· 10 months ago

Finding alternatives to AirBnb? How to find reasonably priced accommodation

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Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Hey guys, I've been a fulltime traveller for almost five years now; leaving behind a career in finance and IT sales.

Being a traveller on either side of the pandemic meant a lot of things...good and bad. One definite con has been the increasing price of accommodation, specifically related to Airbnb.

When I first began roaming the world in 2019, Airbnb was my default option for places to stay, and it worked well. Lots of supply. Reasonable prices. Reliable. Safe. Since the pandemic, it's just not a viable long-term solution. So here's how I overcame the challenge of finding a reasonably priced alternative to Airbnb:

1. Often the same accommodation is also listed on booking.com. Compare to see if you can save on costs.

2. Try and contact the owner directly to see if there's an opportunity to save by paying cash in hand. Note: I've had mixed experiences with this one.

3. It's funny how many hosts know other hosts! If you've connected well with your host - find out who their friends are! Ask for recommendations to other places where your host knows another host. The power of networking folks!

4. Put in the hard work and explore options on foot. This is only really applicable to villages and smaller suburban areas. Having spent months in coastal villages in Mexico and Sri Lanka, I would ask locals if they knew anyone that was leasing their house/room for long-stays. It's a great way of making friends, getting to know your surroundings and finding cheap accommodation.

5. Join social media groups. There are several Facebook groups for expats, nomads and tourists. You'll find, in between the other info, posts about houses being up for rent. The first thing I do when travelling to another city is join travel groups associated to that area.

These methods, amongst other things, have worked for me. What works for you?

10 months ago (edited)

Good ideas Triv!

I try to stay in colivings. It may not be cheap but I am sure I'll have a community and a local to show me around :) It is a great way to meet and grow with others (also it usually is more sustainable!).

www.mapmelon.com, is an app I created with my partner to find colivings and be part of the community.

Hope this helps!

10 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Hey Sole, sounds like a great idea. I've been a nomad for a while now. Let me know if I can contribute to your app!

10 months ago
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

Hey Triv, some good tips here.

As well as OTAs (e.g. Booking, Agoda, Expedia, etc) you can also try hotel meta-search such as www.hotelscombined.com (now part of KAYAK). To add a word of caution, sometimes the cheapest option will have strict rules such as no cancellation or modifications once booked.

Generally my strategy has been to book the first two nights in a destination (somewhere central) then use that time to explore the area and hopefully find a place to stay longer with the help of local recommendations. The downside to this approach is if you don't know about a big conference / festival in town that week, and you end up stranded!

I'd also check out some co-living options in your local city — we've featured a few local co-living / co-working spaces here on Travel Massive. Outsite.co and Selina.com are some of the larger players with properties world-wide.

And also try out www.nomadstays.com created by @mark-phillips and @linda-mccall

10 months ago (edited)
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Excellent resources, Ian. Thanks for sharing. I've been caught out before on not knowing about a festival happening in town. I arrived in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) a few days before Semana Santa and struggled to keep my own place at the rate I paid, let alone finding a new one!

10 months ago

Thanks! It would be great if you can try it and share it :)
Also any feedback is welcome (I'm @digitalsole on Twitter).

10 months ago
Founder, Nomad Stays

Thanks Ian. Great post Triv.

Having been on the road 8 years now we do something similar. When we can't book our own stays we tend to use bCom although VRBO will probably get more of our business as they grow.

We've rarely use Airbnb as we need to search for dog-friendly places, and prefer the service and professionalism that comes with mainstream travel industry.

Due to too many problems with bCom in past few years we tend to use the big leisure sites to gather info and then arrive at the door of the property to see what might be available. We also gather new stays for Nomad Stays the same way. It gives us a chance to check them out before inviting them into the network.

Just thinking of the last 4-5 stays we booked it went like this:
1. Slovakia house found on Facebook group €450 a month (now on www.nomastays.com)
2. Belgrade dog-friendly hotel - searched on bCom and booked on arrival - €45 a night
3. Indian 5BR heritage house - on www.nomadstays.com = US$200 a month
4. Greek dog friendly apartment - researched on bcom, called to check availability - booked on arrival €1100 a month (on the beach)
5. Another Greek apartment - on www.nomadstays.com -€650 a month

Gotta love the power of the local networks too.

I think I've met half the people in my current street in rural Slovakia - lots of English and surprisingly lots of remote workers. One lady adventurer 4 doors up even said to me this week when I met her 'Hey - I know you from your facebook page. I saw an Australian was looking for a rent in the region recently" :)

With the range of new reporting and tax rules coming in around the world (DAC7, ViDA, etc.) we're expecting further price rises across the board from the admin as well as reduced competition.

The peer-to-peer model may end up being the big winner of 'the big tax grab' currently going on. :)

10 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Hey Mark, thanks for the contribution. How's the uptake been on nomadstays heading into the Euro summer? I feel this is the first full year travellers haven't had to worry about Covid rules, flight cancellations etc.

And re. English in Slovakia, I had a similar experience in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia, accomplished English literacy levels! Must be a Balkan thing.

10 months ago (edited)
Founder, Nomad Stays

Well, the summer rush is something that leisure platforms see more of than us lifestyle platforms.

Like you know we DNs need somewhere to stay most months of the year so our market is more consistent throughout the year. Target destinations do change though. When one area gets expensive, like the coastal parts of Europe in summer, DNs tend to go somewhere more affordable.

Nomad Stays been consistently growing at 15% a month since opening. Even right through covid. Last month was 21% but this month is slower as typical with May being the quietest travel month of the year globally.

