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Airbnb and Vrbo alternatives: 6 options for vacation rentals

Airbnb alternatives for vacation rentals
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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

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As the vacation rental industry grows, both hosts and travelers are looking for Airbnb alternatives that fit their specific needs. As a discerning host or a traveler, you may want an alternative to Airbnb or Vrbo that affords you the ability to travel or host based on your interests, family arrangement or other. Here we’ll explore several options that excel in targeting niche short term rental audiences.

If you own a vacation rental property, you likely list it on either Airbnb or Vrbo. But, what if you have kids and are tired of hiding toys before the next guests arrive? Or, perhaps you are a gay couple and wish to meet other gays while earning a bit of income on your second home? If you’d like to expand your short term rental’s reach and target a niche audience, we’ve got several options that fit the bill.


GoLightly is a private, invite-only vacation rental club and home sharing platform for women. The platform has over 7000 members and properties located all over the world. GoLightly strives to be a community and safe travel haven for women. This is a great Airbnb alternative for a host who prefers more vetting and safety measures.

With its modern interface and ability to showcase your property, GoLightly is a great choice for a female property owner. If you already know someone who is a member you can ask them for a referral. Alternatively, if you do not know a GoLightly member, you can submit a membership application for review.

Female travelers, their friends and family (men too) can feel comfortable knowing that all of the properties listed on the platform have been carefully vetted. You can read more about GoLightly here.


Do you have a dog who loves traveling with you? You’re not alone! Join other pet owners who wish to find safe and comfortable places to stay with their beloved Fido. BringFido has a directory of over 100,000 cabins, homes, condos, beach resorts that are all dog friendly.

Each listing breaks down the property guidelines by showing the size of dog allowed, how many dogs are allowed and whether or not there is an additional pet fee. So, even if you have two large, fluffy friends, you’ll be able to find the best accommodations for a fun, furry vacation!

The properties all link to another listing site which can be Vrbo, a property’s own website or similar. If you accept dogs in your vacation rental property, consider sharing your listing with BringFido to reach dog-loving travelers.


The largest gay vacation rental platform, Misterb&b offers accommodations in over 135 countries. While the site functions much like Airbnb, the focus is almost entirely gay males. With an expressed mission to welcome a world in which LGBT people can share the excitement of discovery and create lifelong memories and friendships, Misterb&b has everything from shared rooms, apartments to hotel rooms. 

It has a modern, sleek interface so you can showcase your property’s best assets and attract gay travelers. In addition, the site offers extensive resources for the gay community. And, detailed city guides highlight gay activities and events. The site makes it easy for gay travelers to get insights directly from gay hosts in any location.

Misterb&b maintains that, while focused on gay men, the site is inclusive. In an interview, the founder Matthieu Jost noted “Today our sign-up process reflects our efforts to be as inclusive as possible allowing people to register as men, women, or non-binary.”

The Plum Guide

If you’ve ever been disappointed in your Airbnb or Vrbo stay, The Plum Guide might be a good option for you. A relative newcomer to the vacation rental scene, The Plum Guide has scoured Europe, the UK and the US to offer the best of the best. According to the company, only 3% of homes in each destination make the cut.

What does it take to meet The Plum Guide’s standards? They have a 4 part vetting process once they decide to open up a certain destination. First, they start by getting an inventory of all the available vacation rentals. Second, they review every home and get a short list of ones with great design, great reviews in great locations. Third, The Plum Guide interviews the host and they are added as a contender. Fourth, and finally, to win a Plum Award the home must pass two more phases: “it must delight a Plum Guest, and it must pass the Plum Home Test, conducted by an independent Home Critic.” 

You can see why discerning travelers love The Plum Guide as an alternative to Airbnb. If you think your vacation rental is up to snuff, contact The Plum Guide for consideration.


If you were alive and traveling prior to Airbnb or have seen the movie, The Holiday, you might remember the original vacation home stays – home swaps. Instead of staying in a dedicated vacation rental home you would exchange your house with another homeowner in a destination of your choice. They stay at your place, and you at theirs.

HomeExchange is a membership based service. At the time of publication, the fee is $150/year to join and includes unlimited exchanges during a 12 month period and access to their Facebook group. 

In the early 1990’s my family used this service (it was a big book back then!). We are a family of 6 and exchanged with a family of 5 who lived in the outskirts of Florence, Italy. It was wonderful and we ended up developing a lifetime friendship with their family.  So, if you’re looking for something more personal, HomeExchange just might be the thing for you.

Kid & Coe

Traveling with kids can add an extra layer of stress for many families. Will the bedrooms be appropriate so my kids can actually sleep? Will there be any toys or age appropriate books? For families searching for the best kid-friendly vacation, Kid & Coe saves the day. 

With a curated selection of kid friendly vacation rentals around the world, Kid & Coe makes it easy to travel with children. If you have a vacation rental and have children, becoming a host on Kid & Coe allows you the added advantage of not needing to hide the kids’ toys or crib for each new guest.

In addition, the listing platform also has insight from local parents on activities and events in each destination. By parents, for parents, Kid & Coe is a great option for both hosting and booking travel. 

Why try Airbnb alternatives?

In summary, these 6 vacation rental alternatives to Airbnb or Vrbo offer a more nuanced and targeted approach to hosting and traveling. As a host, these alternative vacation rental listing platforms provide you with certainty that your guests will align with your needs as a host. 

Whereas, as a traveler, these vacation rental platforms offer you the ability to find the right type of property as a base for your next dream vacation. Local insights on events, activities and more make these options even more attractive.   

Are there any niche listing platforms we left out? Contact us and let us know!

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