What are the AirBnB alternatives outside the United States
April 27, 2014 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for AirBnBs for international travel, probably especially for Asia particularly Japan, and for the Scandinavian countries. I'm mostly interested in services for medium-term durations -- say, two to six weeks. Sites offering unusual housing (e.g. converted barns, lighthouses, treehouses) would be interesting to me, as would heritage sites and retreat-like spaces such as temples and monasteries that offer accommodation for nonreligious people. I'm interested in both urban and rural destinations.

AirBnB works pretty well for me, and I'm experienced as well with services like HomeAway. I'm most interested in niche (unusual/retreat/boutique) sites for international travellers, and in whatever sites local people use in their own countries, although ideally the latter would be accessible to people who speak English only. Thanks for any suggestions you can offer :)
posted by Susan PG to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
You probably already know about CouchSurfing, Servas (peace oriented) and Hospitality Club but they are free ways to find places to stay and for the shorter end of your timeframe Servas might work well if you are down with their general outlook.
posted by jessamyn at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2014

Airbnb is rapidly expanding outside of the US, so it wouldn't hurt to check for your destinations.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:17 PM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think the OP is clear that they are familiar with AirBnB and are looking for other options. (I used AirBnB successfully in Korea, but when I look at listings for Japan, it's not too inspiring. Many interesting cities have no AirBnB presence at ll. Other cities do but the rates are often as high as hotels with not much to make the AirBnB option more appealing.)

Anyway, you could try this ryokan listing, this other ryokan listing, or this minshuku listing (though it leaves you to find the websites for the named minshuku yourself). Also, machiya in Kyoto and Okayama villas and temple lodging (we stayed for a couple nights in a temple on Koyasan). Not sure if those are what you're looking for, either, but worth a try.
posted by wintersweet at 12:32 PM on April 27, 2014

AirBnB definitely has a strong foothold outside the US. 9Flats is the one that I've seen touted as the "European AirBnB" a couple of times. Travelmob is meant to be used a lot in Asia. I've not any personal experience with either site.
posted by Magnakai at 3:49 PM on April 27, 2014

I think you're looking for VBRO, which has a huge world presence.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:34 PM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

We used Airbnb to book apartments in Paris, Berlin and Budapest. Very impressed with the selection available.
posted by vac2003 at 1:59 AM on April 28, 2014

France has a superb government-run registry of "gîtes", which are kind of like individually run B&Bs. It is used extensively by French people who have a lot of vacation time but not necessarily as much disposable income. You can search on their English site by many criteria, including "unusual". The big downside for U.S. travelers is that many expect a deposit and then final payment sent in advance by wire to an IBAN account number and do not accept credit cards. BofA wanted $50 per transfer! I was able to use xe.com instead to make the transfers very affordably. Anecdatally, we found a lovely, large 2BR apartment in a historic center for €680 a week including cleaning fees.
posted by wnissen at 7:24 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

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