In terms of restrictions, they've been gone a long time in Europe and with Asian (incl Australian) restrictions almost gone now (China last one I think) we're seeing long haul kick in again. Summer business in EU may be quieter this year as a result of people going long haul again, cost of living pressures, the shortage of supply due to the Ukraine War flooding refugees into some places, and small suppliers leaving the industry due to the new DAC7/ViDA tax and reporting situations.

As we have access to the forward booking calendars from lots of suppliers we're actually seeing less forward bookings in Europe and this time last year, but increased bookings in ROW.

One thing for sure is that the travel industry is never dull. :)

10 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Thanks for sharing your valuable insights, Mark. Congrats on Nomad Stays!

10 months ago
Co-Founder & Photographer, Love and Road

Facebook groups for expats and Facebook Marketplace are helpful.
Found our last 2 "homes" in Thailand on FB.

10 months ago
short- and long term rental unit manager

Hi Triv! I am new to this platform. I just read your posts about Airbnb not being a viable long term option and I must agree with you. Personally, like you said, social media groups is a good option as well as other outlets like online communities is a good option.

3 months ago
Senior Product Manager, SoSafe

Any tips for using social media as a way to find people who might like to take over a lease short-term while the current renter is traveling?

10 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

I'm sure there are several Facebook groups with members who post about needing a short-term rental etc. For example, I'm part of an ex-pat group of digital nomads who live in Sri Lanka (not there now, but when I was). I'd frequently see posts about people either leasing their property or needing a property to rent.

Alternatively, search for apps like this in your area: www.12homes.com.au. This one is based out of Sydney but there might be one wherever you are in the world.

10 months ago
Founder, Made to Wander

Yeah, it's crazy how much things have changed! I remember first using Airbnb back in 2012 and paying $8 and $12 a night for whole houses in Portland and Austin. It was so cheap we thought it was a scam!

Some good suggestions on here already. Finding places once you arrive is nearly always the cheapest so long as there are no special events on. The other thing I have resorted to when desperate is looking for websites not targeting tourists. Easier said than done. But these websites usually just have the owner's phone number so knowing some of the local language is often required too. I've also gone through the newspaper classifieds in places where such a thing still exists!

10 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Just gotta stay in the hunt!

10 months ago
Event Organizer & Traveler, GlobalGaz

Hey Triv ... thanks for sharing. Some good hacks to consider. Safe travels!

10 months ago
Visual Creative, As Is LLC

Wonderful thread Triv and great suggestions from others. I have also found that hotels are cheaper when booking directly through them vs using Kayak or Booking etc... Maybe not much cheaper but definitely cheaper. I also only book 2 days and then explore my options while there. I will say Airbnb has gotten ridiculously expensive and so many people are now using it as an investment and so the greed with it has finally set in. I travel to LA frequently and Airbnb is still significantly cheaper than hotels and so I prefer to use it there, but that does not apply to all major cities. I also remember when accommodations even in 2016/2017 via Airbnb made sense. Again because corporations are now involved in the short term rental business the landscape has drastically changed.

10 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Hi Brianna, thanks for sharing. Great point about booking directly with the hotel, as opposed to with an aggregator.

10 months ago
Founder, Bag Designer, Idea Mountain

saving money and having a better experience has always been my goal.

I have to come and promote the original hospitality org: Servas (www.servas.org ) as an amazing way to connect with locals and have a truly cultural experience. The actual stays are limited to 2 nights, but don't. cost. anything.

once you're a Servas member in your home country, you have access to the host network. Members have to go through an interview process to make sure they understand cultural sharing and aren't sketchy.

DM me if you have questions.
Tys

10 months ago

We have used Booking.com and AirBnB a lot both in our country South Africa and abroad for many years. This year I got scammed on a local booking and Booking.com did nothing to support me at all. So I too am looking for alternatives. I do check both and see which accommodation is offering better prices, it can be surprisingly different but not prepared to use Booking anymore if they dont support us when something like this happens. "Just handle it with the owner" they said, but the place did not exist as described and there were lots of warnings from people who had turned up. Be warned. Always read the reviews....

10 months ago
Creator & CEO, Createit

I traveled full -time 2020-22 + did both Airbnbs, VRBOs and press trips + digital marketing projects. One way with Airbnb is to stay at least 28 days for discounted monthly rates, message seller that you can book a week, and then pay the rest after week is over if all good. Airbnb only allows you to do payments with klarna for shorter stays last time I checked etc.

They always said yes to me. Plus gives you chance to negotiate other possibilities with content, projects paid, etc.

10 months ago
Creative Project Manager, Han Meets World

Some great tips Triv! Airbnb was my go-to for years so I could have a more local experience, but in some places and certain times of year it's got a little too unreasonable :(

(I'd also add for longer stay visitors, to check out the Citizen Remote app and RemoteBase for some great deals!)

9 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Thanks for sharing, Han. I'll have a look at both.

9 months ago

We will be testing out www.hellolanding.com in August. I think it's only available in the US. Reasonably priced is subject to everyone's own budget. The draw for us is that they've supposedly standardized their accommodations. Same sheets, towel, appliances including coffee makers (most important for me). After a while, this might a minus, but one of my knocks on Airbnb has been inconsistency across properties. Let the great experiment begin.

8 months ago
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Finding alternatives to AirBnb?

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Finding alternatives to AirBnb? was posted by Triv in Discussion , Accommodation , Digital Nomad . Updated on Apr 19, 2023 (10 months ago). Finding alternatives to AirBnb? is rated 5/5 ★ by 3 members.
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