Airbnb is a not only a great option for travelers looking for affordable lodging from San Francisco to Sydney, but also for those looking for a more unusual and memorable stay. The online company offers travelers a range of hotel alternatives from room-shares to private rooms to entire homes in 192 countries, and is quickly becoming a popular option among travelers seeking both short and long stays across the world. But you can also find more unconventional rentals that make for a truly interesting travel experience.
Here are some of our favorites that will make for a different sort of trip - and a good story to tell your friends!
The Tiny Fern Forest Treehouse in Vermont
Sleep among the trees in this adorable perch above the fern-filled forest of northern Vermont. The treehouse's exterior evokes every child's dream playhouse, and the interior boasts a ladder-accessible loft and plenty of windows for taking in the elevated forest view. Enjoy perks like a complimentary continental breakfast, stunning views of Mt. Abraham and Green Mountain National Forest, and a hot tub.
The Off-grid itHouse in California
The eco-conscious will love this acclaimed solar-powered home in a pristine and remote valley of the striking California high desert. Find quiet refuge while leaving a minimal environmental footprint, taking in the wonder of the surrounding natural landscape or exploring nearby attractions in Pioneertown. You won't find cable or internet access here, but you will leave relaxed and satisfied knowing your secluded getaway was good to the planet.
ElquiDomos Astronomic Hotel in Chile
One of seven astronomical hotels in the world, this unique rental lets you sleep beneath the stars in the magical Elqui Valley of Chile. Stay in a two-story geodesic dome complete with a detachable roof for optimal star gazing. Other amenities include breakfast, a swimming pool, access to astronomical tours and telescopes, and horseback riding. Along with the unique space, there's no shortage of natural beauty and incredible views of the valley.
A Beautiful Sailboat on Gran Canaria
This extremely affordable rental will let you sleep on the ocean aboard the classic wooden Odysseus I. Besides enjoying meals on the sailboat's sunshine-filled hull and hanging out in the charming and cozy cabin underneath, sail daily with the host for an incredible and informational tour of the island. We also liked this spacious houseboat in Amsterdam.
A Gypsy Car in France
This creative and cozy car is located in the garden of a local home just outside of Lyon, France. Channel your inner wanderer spirit while staying in this quaint but imaginative space, with its bright and unique bohemian-inspired interior dappled with artistic décor and trinkets. Rental amenities include a swimming pool and homemade breakfast from the friendly hosts.
A Fairytale Boot in New Zealand
Step into a fairytale for a romantic getaway for the young at heart. This rental is literally a boot-shaped private accommodation located in the beautiful Tasman region and nestled between scenic national parks. Enjoy the charming interior straight out of the popular nursery rhyme, as well as al fresco dining, breakfast delivered to your doorstep, and roaming in the estate's many orchards and gardens.
Editor's note: While we really dig the services of airbnb and similar companies such as FlipKey and HomeAway, the rise of the "sharing economy" rental trend among travelers is stirring the waters in some cities, like New York. Be aware that some cities have laws governing short-term apartment rentals and "illegal hotels," and these laws can vary considerably from city to city. You can learn more here.