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Travel Tip: How to find the best vacation apartment rentals with MeshTrip

For more practical travel tips, such as how to start travel hacking, how to find cheap flights or how to travel around Europe on the cheap, check out the rest of my Travel Tips series here.

The longer I travel, the less appealing are hostels and hotels to me. Especially hostels – while they were still fun and a novelty when I started traveling full-time in 2010, they’re now usually places that are too noisy for me to work in, to get enough sleep, and they aren’t set up for longer stays. Don’t get me wrong – I still stay in hostels, but I also run a business while I travel and often need more privacy than a hostel can give me.

Which is why I have turned more and more to apartment rentals in recent years. But I’ve always found the process of finding and booking a decent apartment complicated and tedious. AirBnB is without a doubt the most popular apartment rental website with the most available places, but I like to compare their prices with rentals on other sites like Roomorama who have fewer apartments listed but often better prices. And by the time I’ve researched in which part of town I wanted to stay, looked up apartments on all different sites and compared prices, half a day was over. But the process of booking the apartment was far from over – now I had to write the host, introduce myself, and inquire about availability. Oftentimes the apartment I wanted wasn’t available or I didn’t even get a reply and I felt like I had wasted hours.

santiago apartment
I researched for hours until I finally found an apartment with rooftop pool in Santiago De Chile

But then I learned about MeshTrip.com.  

MeshTrip is a website (and app) that congregates vacation rentals from all the popular apartment rental websites like AirBnB, Roomarama, HomeAway, WayToStay, HouseTrip etc., in one place – it basically saves you the pain of having to check available apartments on all the different vacation rental sites by putting them into one place.meshtrip main siteAnd the best thing? All apartments listed on MeshTrip are instantly bookable. No more inquiries, no more waiting to hear back if the apartment is available for your dates. It is basically like Expedia for vacation rentals. I was hooked right away.

When I knew I was going to spend time in Berlin this summer with a friend who also prefers staying in apartments, I immediately turned to MeshTrip.

And I was surprised about the amount of available apartments MeshTrip presented, including many apartments from rental companies I had never heard of. There was one company in particular that had some fantastic properties, and I would have never found them without MeshTrip. Or maybe I would have – after hours of research, time that I can spend in more productive ways. But especially because the vacation rental market is growing so fast, with more and more companies offering vacation rentals and private hosts offering their apartments, it is fantastic that MeshTrip saw that there was a gap in the market: a place where all available apartments for a destination are congregated in one place.
Meshtrip partnersThe search function is similar to any other accommodation search engine: you type in your dates and your destination, and if you are overwhelmed by the number of choices, you can filter the search by amenities you want – for example the entire apartment vs. a room, apartments that allow pets, how many bedrooms, apartments with AC or with pool, etc.

I also like that I can choose a price range for the rental which filters out options that don’t match my budget and love the map which shows me right away where the apartment is located, which is how I discarded most places that were available in Berlin (fantastic apartments, just not in a neighborhood I wanted to stay in).meshtrip more filtersWhen I finally chose an apartment, I was ecstatic that I could simply book it instead of sending an inquiry or booking request first. MeshTrip is the only platform that offers instantly bookable rentals only, by the way. Once I had booked the apartment, the process was pretty similar to any rental website: I got an email that my booking was confirmed, and the host got in touch with me later that day to give me some further information. He also sent me text message so that I had his phone number right away, in case I didn’t find the apartment or needed anything during my stay.

The next time I wanted to book an apartment through MeshTrip I noticed that it had integrated Booking.com into their search engine – which just so happens to be my favorite hotel booking website. Initially I wasn’t sure how I felt about seeing hostels and guesthouses offered on MeshTrip, but since I tend to look up which hotels are available in the place I am visiting anyway, it saves me another step of research. And I have also found several apartments I booked in the past via Booking.com, like the one I stayed in during my second visit to Santiago de Chile, and so I guess it adds even more options.

Venice Meshtrip apartment
The place I booked through MeshTrip in Venice

As of now, MeshTrip offers 1.3 million rentals in 190 countries – a staggeringly higher number than just one vacation rental website.

I just used MeshTrip again this week when I realized at the very last minute that I had forgotten to book a room in Venice, a city known for its low-quality hostels and hotels at outrageous prices. After looking at the available hotel options, I was ready to cancel my trip. Instead, I turned to MeshTrip again.

