Family-Friendly Vacation Rentals: 8 Alternatives to Airbnb
Long-time lovers of Airbnb, it’s pretty rare for us to book a traditional hotel stay nowadays.
Private rentals offer so much more for traveling families, that it’s hard to pass up all that extra space, privacy, and amenities for the same price as a traditional hotel.
When one thinks of private rentals, it’s not surprising that Airbnb is usually the first option that comes to mind. While there have always been private vacation rental sites out there, Airbnb revolutionized the way we look at private rentals, building a travel community that’s much more exciting and authentic. It’s one of the things I love about Airbnb the most!
(Psst. New to Airbnb? Click here for a free $40 travel credit when you book your first stay!)
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So why the need for Airbnb Alternatives?
Airbnb is my go-to when it comes to searching for family-friendly accommodations, but the truth is, with our family growing, it can be a little trickier to find the perfect place for us when we travel.
Airbnb’s popularity has increased prices over the years, so it’s not as budget friendly as it once was, especially in popular cities. I’ve also noticed that increased listings options have made it easier for hosts to turn away families by marking their flats as “not suitable for children”. While I’d personally like to be the judge of what is or isn’t suitable for my family, sadly we have a hard time securing our top choice for apartments now that we have a toddler in tow.
Given the added frustration these two factors bring, I’ve begun to look into Airbnb alternatives to expand our rental options.
As you search for family-friendly accommodations for your next trip, these are a few of our favorites Airbnb alternatives worth looking into:
Airbnb Alternative #1: VRBO / HomeAway
Under the same parent umbrella (and therefore included here together), VRBO (or Vacation Rental by Owner) and HomeAway both specialize in whole home vacation rentals. While I’ve not personally used HomeAway, we have used VRBO (which is now a HomeAway company) a few times. We tend to have better luck with VRBO when looking for classic types of vacation rentals (think, beach cottages or log cabins). Prices tend to be better for week-long stays and unlike Airbnb, you’ll work out an agreement directly with the owner and payment may or may not be done through the website.
We tend to have better luck with VRBO when looking for classic types of vacation rentals (think, beach cottages or log cabins). Prices tend to be better for week-long stays and unlike Airbnb, you’ll work out an agreement directly with the owner. Payment may or may not be done through the website.
Pros: Lots of whole home vacation rental options at affordable prices. Flexible payment arrangements (with room for negotiation). Lots of honest property reviews. Big discounts for long-term stays.
Cons: May not be able to securely pay online. Old school owners may want you to make payment in person or by mail.[irp]
Airbnb Alternative #2: FlipKey
While we haven’t used FlipKey yet, it’s another good option that I always check for family-friendly vacation rentals, especially where Airbnb options are slim.
FlipKey is owned by TripAdvisor, meaning its rentals are rated and ranked much in the same way other travel activities and restaurants are on the site. This gives new families a little extra peace of mind in knowing they’re dealing with a reputable company. Though, in my experience, it lacks the cozy community feel of Airbnb.
Pros: Large inventory similar of properties. Many allow you to pay online using TripAdvisor’s Payment Protection.
Cons: Less user-friendly search, with fewer options for narrowing down properties by family-friendliness. Missing the “community” feel of Airbnb.
Airbnb Alternative #3: Kid & Coe
Those still leery of renting a property with kids in two will find some extra peace of mind in Kid & Coe, a rental agency focused solely on curating a portfolio of rentals for families. Every single home is kid-friendly and mom-approved, so you’ll never have to wonder if it will be comfortable for your family. Each listing is represented professionally, complete with bright photos, descriptions of exactly which family-friendly amenities are included, and why families will love each particular home.
Kid & Coe is a great place to search when you aren’t looking for any specific destination and are feeling spontaneous! Their “Under $200/Night” and “Last Minute Availability” Collections can score you some real deals!
Pros: Every home is guaranteed family-friendly. You’ll find not only cribs, high chairs, etc. included, but also toys, books, and often a fully-decked out kids room. The website is based in London, so you’ll find a global collection of listings in 50+ cities around the world.
