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Throughout his extensive travels, digital nomad and TPG Contributor Ryan Gargiulo has learned that there are several great options for booking reasonably priced and centrally located short- and long-term accommodations across the globe. Here are a few resources that might come in handy when you’re planning your next big trip.
I used to be the quite the hotel snob, but over the last few years, renting apartments has changed the way I travel. Why would I book a standard hotel room that lacks the amenities and comforts of home (e.g., a full kitchen, laundry facilities, free WiFi, etc.) when I can often rent an entire apartment for less? It’s an absolute no-brainer.
The best rental-apartment listings are located in a destination’s best areas near locally popular restaurants, shops, beaches, hikes and more, while hotels are generally built alongside other hotels. Staying outside of a traditional “hotel zone” allows me to connect with the local side of a destination versus being stuck inside the most touristy and over-priced parts of town.
These four websites are my picks for the best short- and long-term rental accommodations:
I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone has heard of Airbnb at this point, but in case you’ve been living under a rock: Airbnb is the number one web resource for finding both short- and long-term accommodations, with over 800,000 accommodation listings in 190+ countries across the globe. FlyingBlue members can now book Airbnb properties via a new partnership with KLM, and Amex cardholders can earn Membership Rewards on Airbnb bookings.
In the past couple of years, I’ve booked many Airbnb rental apartments in a wide variety of destinations, staying anywhere from a few days to a few months at a time. My experiences with the service have been so consistently positive that Airbnb has become my number one resource for locking down lodging.
My most recent Airbnb stay was a four-month stint in this beautiful apartment with blazing-fast Internet in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Mine was one of three 2-bedroom units in a small complex with a shared pool and a beautiful roof deck with panoramic views of PV and Banderas Bay. If you’re ever headed to Puerto Vallarta and you’re looking for a short- or long-term apartment rental, I highly recommend you reach out to my good friend Javier over at Casa Delfin Azul.
Tip: When searching for long-term accommodation, don’t be afraid to reach out to hosts to ask if they’re willing to offer any discounts for extended stays. Many hosts will be more than happy to lower their monthly rate in order to get tenants who will block out their calendars for the next few months. For more tips, see the TPG post on maximizing points and miles on your Airbnb bookings.
Notable Airbnb Fees
Host Fee: 3%
Guest Fee: Between 6-12% depending on reservation amount.
With over one million registered users and about 300,000 properties in more than 100 countries, this Berlin-based company has definitely found success in snagging a slice of Airbnb’s share in the peer-to-peer rental market. In my opinion, Wimdu is a clear copy of Airbnb and I think they’re doing a pretty decent job when it comes to getting their piece of the private-rental pie, especially in Europe.
The one major difference between Wimdu and Airbnb is that Wimdu seems to focus more on the European rental market while Airbnb has its sights set on global domination. Both are good options for short-term rentals, but if you’re looking for long-term rentals, Airbnb has the biggest selection in a wide array of locations.
While I’ve never rented long-term apartments through Wimdu, I have spent a few nights in a Wimdu apartment rental in Rome and I found the fast, easy and pleasant booking and rental process to be strikingly similar to that of Airbnb.
Tip: Always check Airbnb’s availabilty first before booking an apartment via Wimdu.
Notable Wimdu Fees
Host Fee: 3%
Guest Fee: Flat fee of 12% (ouch!)
Unlike Airbnb and Wimdu, PandaBed focuses solely on the Asian rental market and offers up a wide variety of fully furnished apartments, villas and private residences. PandaBed claims to be able to knock off an average of 50% when comparing their nightly rates to those of a hotel, but who really keeps track of those overly optimistic statistics? All I know is that saving even a few bucks off of your nightly rate (especially in expensive cities like Hong Kong and Singapore) is a heck of a lot better than nothing. Learn more about how PandaBed sets itself apart from major rental sites such as Airbnb.
Note: I’ve never personally used PandaBed, but my friend and fellow travel blogger Sabrina stayed in a PandaBed rental in a traditional village in Seoul, South Korea and wrote about her experience here.
Notable PandaBed Fees
Host Fee: 10%
Guest Fee: FREE! That’s right, zero fees for guests.
With just two years under their belt, SleepOut.com is somewhat of a newcomer to the accommodation-rental game. SleepOut was founded back in 2012 by Canadian-born Johann Jenson and his girlfriend Ayako Bertolli while they were living on Lamu, a small island off the coast of northern Kenya.
Instead of offering your typical run-of-the-mill accommodations as most major rental sites do, Johann and Ayako set their sights on differentiating themselves from the rest of the pack by offering their users unusual and boutique accommodations. While SleepOut’s main business consists of rentals in Africa, islands in the Indian Ocean and parts of the Middle East, they have now expanded to more than 62 countries and counting.
I have yet to use this site to book a rental but I will definitely be keeping it in mind for my next trip to Africa, that’s for sure. I mean, this two bedroom bungalow on the coast of Kenya seems to be right up my alley with a nightly rate starting at just $53 USD!
Note: While SleepOut’s site looks pretty slick, I despise the fact that they don’t allow you to filter your search results based on things such as price, type of accommodation, pet-friendliness, etc. C’mon, SleepOut. Step up your game!
Notable SleepOut Fees
Host Fee: Depends on agreement
Guest Fee: Free
Do you enjoy renting apartments and private accommodations when you’re on the road? If so, what is your overall experience with renting short- or long-term accommodations while traveling?