Wimdu: The Hotel Alternative

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
Nov 08, 2012 / 0 comments

If you’re a longtime reader of Wandering Educators, you know that we espouse traveling like a local. By getting off the beaten path, and learning to live like locals, you’ll have a much richer journey. We especially love meeting locals when we travel – for they are the essence of a place. With suggestions from locals, you’ll find the best places to eat, play, and discover.  But where to find the best places to stay – and meet locals?




We love Wimdu, a site that shares the best of both shared and private accommodations – with locals. Locals list rooms in their houses (or entire apartments, or houses) for rent. Not only do you get a local to talk with and learn from, but you get to truly experience the neighborhood, from an insider’s perspective. This, we love.


Wimdu - Baqueira

Baqueira, Spain


We’ve been exploring Wimdu, for a little bit of travel dreaming. It was interesting to read the owner profiles, and see up close how interacting with locals can really impact a visit. Some hosts offered so very much to guests – including one art-filled zen retreat in Detroit that I fell in love with. While I found the perfect pied a terre in Paris (LOVE the photos of the neighborhood), and a great downtown room in Chicago (close to Intelligentsia, my favorite coffee in the whole world), it was the range of places to stay in Tokyo that impressed me the most. From rooms with artists to an entire apartment for $100 a night (not much more than for a capsule hotel, really) with laundry and wifi in a great neighborhood, Wimdu redefines the experience of travel.


We caught up with the good folks at Wimdu, to learn more about how you can best utilize their site.  Take a look…


Please tell us about Wimdu...

Wimdu.com is part of a new revolution in the online travel market, helping travelers and holidaymakers become more independent by giving them wide choice and flexibility when choosing a place to stay. You can book a single private room in Paris, stay in a Guest house in Greece or rent a whole luxury apartment in New York.


It is an online booking platform that lists private rentals for people searching for alternative short term accommodation. Users of the website can search for and book rooms and apartments in their chosen destination. Through the website they have direct contact with the owners of the properties and can book their stay securely online in a simple, fast and straight forward way. 


Rather than staying in a generic hotel room or having to share a dorm with other noisy travelers, Wimdu helps people ‘travel like a local’ by putting them in contact with local hosts. Wimdu gives travelers the option to rent affordable private space making for a more relaxing and independent experience. A great advantage of booking private accommodation for your holiday is that you get a slice of local life by staying in real homes. Your hosts can also give you insider tips on where to go and what to see so you get a more personal travel experience.



Wimdu - Cape Town

Cape Town


What was the genesis of your site?

Wimdu was formed in early 2011 in Berlin by two young entrepreneurs, Arne Bleckwenn and Hinrich Dreiling, who realized the potential for this kind of service in Europe. Arne and Hinrich are no strangers to start-up companies, having launched several companies over the last 5 years. They teamed up to found Wimdu in March 2011 and with the backing of German IT investment group, Rocket Internet,  Wimdu has grown rapidly ever since - and now has a growing network of over 50,000 properties in over 100 countries and 100,000 registered users.   


What can users find on your site?

Users will find a user-friendly platform that is easy to search through and straight-forward to navigate. It works just like other popular booking engines so you just enter in the destination you want to visit, when you want to go and how many people are going and then hit ‘search’. You’ll see a list of all the available properties in that area and find something that takes your fancy and that fits your budget. You can narrow the search further by selecting the type of properties you are interested in (private rooms, entire apartments or shared rooms for example) and the amenities you want to have (such as wi-fi, ‘family friendly’ or air conditioning) . You can also choose properties based on their location by clicking on the ‘map-view’ which shows you exactly where they are situated in a map.


Once you have chosen a property that looks good, you can ‘see the offer’ to get more detailed information, see the terms and conditions, user reviews and the price for your chosen dates. You can browse through photographs of the flat and read a description about what to expect. The great thing is that you can easily contact the owner through the website before booking if you have an specific questions for them. 


Wimdu - Kenya



How does someone go about becoming a host?

If you are a private property owner you can start benefitting from listing your property on Wimdu at any time. Anyone with a spare room, an empty flat can sign up to be listed and start receiving guests. Wimdu makes it easy to earn money from your extra living space and you also get to meet lots of interesting people from around the world. It’s easy to sign up and list your property for free. 


Is this type of accommodation safe? Who are the hosts?

Hosts come from all walks of life and their stories and backgrounds vary. There is no need to worry, though, as all our new hosts are verified and their properties are checked by our service team before being listed on our website. To protect you further, we only release payment to the host 24 hours after a successful check-in, so you have peace of mind in the unlikely event that you arrive and the accommodation is not as listed. In this case, we would help you find another space.


On every property listing, you can also see how many people have booked with the host and we also encourage travelers to review their stay. We have a star rating on our website, so you can benefit from the experienced of other users by reading their reviews directly on each property page. We also insure every traveler against damages during your stay, so you can have a worry-free trip.  


Wimdu - Capri



How do you suggest travelers best prepare for their journeys?

Booking a stay at a Wimdu property is easy and straightforward. Each host has their own preferences and cancellation and check-in policies vary depending on the host’s preference. We recommend you double check the terms and conditions clearly stated on each accommodation page before you book. Everything can be pre-arranged with your host and you will get all the extra information from them once you complete your booking.  Most of the time, you can arrange with the owner to meet at the flat to hand over the key - and some hosts will even come pick you up and escort you to your flat! 


Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

If you are looking for a unique and new travel experience then we recommend you try out Wimdu. Our list of unique properties around the world is growing all the time and we are constantly working to improve our service. To get more of a taste of how Wimdu works please watch the video below or get in touch to find out more.


Photos courtesy and copyright Wimdu