New York City on New Years Eve. Who hasn't thought about doing this trip? I decided to make it happen last year, but as you can imagine, hotels are an expensive proposition in Manhattan.
We decided to make it a group trip - friends from around the country meeting up for a post-college trip. We needed a large enough space to accommodate all of us, and expensive hotel rooms with two beds wasn't happening. Nor a gigantic and prohibatively expensive hotel suite.
Now normally, I would turn to Airbnb to accomodate the large group, but around NYE on short notice, it wasn't happening. I needed a lesser known Airbnb alternative.
Airbnb Is Booked... What Now?
There is a reason Airbnb has exploded in the past few years: it is amazing. If you have never used the service, you are definitely missing out. You can rent anything from a bed to an entire mansion.
With their recent rise to notoriety, vacancy has become an issue in especially busy destinations. We messed up and did not book in advance, so every option was off the table. Hotels were out the window too.
We needed a quick solution - I was not going to miss out on NYE in NYC, even if it meant a hostel bed. Luckily, there is a great alternative: VRBO.
The Best Airbnb Competitor: VRBO
Now, I feel like the name could use some work. VRBO sounds like a corporate real estate company to me. But, after I learned the acronym, I suppose it makes sense (Vacation Rentals by Owner). They have been around for years with a great reputation.
On the renting side of stuff, things are basically the same between VRBO and Airbnb. Generally, VRBO lists vacation homes rather than primary residences. It seems like Airbnb is a better option for small groups with more variety in the listings. But if you need to rent out a great space for a large group... VRBO baby.
We ended up with an awesome and spacious loft in NYC. Beautiful.
There are a few other competitors in the marketplace:
Couchsurfing: this one is great because it's free. Shack up on the couch.