Airbnb alternatives around the world (WIKI)

I use Airbnb a lot, but I have found that it’s not always the best option. Sometimes there are local or regional sites that work better and have a more affordable inventory for medium term stays.

Let’s use this thread to share some of these competitors. Let’s make this post a wiki so we can keep it updated based on the discussion below.


  • Europe: Uniplaces. Promo code for 25% off: “UNI9E69001”

I’ve used one called Uniplaces in Lisbon. They operate in large parts of Europe. Despite the name they are open to non-students as well (they call it “young professionals”). Only allow rentals of 28 days or longer. They do charge a fixed service fee per rental meaning it’s the same if you rent for one or six months, making longer rentals better financially.

Protip: Use the coupon “UNI9E69001” for 25% off their service fee.

EDIT: The above coupon seems to no longer work. You can use my personal referral code (UNI82275462) for a measly 10% off, or search Google to see if you can find any better ones.

In the UK, you can sometimes find house or pet sitting arrangements. requires a £90 per year fee, but is only £15 for the year. If you don’t mind staying a while and being responsible for people’s belongings it seems like a pretty good deal.

I know it’s an old thread, but don’t go near Uniplaces. Not sure why Thomas is endorsing them. They are scammers, and disingenuous in their advertising.

I thought this was meant to be a helpful website, not one that plugs other dodgy businesses.

I 've met Thomas in person, when he came through Japan on a swing last year. Good, genuine young man, moral, legit. So bear with me supporting him here. On Uniplaces, I don’t think he is endorsing them. He mentions that he’s used them, that’s all, with details. Shrug.
(Everyone is curious to hear their scammer stories, though, to be informed, so please share.)
And we were AirBnB hosts for three years, know those scammy guys well. They have their own agendas on so many levels. When a Filipina whore, managed by her sons, and their Turkish John-on-a-custom-holiday paraded through our home, well, that was the last straw. We stopped.
Moral of the story: do your own checking, use your own sense, there are no guarantees, and lots of surprises wherever you go.

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Haha interesting post. My post wasnt intended to be a dig at Thomas, blog posts can sound blunt in fairness.

I went to book a room for 2 months in uniplaces, 400 euro pm in Lisbon. On paying, there was a “one off service” fee (fair enough I can live with that). Then suddenly there was a security deposit of 400 euro, plus another fee of 200 euro on top of that. Suddenly a 400e room turned into me parting with just shy of 1600e.
A woman rang me from Uniplaces, asking why I didnt make the payment. I explained in a nutshell its disingenuous, and gut feeling is a big No!! She said she’d look into it. I tried contacting her back but couldn’t connect.
On first glance everything about Uniplaces screams scam. Especially the fact that you cannot ask the property owner some basic questions, they just want you to pay first.

These dodgy business practices need to be brought out into the open. Even my Brazilian current housemate subsequently told me to steer clear of Uniplaces. Air b&b isn’t perfect, but the alternative is far worse it seems.

I will say though that Thomas mentions there is a discount on their “service fee”, so its perhaps not as innocent as you make out.

Good to hear the details on Uniplaces. Thank you. Shoot Thomas a note, ask about this directly. He’ll answer you. He’s upfront about judiciously finding a balance of funding a site/platform/forum and moderating it, while carefully screening anyone or any company/service offering support for running costs. Myself, I check, I always check. Nothing is perfect. One of the nice things here is the wide variety and depth of fantastic new leads, in the forums.

Yeah. I might do. Although I’m sure he’s seen this thread anyway.

It’s none of my business what goes on behind the scenes. I’m just presenting the details of my experience for awareness. The tech industry prides itself on enterprise, innovation and just making things better/efficient. Therefore, scammers need to be exposed as we was things improved right?

On a side note, a 400 euro security deposit requirement for a 2 month stay is just wrong.

Hi Victor, thanks for your input!

While I also agree that it’s annoying that you can’t speak directly to the landlords before booking (although they can relay questions on your behalf), Uniplaces is definitely not a scam. I’ve used it twice for longer stays in Lisbon myself without any issues.

What Uniplaces does is kind of to bring the local rental market online (without the typical markups you see on Airbnb), and it’s the norm to pay a security deposit even when only staying for a couple of months. People are just as capable of thrashing a place in 60 days as they are in a year (or stop paying rent). And a security deposit equal to one month rent is quite reasonable—in many cities the norm is higher, often equal to three months rent.

As for pricing, I always found it to be quite clearly laid out on their site. Here’s a screenshot from a listing I checked now:

I also agree that their service fee is a bit on the high side—especially for shorter stays—but you can reduce it using someone’s referral code. I’ve shared mine above (EDIT: upon checking I realize that’s not even my code—probably just one I found by Googling), as it’s the best available offer that I’m aware of now. I used to share another one, as you can see if you click the edit history:

Unfortunately, that and any other 50% discount code I could find no longer worked.

Actually, when logging in to my Uniplaces account now, I see that they have reduced the referral codes to only give a measly 10% discount on the service fee, so it’s time for me to search for any better codes to share. I also see that a total of two people have used my referral code, earning me a total of €20 in credits. (EDIT: As mentioned above, apparently it’s not even my code, so the two people I referred are probably friends I referred directly.) Not exactly the sums of money that would make me share a product I thought was a scam.

Not sure what fee you were asked to pay here though. I’ve only ever had to pay the rent + service fee + refundable deposit. Anyway, all the fees should be outlined on the listing page, so curious to hear exactly what this fee was for.

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Hi Thomas, thanks for the reply.

I dont know what the 200 euro fee is for either, but it was required to be paid with the second month installment.

So it went like this. Advert 1st month rent 400 + 168 service fee, + 200 + 400 second month, + 400 deposit.

Security deposit is never charged with Air b&b, so why with uni places? Honestly, from my initial experience with all the add ons and disingenuous advertising, I’m sure they’d find a way of holding on to that money (you didnt read the small print etc). You know how it works.

“Scam” is used to describe not getting a service you paid for, so perhaps I’m using the incorrect terminology.

Overpriced and disingenuous is probably the correct description. Plus, after this experience I’d never recommend it to anybody as an alternative to Air b&b.

I use Airbnb a lot also. If you find yourself in Taipei, you may want to check out.