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      November 19, 2018

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Vacation Rentals

  1. TripAdvisor Rentals
  2. Airbnb
  3. Vacation Home Rentals
  4. VRBO
  5. Direct Vacation Rentals
  6. Home Exchange
  7. Agoda Homes

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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

2018

Vacation Rentals

5 stars
Home Away

HOME AWAY Visit Site

Rental Locations:

Global

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Home Away is the world's most comprehensive website for finding the perfect vacation rental. With over 2 million properties listed throughout 190 countries, you're more likely to find that perfect spot at Home Away than anywhere else.

Excellent website functionality is most important when searching for the right vacation rental. Home Away does a great job of providing an advanced search to help you narrow down their thousands of listings into the perfect vacation lodging to meet your needs. You can choose destination, keywords, dates, budget parameters, bedrooms, property type, number of bathrooms, amenities and much more. Home Away takes the website even further by providing suggested vacation rental locations such as romantic getaways, budget vacations, spring break, festival weekends, and more.

With the exceptional number of listings available through Home Away, you're very likely to find exactly what you're looking for. We had a fun time searching different spots around the world, and were amazed at the homes available at the most beautiful locations. Rental prices were very competitive with the other sites we reviewed. Home Away even converts foreign currency rental costs to USD to ease your search effort.

Overall, Home Away leads the pack in vacation rental websites with a superior search functionality, one of the largest property listings, and even global listings to meet anyone's needs. If you're considering a vacation rental for your next trip you should make your first top Home Away. They earn our highest rating.

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4.5 stars
TripAdvisor Rentals

TRIPADVISOR RENTALS Visit Site

Rental Locations:

Global

TripAdvisor is the worlds largest travel website. Using TripAdvisor’s global community reviews, TripAdvisor Rentals allows the individual to explore over 830,000 homes in 190 countries to find the perfect rental. Whether you are looking for a house at the lake, a studio in New York City or a castle in Ireland – TripAdvisor Rentals has thousands of options for you. Once you’ve found the perfect rental you can search through thousands of reviews on things to do, places to eat, best attractions all around your selected location.

Why use TripAdvisor Rentals? Vacation rentals provide space, amenities, privacy, flexibility, comfort and so much more for a great value. TripAdvisor Rentals allows you to select your desired location, dates, bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, price point and so much more. Once you have selected your rental you have access to reviews, an overview of the property, amenities, availability, map of location, information about the owner and numerous photos. Price points for TripAdvisor Rentals and other competitor websites are similar.

Most people are familiar with TripAdvisor and the number of reviews that are available on their website. Consumers traditionally love reviews and the information they provide. TripAdvisor Rentals has had issues historically with fraudulent reviews but they do a good job identifying and blocking this activity. All reviews run through a filter to identify any issues prior to publication. Once reviews are published, owners have the ability to respond to any communication. This lets the readers see both sides of a review.

Who doesn’t love reassurance that the place you rented will be perfect and if its not you will be covered. TripAdvisor Rentals offers a payment protection plan for all renters. If the renter has been prevented or denied access to the rental or the property has been misrepresented, you are covered up to $10,000. There is a catch – you have to make sure you book and pay everything through TripAdvisor Rentals.

TripAdvisor Rentals is like an all-inclusive resort. Everything you could possibly need is on their website. The amount of information and possibilities for travel are endless. Just make sure you have some destinations in mind or you could be running searches for weeks!

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4 stars
Airbnb

AIRBNB Visit Site

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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4 stars
Vacation Home Rentals

VACATION HOME RENTALS Visit Site

Rental Locations:

Global

Vacation Home Rentals is a no frills website listing approximately 13,000 rental proprieties available for your rental needs. This large listing features nice pictures of homes, condos, cabins, apartments and more along with detailed information about the property, local entertainment and any reviews left by prior renters.

The rental listings are significant and span the globe with housing available in all 50 states, across the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, Asia, Europe, South America and beyond. The majority of listings are from the US so if you are looking for a lot of choices in an international land you may want to shop a higher ranked provider.

Searching the website is rather straightforward. You are able to select the country, state, number of bedrooms, number of occupants, and dates. Once the selection arrives you may sort by price, bedrooms, property type and more.

