Airbnb Alternatives – Hipcamp – If a tree falls in a forest, and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you have a great vacation and no one wants to hear about it, did it really happen?
Read on to find out…
There are so many alternatives to Airbnb these days that writing a list would take up a whole vacation. But most of them are homogeneous. They all offer the same old, same old listings, and that’s a problem.
There’s a lot more to a vacation than going on vacation. There’s the anticipation, the experience, the memories, and the stories that you can share.
In the early days of Airbnb, part of the attraction, the allure if you like, was telling friends and colleagues that you had done something different. You had Airbnb’d, and they hadn’t. The resulting story would set you apart. You were a trendsetter.
These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hadn’t stayed at an Airbnb. Airbnb has, to some extent, lost its kudus. Staying at an Airbnb has become a vanilla experience. It doesn’t pique people’s interest like it used to.
And that’s where Hipcamp comes in.
Before we start…
I looked through a lot of videos on YouTube so that I could share the essence of a Hipcamp site. The one below captures the difference between a stock Airbnb experience and a Hipcamp adventure.
This couple ventured to the north-central part of Washington State for this trip to check out a Hipcamp spot with fantastic views overlooking the Columbia River.
That view just has to be worth $89 a night, doesn’t it?
You can find the full details here
As a side note – I was taken by the cute little camper in this video. These are made by a company called Timberleaf, and models start from $8,750, ranging to $24,150.
Airbnb Alternatives – Hipcamp
Right place, right time…
Truth be known, we all want new adventures, new stories, and new memories. Most of us also want to do our bit for the environment. A lot of us wish for sharable Insta moments. Hipcamp offers these things and pushes the bragometer to the extreme.
Imagine returning from a trip like the one above, telling friends you’ve been camping in an incredible beauty spot or staying in an off-grid tiny home. Maybe you took your RV to a farm where you got up close with beavers, otters, moose, and many birds, from osprey to herons. Or you can share photos of your hiking break where you stayed in a treehouse.
Hipcamp offers all of these things.
Even though you can rent some of these rentals on Airbnb, there is a side to me that doesn’t want to. I like Hipcamps ecoside, the slightly rough around the edges aspect. It’s a bit off-road.
Just because it’s not a household name makes it more appealing (to me, at any rate).
Airbnb Alternatives – Hipcamp
What is Hipcamp, and how does it work?
Simply put, Hipcamp is an online marketplace connecting landowners with people looking to experience outdoor stays and camping. Its platform allows users to discover and book unique outdoor stays, including campsites, RV parks, cabins, tiny homes, treehouses, and glamping options.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of how Hipcamp works for prospective guests (campers):
- Searching and Booking:
- Guests can search for campsites based on location, dates, type of accommodation, and other preferences.
- Detailed listings help guests find the right match for their needs, including information about amenities, activities, and reviews from previous guests.
- Booking Process:
- Once a guest finds a suitable listing, they can book it through Hipcamp’s platform. The booking includes the total cost, encompassing the host’s price and a service fee for Hipcamp.
- Stay and Experience:
- After booking, guests receive details about the location and any specific instructions from the host.
- Guests enjoy their stay, which can range from basic camping to more luxurious glamping experiences.
- Reviews and Feedback:
- After the stay, guests can leave reviews about their experience, which helps future guests make informed decisions and assists hosts in improving their offerings.
Unique Features of Hipcamp:
- Diverse Options: Hipcamp offers a variety of outdoor accommodations, from simple tent sites to unique structures.
- Accessibility: Makes it easier for people to find and enjoy outdoor experiences.
- Community Focus: Emphasizes building a community of outdoor enthusiasts and responsible travelers.
- Environmental Consciousness: Many listings promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
Overall, Hipcamp is designed to make outdoor stays more accessible and enjoyable while allowing landowners to monetize their unused land. It caters to a range of outdoor experiences, appealing to a broad audience from hardcore campers to those seeking a more comfortable glamping experience.
Is Hipcamp only in the US?
Hipcamp is a US startup and, to begin with was only offering US campsites to choose from. It has since expanded into Canada, The UK, France, and Australia.
