make more informed decisions.
Image: Mike Marquez
Writer | Michelle Tan
Underneath her RBF, Michelle is actually a friendly raccoon. Loves collecting ugly things, changing her hair colour, and dinosaurs (not necessarily in that order).