With all the trouble Airbnb has stirred up in New York City, including an "XXX Freak Fest", illegal short-term lets, and the wrath of the hotel industry and state government alike, you'd think it was the only short-term rental site on the internet. Well, that's just not the case. There's a slew of other short-term and vacation rental pages that are keeping a much lower profile while still providing the same service. So whether you're a vigilante who shuns the use of the controversial website, or are just looking for more options, check out this round-up of Airbnb alternatives.
Let's call One Fine Stay the Mercedes of short-term and vacation rental sites, not only because it's really pretty but because the site's also really navigable. One Fine Stay makes it easy for visitors to search short-term rentals based on different things they're seeking in a space. For example, if two people in need of two beds are coming into town to run the New York City marathon, and absolutely do not want to haul their smelly, sweaty laundry back on the plane home, the website lets users search two-bedroom apartments with laundry facilities. Other options users can choose from include family- or baby-friendly, bed size, and access to amenities like gardens and pools. Like Airbnb, the site is great to look at because it features big, beautiful pictures of some downright lovely apartments.
VRBO, which heralds itself as the "most popular vacation rental site in the US," (really?) is like a less intense version of Airbnb. The site prioritizes rentals in Manhattan by providing neighborhood tags for the most popular Manhattan neighborhoods while lumping rentals in the other boroughs into their own single categories. The site offers a variety of property types, including boat (which yields this baller near Coney Island) as well as cottage, mill, and the less exciting/more typical town home, to name a few.
A vast majority of HomeAway's short-term rentals are in Manhattan, but that doesn't mean they're all unrealistically expensive. HomeAway offers some 200 apartments that visitors can rent for $750 or less for an entire week. While that may sound like a lot for some locals with roommates, remember that more than a few mediocre hotels charge upwards of $400 per night for a room. In all, HomeAway features over 3,000 apartments up for grabs throughout the five boroughs. [East Village Rooftop Cottage, $425/night]
Roomorama not only lets users search for apartments and houses available on a short-term basis, but also gives the option of searching for B&B's, hostels, or hotels. While the site is a bit less showy than its formerly mentioned compatriots, it still has a decent variety for those just looking for a place to rest their head.
If volleying between whether to book a hotel or a vacation rental, look no further than TripAdvisor. Yup, the well-known travel website also has a short-term stay option tucked into its fold. The website offers its own brand of payment protectionsomething users dubious of shelling out might find comfortingand also lets users post reviews. The website has about 2,300 rentals up for grabs, including one very dubious $10/night two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment which can't decide if it's in Harlem or the Upper East Side.
This round-up wouldn't be complete without a showing from good ol' Craigslist. Not for the faint of heart, Craigslist offers vacation rentals that aren't curated or grouped as they are on HomeAway or One Fine Stay, but are posted directly to the site. Beware though, traveler: scammers abound all over the Craigslist universe, and the vacation rentals section is probably no exception.
Sort of as StreetEasy is to rentals and sales listings, Tripping is to vacation and short-term rentals. Tripping is an aggregator of vacation rentals listed across different sites, meaning that listings on FlipKey, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Roomorama, HouseTrip and more all show up on the site. Tripping allows users to search listings by way of map, which is helpful for those looking to stay in an immediate area. The stock to choose from is by no means limited: the site has over 11,000 listings in the New York City area.
· All Airbnb coverage [Curbed]
· All Renters Week 2015 coverage [Curbed]