Vacation Home Rentals doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles but provides a clean straightforward website to find the vacation rental that best suits your needs. We liked that you could select your currency of choice on rental prices to suit global vacationers. We also liked the number of listings Vacation Home Rentals brings to the table. If you are searching for rental Vacation Home Rentals is worth your time.

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3.5 stars
Vacation Rentals By Owner

VACATION RENTALS BY OWNER Visit Site

Rental Locations:

Global

Vacation Rentals by Owner or VRBO is a website specializing in private vacation homes that are for rent. Established in 1995, VRBO was founded by vacation rental owners who self-manage their second homes. This website provides rental home listings from over 100 countries and more than 150,000 listings.

The bright vivid property pictures are great at VRBO along with the details of the property. But, we were a bit disappointed in the search capability. VRBO allows you to only input a destination name and amenities or a VRBO #. We couldn't figure out what the VRBO# was for but identified several homes we were interested in and then tried to further sort them by price but with no luck.

VRBO lists icons to help you identify what you're looking for but unfortunately we found these a bit confusing as well. We really wanted to be able to sort within our price range and narrow down our search quicker than VRBO would allow.

With 150,000 vacation homes spanning the globe you can count on finding the right vacation rental anywhere in the world. Based on some of the search challenges this might take you longer than those companies ranked higher. VRBO has the most impressive count of vacation rental homes but the search capability and listing layout creates some frustration. If you haven't found what you're looking for at a higher ranked provider you should consider searching VRBO if you have some extra time on your hands.

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3 stars
Direct Vacation Rentals

DIRECT VACATION RENTALS Visit Site

Rental Locations:

Global

Direct Vacation Rentals is another vacation rental website. We immediately felt it lacked the professionalism and excitement of those higher ranked. Rental listings are located from around the world but with limited selection in many areas.

When arriving at Direct Vacation Rentals you'll notice a lot of pictures, a map and some popular vacation destinations. It took us longer at Direct Vacation Rentals to get our baring and figure out how to navigate the site. When we clicked on the map we found that some countries would bring up rental results but when we clicked on the US not all states had listings and some brought up properties from all over the globe.

We decided the map wasn't getting us where we needed and moved on to the advanced search button we were excited to find. We typed in a few key destinations and again noticed a very limited number of properties available for rent. We also noticed that several properties were missing pictures and several didn't list their prices. We became a little frustrated at that point having to inquire about something so simple as the weekly rent. A positive to the site is the advanced search functionality, once we found it. We did like choosing our budget range, property type, bedrooms, internet, pool and more.

All in all, Direct Vacation Rentals has the potential for a good vacation rental site but lacked rental listings and a clean clear website to compare to those higher ranked.

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2.5 stars
Home Exchange

HOME EXCHANGE Visit Site

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.

Visit Site

2 stars
Agoda Homes

AGODA HOMES Visit Site

Rental Locations:

Global

Agoda is one of the world’s fastest-growing online travel booking platforms. Established in 2005, the start-up quickly expanded all over Asia and has continued to spread. Agoda is headquartered in Singapore, with 53 offices in major cities across over 30 countries and over 3,700 staff worldwide speaking 40 different languages. It provides a network of over 2 million accommodation properties, including apartments, villas, homes, and hotels in over 7,600 destinations all over the world. South Africa, Portugal, Iceland, France, California – the world is your oyster.

Agoda Homes lets you select your destination city, dates and number of travelers. Once you hit search you are taken to the next screen which is like an explosion of information. You have the option of narrowing your search based on price, star rating, property attractions, amenities, payment options, property type and many more. Even though you have selected looking at a home, Agoda also wants to remind you that there are hotels and rooms available in these areas as well.

Agoda advertises that they have over 2,500 customer service agents working 24/7. Unfortunately, it sounds like these agents are rarely accessible. If you do speak to someone they are often very rude and unhelpful. The Better Business Bureau has given Agoda a F rating due to the number of complaints filed against the company. Incorrect bookings, horrible customer service, unfair exchange rates, false advertisements. Ouch! Agoda also offers a “best price guarantee.” If a competitor has a lower price, they will refund the difference to you. From scanning through customer reviews, money rarely is refunded for price matching or for cancelling a booking.

Our advice is to use this website for researching destinations and book elsewhere. Their low prices are not worth the potential hassle if you need help or to cancel your booking. As always, buyer beware!

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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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