There are a few reasons you might be looking for an alternative to Airbnb. Perhaps you think the fees have gotten out of hand? Or perhaps you just can’t find anything on Airbnb, at least anything affordable, and are looking for another accommodation site.
Unfortunately, Airbnb doesn’t have a lot of competition, and so it’s quite hard to find affordable accommodation elsewhere. There used to be more alternatives, but it looks like a lot of them have been bought up by the same group now. That said, there are one or two other places that are worth looking at.
Good for short-term accommodation (e.g. 1-2 weeks)
Booking.com is probably the largest hotel booking website in Europe, and it has quite a few apartments and non-hotel properties on there too. Definitely not as many as Airbnb, but a few, making it worth checking out.
You might also notice a few properties that are on both Airbnb and Booking.com. The properties are often the same price, but this isn’t always the case. Be sure to check both platforms to see which is cheaper.
All in all, Booking.com is easier to use. You can see the total price, the exact location of the property, and, like Airbnb, lots of reviews. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t have as many listings for properties.
Good for short and medium-term accommodation
Flatio focuses on the medium to long-term rental market, aiming itself as digital nomads or people coming to Portugal for a slightly longer period of time. However, it can also be used for shorter-term stays too.
The prices seemed to be more expensive than Airbnb – for Lisbon, at least – and there were definitely fewer properties. However, it was useful to know about as an alternative to Airbnb.
As well as Flatio, there are a few other medium-term accommodation sites like SpotaHome and Uniplaces. Generally speaking, these didn’t seem any better than Airbnb, but it’s always worth a look.
One of the best ways to find more affordable accommodation was to look on Facebook. Many Airbnb owners are active in Facebook groups for accommodation in a city (e.g. rooms to rent in Lisbon) or the expat group (e.g. expats in Porto) for that city and so sometimes you can get a property that’s on Airbnb – but without the Airbnb fees.
This is a riskier strategy because you have no protection if they cancel on you or don’t return your deposit, if they ask for one. However, it could be worth it financially, particularly for long-term accommodation.
Yes, you probably want an apartment for a longer-term stay, but do you really need one for a long weekend? Probably not. You’re going to spend most of your time at the beach or out exploring. In fact, not having an apartment or house can be a great incentive to get out there. This is why you should also consider booking a hotel for your trip to Portugal.
Sometimes this can be cheaper than Airbnb and sometimes it can offer additional accommodation options, but not always. Still, it’s worth a shot.
VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) is often touted as a fantastic alternative to Airbnb, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Portugal. While it has a decent number of listings, and the prices are okay, what it lacks is reviews. Most properties don’t have a review, which doesn’t give you much confidence to book.
It is worth a look just in case, but don’t expect this site to replace Airbnb anytime soon.
Plum Guide is definitely more expensive than Airbnb, and it was hard to find a property for less than €150 per night in Lisbon or Porto. This is a good option if you’re looking for luxury accommodation and want an alternative to Airbnb, but it’s definitely not a more affordable alternative.