I have to say that I came across some negative press regarding Hipcamp in Australia. The company bought out Youcamp, which pioneered the concept of camping on private land in Australia. Once the sale had gone through, Hipcamp closed Youcamp and migrated the listings to Hipcamp. Nothing unusual there – But Hipcamp introduced a 20% service fee and that upset existing users of Youcamp. You can read more about that here.
Airbnb Alternatives – Hipcamp
Hosts offer a variety of experiences to Hipcampers, from primitive campsites to cabins to Airstreams and more. Below are average prices for different types of accommodations offered on Hipcamp, though these numbers can vary by location:
- Tent Sites: $10-30 per night
- RV sites: $20-40 per night
- Structures: (cabins, glamping tents, yurts, treehouses, etc.) $75+ per night
Some structures can run into hundreds of dollars a night, but the majority that I looked at were less than $100 a night in high season.
You can have a budget getaway using Hipcamp; compared to Airbnb’s high season averages of $213 a night (for 7 nights), it’s around half the price.
What are Hipcamp’s policies on environmental conservation and sustainability?
Hipcamp’s stance and initiatives on eco-friendliness and sustainable practices reflect a growing trend in the travel and tourism industry towards environmental responsibility. As a platform that facilitates outdoor stays, Hipcamp inherently promotes a closer connection with nature, which aligns with a broader commitment to sustainability.
Promotion of Sustainable Tourism:
- Low-Impact Accommodations: Hipcamp encourages the use of existing natural spaces for camping, minimizing the need for extensive construction or development that could harm the environment.
- Eco-Friendly Listings: Many Hipcamp hosts offer eco-friendly accommodations, such as solar-powered cabins or tents, and practices like composting toilets and organic farming.
Airbnb Alternatives – Hipcamp
Before I pack up my tent, you’re likely pondering whether Hipcamp is the right choice for your next getaway. The answer, as with many things in life, isn’t a simple yes or no. It boils down to what you’re seeking in a vacation.
If the above video triggers memories, makes you smile, and awakes the hidden camper in you, then it may be time to get the tent out of the garage.
For the Urban Explorer: If your idea of a perfect holiday involves skyscrapers, bustling streets, and the urban jungle, then Hipcamp won’t meet your needs. Hipcamp’s essence lies in the rustle of leaves, not the hustle of city life.
For the Luxury Seeker: If you equate vacation with opulent hotels, infinity pools, and a concierge at your beck and call, Hipcamp’s back-to-nature ethos might feel a bit too grounded. However, it’s worth noting that ‘glamping’ options do add a touch of luxury to the wilderness.
For the Adventure Enthusiast: If you’re someone who yearns for the stars above your head instead of a five-star hotel, Hipcamp is your gateway to paradise. It’s for those who find music in the babbling brooks and a symphony in the wind.
For the Eco-Conscious Traveler: If your compass points towards sustainable and responsible travel, Hipcamp offers you a place to stay and a chance to stay in tune with your environmental ethics. It’s an opportunity to tread lightly and leave a place better than you found it.
For the Budget Conscious: If you’re watching your wallet but still want to weave rich experiences into the fabric of your memories, Hipcamp provides an affordable alternative to traditional accommodation. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the great outdoors without draining your savings.
For the Storytellers and Social Sharers: In a world where unique experiences are the new social currency, Hipcamp offers you tales worth telling. It’s not just about where you stayed but about the sunrise you watched from a hilltop, the deer you spotted at dawn, or the campfire stories that echoed into the night.
So, is Hipcamp for you? The answer is a resounding yes if you’re after an authentic, immersive, and environmentally conscious experience that won’t break the bank. Hipcamp isn’t just about finding a place to sleep; it’s about discovering a space to live, breathe, and connect – both with nature and yourself.
In a world increasingly cluttered with identical experiences and cookie-cutter vacations, Hipcamp offers a breath of fresh outdoor air. It’s an invitation to step outside the box, pitch a tent, and find adventure in the wild. After all, isn’t life too short for ordinary vacations?
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Alan has been working in the vacation rental sector since 2004, when he first created a listing site for his property management company. He has been helping short-term rental owners and managers to stand out in an over-saturated marketplace for over 12 years and has written thousands of articles in that time.
He has written books on vacation rental photography and was the first in the industry to create online marketing courses for hosts.
He has given keynote presentations across various subjects at The Vacation Rental World Summit, VRMA, VRMintel, Host, and The Book Direct Summit.