Cons: With each listing still run through the homeowner, I’ve heard stories of slow responses (or no response at all) to booking requests. This may be a one-off, but just as with Airbnb, be prepared to request stays at a few different homes before finding the perfect match.
Airbnb Alternative #4: Jetsetter
Jetsetter specializes in boutique hotels and luxury resorts at discount prices, and its swoon-worthy photographs and straight-to-the-point descriptions allow you to know right away if there’s a property that more than welcomes children. not the classic hotels that I’m usually interested in here. I specifically like to look for condo-like hotels, where you’ll have all the typical space of a vacation rental, but with hotel amenities! I subscribe to Jetsetter’s newsletter to get alerts on special time-sensitive luxury family hotel deals that we might not otherwise be able to afford!
But it’s not the luxury hotels that I’m really after here. I like to use Jetsetter to search for condo-like hotels (like mountain ski cabins or beach resorts with large suites). Here you’ll have all the typical space of a vacation rental, but with the added bonus of hotel amenities!
Subscribe to Jetsetter’s newsletter and you’ll get alerts on special time-sensitive luxury accommodation deals that you (like us!) might otherwise not be able to afford!
Pros: Condo-like hotels have more amenities and services, and the rooms are often just as spacious as an apartment.
Cons: Even when discounted, options can still be pricey. You’ll also lack the feel of staying in a neighborhood.[irp]
Airbnb Alternative #5: Glamping Hub
If you’re looking for a unique experience for your family’s next adventure, give Glamping Hub a try! While not explicitly designed for families, there’s no doubt you’ll make some pretty awesome memories with a night in an Airstream trailer or an A-frame cabin in the woods. More adventurous and outdoorsy families will like the rustic nature of their options, mixed with the convenience and comfort of a well-cared for property.
More adventurous and outdoorsy families will like the rustic nature of the rental options, mixed with the convenience and comfort of a well-cared for property.
Pros: Unique accommodations options all over the world.
Cons: Portfolio is still small, but growing. Listings are not explicitly family-friendly, so you’ll have to do some extra digging and ask questions to see if you’ve got the right match for your family.
Airbnb Alternative #6: Clanventure
Similar to Kid & Coe, Clanventure is based in Austin, TX and features family-friendly vacation rentals primarily in the United States. You can search rentals either by the age of your children (baby, toddler, kid) to see if the house is well-equipped for your specific families needs, or by the type of vacation you want to have (beach, city, mountains, theme parks). Each listing also includes a unique list of things to do in the area, to help you plan your next adventure.
Pros: Detailed listings with tons of kids gear. Affordable at all budgets.
Cons: Still a small company, Clanventure’s listings are mostly limited to the US.[irp]
Airbnb Alternative #7: One Fine Stay
Often touted as the Airbnb for luxury apartments, One Fine Stay features the creme-de-la-creme of luxury vacation rentals. And while a fancy Parisian apartment might not seem like a good fit at first, you’d be surprised to find that the website’s exclusive portfolio also has an option to search by baby, toddler and kid-welcome properties. Just be prepared to pay for it.
Pros: Expect no surprises with top notch service; each home is carefully selected and cared for by the One Fine Stay team, and a personal welcome check-in is available 24/7.
Cons: You’ll pay a hefty price tag (obviously) for the extra attention to detail and service.
Airbnb Alternative #8: Love Home Swap
Most traveling families already have a good-sized house at their home base. So why not greatly cut your travel costs with a home swap?
Love Home Swap is particularly great for families because it can get you a lot of space for almost no cost at all! You can either do a traditional swap, trading places with another family during your holidays, or swap your home while you’re away to earn points for future homestays!
Pros: Nearly free accommodations! Live like a local in exciting cities all over the world. Low membership fee. Swap with families whose kids are of similar age and have all the gear/toys you need already there.
Cons: You may not feel comfortable having strangers stay in your home while you’re away. If you don’t live in a desirable area (like us, for example) this will limit your swap options.
Have you tried any of these Airbnb alternatives? I’d love to hear your experiences!
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