I didn’t even have to look hard, right on the first page of search results was a newly-furbished room in a shared apartment that included kitchen use and free WiFi – for considerably less money than a room in one of the crappy hostels I had looked at! If you’ve ever stayed at a hostel, you know that communal kitchens can get pretty disgusting – but in an apartment with a few rooms only, you can expect it to be much cleaner. Not only was my room super comfy, the bathroom spotless and the kitchen well-equipped – my host also offered free breakfast. Without MeshTrip, I would have ended up in an overpriced hostel or guesthouse with terrible reviews.Meshtrip Venice roomI also ended up staying in a local neighborhood instead of Venice’s tourist areas, and if you have been to Venice, you know how frustrating it can be to be limited to overpriced and mediocre tourist restaurants, no supermarkets around you, and hordes of cruise ship tourist groups traipsing through the streets from morning till the sun goes down. Instead of that, I had a giant supermarket around the corner from my apartment, café bars that serve cappuccino for 1.20 and I had an overall more authentic experience, now knowing where and how the ordinary Venetian lives. Plus, having been a host myself in the past, I know how nice it is to have an extra income and I am always happy to support the local hosts.italy cappuccino and briocheWhat about you? Do you prefer apartments or hotels? Have you used MeshTrip yet?

You can download the MeshTrip app for iOS here and for Android here.

 

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15 Comments

  1. Never heard of Mesh Trip before now, but being a fan of airbnb I think this could become my be favourite booking app! Definitely a fan of apartments these days as we have a little one in tow. Thanks for this!

    1. Amanda – happy to spread the word 🙂 What I love most about Meshtrip is that all apartment listed on there are instantly bookable – already using it again for my next trip 🙂

  2. Awesome find! I always resort to AirBnB for my apartment stays, but love that this searches them all. I actually was clueless that there were other ones. I appreciate you sharing this, and will definitely use this on my trip to Vancouver next weekend! One thing I wish they had though was a filter to rent the entire place of an apartment.

    Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Eric! What do you mean with filter ‘To rent the entire place of an apartment?’ I think that filter is there (room vs whole apartment, if that’s what you mean). Yes, AirBnB has several competitors but they’re definitely the market leader. Many hosts put their apartments on several websites for better chances to rent them out. Enjoy Vancouver and I hope you find a great place to stay 🙂

  3. Never heard of Mesh Trip. If there is anything I hate it is researching hundreds of apartments or hotels. I wish someone would just point me to where they have been.

    Neno

    1. I’ll try to get better about recommending places I’ve stayed at and liked 🙂 Meshtrip is a good place to start your vacation apartment hunt- at least you’ve got all available apartments in one place 😀

  4. Thank you so much for sharing! I love AirBnB but sometimes find there aren’t a ton of options in my price range – great to know about MeshTRIP. Will definitely be using the site for our next trip!

    1. I just used MeshTrip again last week, Kate! I needed a place at very short notice and didn’t have time to contact hosts first and inquire about availability.. which is why I love MeshTrip’s ‘instantly bookable only places’ concept so much!

  5. I’ve only ever heard of Airbnb, so I’m really glad I found this article so that I can take a look at these other sites! I love to compare prices and make sure I’m getting the lowest price possible for everything, especially when it comes to travel. It sounds like Roomorama might be a good option for me because of this! Thanks!

  6. I’ve never heard of MeshTrip before. I like the idea, and think it will be really nice to use when we do a land tour of Europe next summer. We haven’t decided exactly where we want to go, and might actually make some of those decisions last-minute. This site will be a huge help at that point!

  7. Would meshtrip by chance offer toronto apartments? This question came to my mind because my wife and I are going to be traveling to Canada in a couple of weeks. We’re going to be there for only one month while we visit her parents there.

  8. I haven’t heard of MeshTrip before. It sounds like a really useful app, especially with all the different sites being included on it. I haven’t ever rented an apartment instead of a hotel while traveling before, so I’m excited to try it out this summer! I do wonder, though, do you know if these sites offer any sort of insurance for those renting out their space?

    1. Angela – Yes, they all do have insurance for the owners of the apartments. There have been quite a few incidents with AirBnb (owners coming back to damaged homes) that I read about in the news and consequently AirBnb increased their coverage.

  9. Wooh! this is truly amazing dear thanks for sharing .
    Good Apartment is very essential for great vacations .
    Never used Mesh Trip. but definitely gonna use it.

    Thanks dear!

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