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The Best Vacation Rental Sites

The 6 Best Vacation Rental Sites

What's the Best Website to Use When Booking Your Next Vacation Rental?

If you've ever stayed in one, you already know all of the advantages a vacation rental has over a traditional hotel stay - especially for trips that will last longer than a night or two. Because vacation rental properties are usually fully-furnished apartments, condos, and houses, they give you a home away from home. From kitchens with all of the pots and pans to make a gourmet meal, to washers and dryers that mean you don't have to pack as much clothing, vacation rentals can have it all.

How do vacation rental properties work? Many are owned privately, and the owners take a lot of pride in making sure you have a fantastic stay. You may arrive to find complimentary snacks on the kitchen counter or a binder full of local recommendations for things to do and restaurants to visit, and your hosts could even stop in to introduce themselves.

Tuesday, October 19th

2021 Vacation Rental Site Reviews

Tripadvisor Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Tripadvisor

5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Tripadvisor is the obvious choice for booking a vacation rental. Not only will you find properties in over 200 countries and throughout the US, but you'll also have all of the on-the-ground info you need to eat, play and shop at the most highly-rated places when you get there. And, this is the only platform we found that offers Payment Protection if you're locked out of your rental or find significant problems when you arrive. If you're planning on staying in a house, condo, apartment, castle or chalet on your next trip, you should use Tripadvisor for booking your vacation rental.

Vacasa Review 4 Star Rating

Vacasa

4 Star Rating

Vacasa manages vacation rental properties in the US and several other countries. That means that every listing on their site is handled by their own team of representatives, with local service for cleaning and any issues that may arise. We particularly like the 3-D virtual tours for each property, so there are no surprises about the layout or amenities. While customer feedback for Vacasa is mixed, the company's "A+" rating and accreditation from the BBB is a good indicator that you'll have help if you need it while staying at a Vacasa-managed vacation rental.

Vrbo Review 3.5 Star Rating

Vrbo

3.5 Star Rating

Vrbo, now owned by Expedia, is the one-stop site of several vacation rental companies you may have used in the past, like HomeAway. You'll find over 2 million options here, from basic homes and condos to novel choices like mills and yachts. You'll have no problems using Vrbo to find a place to stay on your next trip - but some complaints on their BBB listing indicate that you could have issues if you need customer service help for a refund or with a vacation rental that isn't as advertised.

Home Exchange Review 3.5 Star Rating

Home Exchange

3.5 Star Rating

Want to get your vacation accommodations for free? It's possible with Home Exchange. The catch? You have to be willing to share your home with other travelers. This service has hundreds of thousands of members worldwide, and it's easy to see reviews from people who have exchanged homes and set your mind at ease before you make a commitment. This is a reliable, well-used service and it presents an opportunity to travel on the cheap - but keep in mind that this is not a traditional vacation rental service by any definition, and unless you live in a popular tourist destination, you might not find anyone who wants to swap houses with you.

Agoda Review 3 Star Rating

Agoda

3 Star Rating

Agoda offers both traditional hotels and rental properties like apartments and houses. The site is easy to use, and a price match guarantee sweetens the deal. But, you won't find as many listings here when looking at competitor vacation rental sites. Combined with a poor rating from the BBB, that fact earns Agoda a rating that's merely average.

Airbnb Review 2 Star Rating

Airbnb

2 Star Rating

Airbnb offers the widest range of vacation rental possibilities, whether you just need a room in a shared apartment for a night or you want an entire chateau to yourself. The service also has a unique "Experiences" option that gives you access to tours, classes and even online sessions with famous people. Unfortunately, Airbnb has the worst possible rating with the BBB - and an advisory there indicating you may be left hanging if you need any kind of customer service.

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Other vacation rentals are owned and operated by management companies, so your experience might feel more like a traditional hotel stay. No matter how your property is managed, it's a great way to have a more relaxing, private vacation. Plus, with unique destinations that include castles, chalets and even boats, vacation rentals are only limited by your creativity (and maybe your budget!).

However, not all sites offering vacation rentals are equal. You won't care if the service you used has millions of properties if they leave you hanging once you've checked in, or if you can't get help from a responsive customer service team when a problem arises. Which one should you choose for your vacation?

Here are several things to keep in mind as you consider the options:

  • Reputation. What do other travelers say about their experience with the vacation rental company? Has the service been rated by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Selection. Can you find a vacation rental property that meets your needs? Some services are in all 50 states and over 200 countries, while others are more limited. If you're looking for something unique or traveling to a destination at a premium time (such as the Super Bowl, Christmas, and so on), you're more likely to get it if the company has many vacation rentals in their "inventory".
  • Pricing and Fees. This varies by property, so you'll want to keep an eye out for any fees above and beyond the cost of the rental itself. This can include cleaning costs, charges for amenities (like heating a hot tub), and so on. You might also want to see if the property you're considering is listed on more than one site, in case there's a price difference that could save you some money.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best vacation rental websites available today. We hope this information helps you find the perfect spot for your next adventure, whether it's a county or a continent away!

The Best Vacation Rental Sites Compare Vacation Rental Sites Compare Vacation Rental Site Reviews What are the best Vacation Rental Sites Best Vacation Rental Site Reviews

Vacation Rental Site FAQ

A vacation rental property is a fully-furnished apartment, condo, house (or even a castle, boat or RV!) that you can book for your next trip instead of a traditional motel/hotel. Many vacation rentals are privately owned, and the owners take pleasure in showing you everything they love about their hometown. It's a great way to get the inside scoop on your destination, from restaurants to activities.
A vacation rental is like having a home away from home. You'll have more room to stretch out, play games, eat and cook (if you want!), and maybe even throw in a load of laundry while you go explore your destination. If you're traveling with a large party - your kids, friends, extended family - a vacation rental will almost always provide the most value if you're staying for more than a night or two.
There are many well-known listing sites that let you browse by destination, number of guests, and desired amenities. Some vacation rental properties are more off the beaten path and not listed with the larger services; you can find those by searching for rentals in the area where you plan to travel.
Just about! (Maybe not in Antarctica though.) You'll have an easier time finding vacation rentals in popular tourist towns and their suburbs, but you may still discover something over the river and through the woods near Grandma's house too.
Most vacation rentals are fully furnished, with all of the linens you need for the bathrooms and bedrooms, kitchen equipment for cooking and eating meals, and often a washer and dryer. Depending on where you're traveling, you could get access to parking spots, a community pool, Wifi and more. Some really attentive property owners stock the bathrooms with spa-quality shampoo and conditioner, offer beach chairs and boogie boards for your use, and so on. You can almost always find a thorough description in the listing of what the rental has to offer.
Read the details to see what your vacation rental has. If it's not listed, it might not be there (e.g. Wifi, coffee maker, etc.). You can usually contact the owner before booking if there's something obviously missing. Also, most vacation rentals do not offer daily maid service; the cleaning is done after you leave, to prepare for the next guests.
Policies vary by owner and by listing service. Most have a required deposit that may or may not be refundable, depending on when you cancel: it's hard for rental properties to book last-minute guests. A travel insurance policy might be a smart add-on, whether you use a vacation rental property or not.
That's not common, but it does happen. It's a good idea to read through reviews from previous guests of the rental properties that interest you: that's usually the first indicator of whether or not a rental is going to be amazing or awful. But, if you book a rental and have problems - you arrive and can't get in according to the instructions you were given, the property is significantly different from what was described, you don't have running water or heat/AC - the listing service might have a toll-free number you can call to get help if you can't reach the property owner/manager.

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