Our guide to vacation rental websites: Airbnb, Vrbo and more
While we love a good hotel, vacation rentals have a lot of appeal. For families with children, vacation homes offer the space and privacy they so badly need to stretch out and be a bit messy; for groups of friends, they offer social and common spaces and can reduce costs; and for curious travelers, they can give a more authentic and local feel to a particular town or city. When it comes to rental reservation services, Airbnb dominates, but it’s far from your only option. Depending on your specific needs, there may be a better suited service for your next trip. Below, we’ve rounded up the best vacation rental websites to consider when booking your next vacation, along with a few of our favorite homes from everyone.
For more than 7 million options: Airbnb
Well-designed and intuitive, Airbnb is popular for a reason. For users looking to browse the most options in a given destination, with dozens of filters available, from pet-friendly stays to houses with pools, Airbnb can’t be beat. We find the map feature exceptionally useful when searching. It allows you to select the neighborhood or part of the city you want to stay in or explore freely if you are not tied to a destination. We also like the quality accolades: Superhosts, which refers to hosts with a rating of 4.8 or higher and a cancellation rate of one percent or less; Airbnb Plus, which offers added peace of mind, as properties are verified in person against a 100-point checklist; and Airbnb Luxe, a selection of premium stays with luxury amenities and a trip planner to act as a concierge before your stay.
Find out more on airbnb.com.
For reliability and safety: Vrbo
Vrbo stands for ‘vacation rentals by owner’ which is a testament to its history: it started out as a subscription model for homeowners, where users paid annually to list their homes online, after launching in the UK. 1990s. (It also predates Airbnb by over a decade.) The service was acquired by Expedia in 2015 and now offers over 2 million vacation rentals. You can find pet-friendly condos, apartments for city breaks, homes with waterfront views, and rentals with hot tubs. Vrbo’s Book With Confidence guarantee makes any trip a bit safer: Vrbo performs background checks on all hosts and will move guests to alternative accommodation if something is wrong on arrival, such as not being able to check in. enter a property or if this is significantly distorted. Vrbo also only offers entire houses on its platform.
Find out more at vrbo.com.
For chic apartment experiences: Probe
Not quite a hotel or a home rental, but with aspects of both, Sonder offers a new way to stay in your favorite cities. The innovative platform offers private units in apartment complexes in 30 cities internationally, including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and New Orleans. Whether you’re looking for a luxury studio near the Champs-Élysées in Paris or a stylish two-bedroom apartment in Notting Hill, chances are you’ll find it on Sonder. You can also book unlimited stays (ideal for remote workers) and will have access to an app-based concierge service, contactless check-in, and tidy spaces no matter how long your stay. stay.
Find out more at sonder.com.
For point hackers: Homes & Villas by Marriott International
Usually known for its hotel accommodations, Marriott is also in the vacation rental game, offering stays around the world under its Trustmark. Plus, it’s another opportunity to earn and redeem those valuable Marriott Bonvoy points. Homes & Villas by Marriott International differentiates itself further from other booking sites by working exclusively with professional property management companies, meaning you won’t be staying in anyone’s personal home. The highly curated selection of rentals are also verified in person or digitally before being listed on the site. The smaller selection of homes makes them a great option for those new to the online home rental scene or overwhelmed by too many choices.
Find out more at homes-and-villas.marriott.com.
For aesthetics: Welcome Beyond
Founded by two Berlin-based brothers, one with a background in design and the other in finance, Welcome Beyond is a service that selects boutique hotels and upscale rentals that are unique and memorable in their architecture and design. inside. Currently, they have properties available in 38 countries around the world including Tanzania, Indonesia and Sweden. From private islands and a jungle treehouse to a hotel in an ancient cave in an Italian village, the interesting and unique finds here are plentiful.