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Kayak Review

Friday, February 23rd

2024 Vacation Rental Site Reviews

Kayak Review 1.5 Star Rating


1.5 Star Rating
  • Travel search engine that finds deals on vacations, flights, accommodations, and car rentals
  • Filter for free cancellation and price tracking alerts

Kayak, a metasearch engine owned by Booking Holdings, is widely known for its role in revolutionizing the travel industry since its inception in 2004. As a comprehensive travel search engine, Kayak aims to assist millions of travelers worldwide in finding the best deals by aggregating information from various travel sites. With an impressive growth trajectory and a portfolio of international brands, Kayak has established itself as a prominent player in the online travel domain. However, our research of Kayak's vacation rental booking service has uncovered significant concerns and left us deeply dissatisfied.

Typical booking process

When booking a vacation rental through Kayak, we found the process to be relatively straightforward. By navigating to the "stays" tab and entering our desired location, dates, and number of guests, we were able to initiate the search. Kayak also offers a free cancellation filter and price tracking alerts in case you're not ready to book and want to wait until it's cheaper. Kayak ranks vacation rental properties using internal algorithms and sorts booking options based on factors such as price, guest ratings, and popularity. The cheapest offers are highlighted in green.

Kayak isn't responsible for issues with finer details of your vacation

Kayak provides a live chat option for assistance. Any problems with your vacation booking itself will go through and be subject to the policies of the respective partner. The same applies to cancellations.

Unsatisfactory customer service

We didn't find much about customer reviews for Kayak's vacation rental booking service. However, we did come across some negative experiences with flight bookings, which might suggest similar issues with vacation rentals. One customer had a tough time when their flight was delayed and they asked for a refund. Even though the refund was approved, they had trouble communicating with Kayak's customer service team and didn't get the refund they were promised.

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Fraudulent practices and misleading advertisements:

Another user shared a disturbing experience about Kayak canceling their booking and trying to charge them more than double the original price. This showed a lack of honesty and openness on Kayak's part, causing the user to describe the company as fraudulent. Additionally, we found numerous instances where customers described booking through Kayak, only to discover their deal that had been advertised as the lowest available was actually far more expensive than they could have booked it for elsewhere. Kayak's response? "Tough luck: you clicked on the deal."

Trouble getting refunds

Other reviewers have reported purchasing through a company listed on Kayak, expecting it to be safe. However, they then experienced trouble canceling or getting refunds. The responsibility lies with Kayak for partnering with a company that cannot be trusted and not taking accountability for the situation.

Stay away

Overall, we were disappointed and concerned with our experience using Kayak's vacation rental booking service. Despite their claims of being a game-changer in the travel industry, we found numerous issues and problems. Their customer service and refund process were inefficient, and we encountered fraudulent practices, misleading ads, and untrustworthy partnerships. We recommend being cautious when using Kayak as a travel booking platform. With an "F" rating and no accreditation from the BBB, it's clear that Kayak has a long way to go in earning the trust of travelers.

What's the Best Website to Use for Booking a Vacation Rental?

Are you tired of the same old hotel experience when you go on vacation? Do you crave something more unique and personalized, where you can truly feel at home even when you're away? If so, then vacation rentals might just be the perfect solution for you.

If you've ever stayed in a vacation rental property, you already know their charm and allure. Unlike traditional hotels, vacation rentals offer a level of comfort, privacy, and flexibility that is hard to match. These properties are often privately-owned homes or apartments that are rented out to travelers on a short-term basis.

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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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Continued from above...

Vacation home rentals come fully furnished and equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, from kitchen cupboards full of cookware, to cozy living areas and comfortable bedrooms. It's like having a home away from home, complete with personal touches that reflect the unique style and taste of the owner.

One of the best things about vacation rentals is the sheer variety of options available. Whether you're planning a family reunion, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, you can find a vacation rental that fits your needs perfectly. Want to relax by the beach? There are countless beachfront properties waiting for you. Prefer a secluded cabin in the woods? You'll find plenty of those too. From urban lofts to countryside villas, there's something for everyone.

Unlike traditional hotels that are typically owned by large hotel chains or corporations, vacation rentals are often owned by individuals who use them as second homes or investment properties. These owners may be local residents or people from different parts of the world. Some vacation rentals are also owned by small property management companies or vacation rental agencies that handle the day-to-day operations on behalf of the owners. These agencies may handle tasks such as marketing, guest communication, and property maintenance.

How do you go about choosing the right vacation rental? That's where vacation rental websites come in. These platforms connect travelers with property owners, making it easy to browse and book the perfect vacation rental for your needs. Not all vacation rental websites are created equal, though. It doesn't matter how many properties they have if they don't offer good customer service or aren't responsive when you need assistance.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making your choice:

  • Reputation. You want to use a website that has a solid track record and positive reviews from previous users. Look for platforms that have been around for a while and have established themselves as trustworthy and reliable. Has the platform been rated by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Selection. The more properties a website has, the greater your chances of finding the perfect vacation rental. Top rental websites have extensive listings across various destinations, ensuring you have plenty of options to choose from, while others may be limited to one country. If you're looking for something special or traveling to a popular destination during a busy time, like a holiday or summer break, you'll have better luck finding a place to stay if the company has a large selection.
  • Pricing and fees. Some websites advertise a lower per-night cost on the search page than what you'll actually end up paying after cleaning and amenity fees. It's also a good idea to check if the vacation rental you're interested in is listed on multiple websites, as there may be price differences that could help you save some cash. Look for websites that offer transparent pricing and don't surprise you with hidden costs.
  • Cancellation policy. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes plans change unexpectedly. A flexible cancellation policy can provide peace of mind in case you need to modify or cancel your reservation. Make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions regarding cancellations, refunds, and any applicable fees. Does the property owner determine the terms of the cancellation period, or does the website have a blanket policy?

Ready for a vacay? To make it a breeze to find the perfect stay, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked the best vacation rental websites currently on the market. We hope this information helps you find the perfect home-away-from home accommodations for your next trip, no matter where you want to go.

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