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      February 24, 2020

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Airbnb vs Home Exchange

To help you find the Best Vacation Home Rentals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Airbnb and Home Exchange.

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Find Your Next Vacation Rental Home With Home Away Today! A vacation rental is a term used by the travel industry that refers to renting a furnished apartment, condo or home for a temporary basis. Rentals can range from an inexpensive one bedroom economy apartment to a lavish 6 bedroom home on a golf course overlooking the ocean.

These vacation rental properties are generally owned by individuals who generate income by renting while they're not being used. Other properties may be owned by management companies and run more like a hotel. Either way, a vacation rental property is an excellent way to save costs and have more privacy. Vacation rental properties are also great for holding a large group of family or friends in a quaint, relaxed setting.

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Best Reviews

2020

Vacation Rentals

4 stars
Airbnb

AIRBNB

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Rental Locations:

Global

Founded in 2008, California-based Airbnb is probably the most well-known name in the vacation rental marketplace, with a staggering 3,000,000+ listings in nearly 200 countries (including, the site proudly boasts, more than 1,400 castles for rent!). Vacation rentals on Airbnb run the gamut, from more traditional arrangements like a townhouse or home for rent, to hosts offering a bedroom or even just a pull-out couch for a night. This type of flexibility is not found on most of the other vacation rental sites we reviewed.

While the thought of sleeping at a stranger's house - while the stranger is actually home! - might sound scary, Airbnb makes a solid effort to screen their hosts before allowing them to post a listing. Of course, the best way to make sure that a rental is legitimate is to check the reviews left by previous guests, unless you're the adventurous sort who is willing to take a chance on a brand-new host. (Just have a back-up plan in place.)

But, if you're looking for a little more privacy, Airbnb has plenty of "entire house" rentals as well. Whichever arrangement you're looking for, start by typing a destination, city, or address into the search box at the top of the page. From there, you'll want to enter your target date(s), and the number of guests (including any children that may be staying as well). From the results page you get after entering those details, you can apply more filters, such as your price range, desired room type (entire home, private room, shared room), preferred amenities, even the language of your Airbnb host.

All that's left is the fun part: browsing the listings that match what you're looking for. You can see at a glance how much the accommodations cost per night for your selected dates, photos, and probably the most important detail: the average rating and number of reviews from previous stays.

When you find a listing that catches your eye, click on it to see more in-depth information, such as a description of the property and details about the host. Be aware that the per-night cost on the results page does not include other costs, such as cleaning fees (determined by the host) and service fees (determined by Airbnb).

One of the most appealing features of Airbnb is the ability to find unique experiences almost anywhere in the world. We could have easily spent hours browsing entries like "Bike with an actor in Hollywood" or "Learn to make real pasta in Italy" - also with ample reviews from previous guests. You may find a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at your destination that goes far beyond the typical theme park, museum, or nature walk.

After all of these amazing perks of using Airbnb, you may be wondering why we gave them a less-than-perfect rating. Unfortunately, many communities - both in the U.S. and around the world - have taken issue with Airbnb. If you google "Airbnb controversy", you'll see for yourself: from big-name hotel chains to local governments, opposition has been raised against Airbnb's set-up.

On the whole, however, Airbnb has everything you could want in a vacation rental site: variety, availability, and ease of use.

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2.5 stars
Home Exchange

HOME EXCHANGE

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Rental Locations:

Global

Originally started as a resource for teachers to swap homes during school vacations, Home Exchange expanded to include more than 65,000 members in more than 150 countries.

It is important that you understand that Home Exchange does not work like a typical vacation rental service. The primary function of Home Exchange is just like the name suggests: you trade homes with someone in a destination you'd like to visit, allowing them to stay in your home while you stay in theirs.

The primary advantage to this arrangement is cost: for a 12-month membership fee of $150, you have access to all of the members in the Home Exchange network. You don't pay to stay in the home you visit, and they don't pay to stay in yours. For longer arrangements, it is up to the homeowners to determine if there are any requirements for utilities, maintenance, and other costs.

Of course, if the thought of having someone stay in your own home - or staying in someone else's - makes you uncomfortable, Home Exchange is probably not a good fit.

Thinking of giving it a try? Home Exchange does have a guarantee where you can get a second year of membership for free if you don't have a completed exchange in your first year of membership. That's not quite as good as a refund, but at least it gives you double the chance of making an exchange happen.

You should be aware that it can be challenging to make exchanges happen. For example, if you would love to stay in an Italian villa but you live on a farm in the middle of Kansas, you'd have to find someone interested in Midwestern farm life. Obviously your chances of an exchange are higher if you live in a popular destination like New York City or a house on the beach. Also, many home exchangers prefer to select travelers without children, so if you have a large family you may find limited options for exchange partners.

In short, Home Exchange offers a unique service that might be a great fit for people who have flexibility in their travel requirements and who are open to sharing their home with others. But, for travelers who are looking for a more traditional arrangement - paying to stay in the location of their choice during specific dates - another vacation rental site would probably be more useful.

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Continued from above

Many owners are making their homes available for rent through vacation rental websites that allow vacationers the opportunity to see pictures and learn about the property, location, and dates available. You may also contact the property owner through the website and discuss the terms of the agreement and payment arrangements.

However, not all vacation rental websites are the same. Using one with the specific qualities you want will save you lots of time and energy. Some of the important attributes you should look for before finding your next vacation rental property include:

  • Search. How easy is it to search vacation rental properties and find exactly what you're looking for?
  • Properties. How broad is the listing of vacation rental properties? For example, if you're looking to stay in Fort Myers Beach will you have 2 or 25 homes to choose from?
  • Locations. Where are the vacation rental properties located? If a website has limited listings in certain regions, knowing that in advance will you save time and frustration.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Vacation Rentals available today. We hope this information helps you find the perfect vacation home that meets your needs!

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