Best Vacation Rental Sites

TOP 10 Best Vacation Rental Sites | Pros and Cons

The days of staying in hotels for holidays are growing less with the wonderful rise of vacation rental properties and the freedom the vacation rental sites provide to hosts and guests.

More people are coming to realize that by using the services of the vacation home/apartment rentals, you can save a large amount of money while getting a whole house, apartment or spare room for yourself on your trip. Property owners are also starting to understand how much money they can make from renting out their homes to vacationers using vacation rental sites such as Airbnb.

When searching for online vacation rental sites or holiday rentals platforms to put your property up for rent or to rent vacations homes for guests, you might get hit with a large number of options on the internet. While Airbnb is the most popular rental platform, there are also competitive sites which provide you with a wide range of options. Having a wide range of options is always good until you realize you have no idea which option will be most suitable for your needs.

That being said, every vacation rental site has its own pros and cons for both hosts and guests. When choosing these sites, you need to gather every information necessary to decide which site will be most suitable for you based on budget, functionality and so on. Below are the major rental platforms with their pros and cons for both hosts and guests.

 

About Airbnb.com: Pros and Cons

airbnb vacation rental host

For anyone who hasn’t already heard of this website, Airbnb by popularity is one of the best vacation rental sites where people seeking rentals and other homeowners who want to rent, can connect with each other. On the site, hosts (homeowners) list out and rent their unused spaces while guests (travelers) seek, find and book these accommodations. Hosts provide details of their unused spaces and the prices while guests search through for the most suitable.


Visit Airbnb

Join as Host | Join as Guest


Pros

Airbnb has a lot of benefits for both hosts and guests. As a host, you can:

  • Make some extra money off that space in your home you aren’t using at the moment.
  • Market your vacancy to people from over 100 countries.
  • Enjoy transactions with no foul play.
  • Enjoy a Host Guarantee Program.

As a guest you can:

  • Find accommodations cheaper than what hotels will cost.
  • Get personalized services both from Airbnb and the host.
  • Reach staff easily via email or phone calls.
  • Find homely environments to spend your vacation.

Cons

Despite the many advantages of using Airbnb, there are some cons for both hosts and guests. For hosts, the cons include:

  • Careless guests might damage your property.
  • Belongings might get stolen.
  • Host guarantee program does not cover delicate home items such as artwork, jewelry or money.

For guests, some of the cons of using Airbnb are:

  • The property might not match the online description.
  • Payment in advance might not be in your best interest and refunds are only possible if hosts allow it.
  • The host might be unresponsive to guest needs.
  • Fake owners might list out homes that do not belong to them.

 

About Booking.com: Pros and Cons

booking vacation rentals

Booking.com is one of the most popular booking search engines. The website is popular for booking hotels online but more than that, you can also book vacation home rentals and apartments. On booking.com, you don’t get to interact much with the host. The standard of renting an apartment is just like that of booking and checking into a hotel.


Visit Booking.com

Join as Host | Join as Guest


Pros

Booking.com offers some benefits which attract both guests and hosts to its services. The pros for guests include:

  • For most places, you don’t have to pay in advance. This means you can book and only pay when you get there.
  • You can get cheap accommodations if you book in advance.
  • Checking into your rental space requires minimal effort. There is no need to contact or wait for your host first before checking in.

Pros for hosts include:

  • You can get a good income when you put your house on booking.com. This is because you don’t have to make your property as cheap as you’d need to do on Airbnb.
  • Excess communication with guests is not compulsory.

Cons

The cons for guest include:

  • Booking apartments on a budget could get you a very low standard, cramped up space.
  • com is always costlier than Airbnb.
  • Low budget bookings can land you an apartment in a poor location.

Cons for hosts include:

  • You won’t get the benefits that come with meeting your guests.
  • Careless guests can get away with destroying your property.
  • There are no guarantees.

 



About HomeAway.com: Pros and Cons

homeaway vacation rentals

Home away is quite similar to Airbnb. It’s more like the advanced version of Airbnb. On the website, there is a better listing for holiday rentals and their target audience are mostly older people, families or a large number of people who want an entire house for their holiday. Most HomeAway hosts are homeowners who list out their properties for a living. HomeAway listings go beyond holiday homes, they can also be castles, condos, cabin, boats and single-family houses.

Pros

HomeAway pros for host include:

  • If you have a home you want to solely be for holiday rentals, HomeAway is the best site for this.
  • You can rent more than just your holiday home. Other properties such as boats, condos, cabins and castles can also be listed for rent.
  • HomeAway guests are often older and more experienced travelers who understand home rental maintenance procedures.

HomeAway pros for guests include:

  • It is easier to find an entire house to rent on HomeAway.
  • HomeAway houses are often houses made for the purpose of listing so you can be certain to get a standard house for your vacation.
  • If you like privacy, HomeAway homes are often holiday homes where you can get a lot of privacy.
  • You can get a guarantee if something goes awry in the bookings.

Cons

HomeAway Cons for hosts include:

  • If you have only a spare room or an apartment, you can’t list your property on HomeAway.
  • You have to pay to list your property on the website because HomeAway listings are subscription based.

HomeAway Cons for guests include:

  • HomeAway site is not as community-based as Airbnb. It is less interactive and a bit more serious.
  • Holiday homes on HomeAway are often high standard hence are expensive to rent.

 

About TripAdvisor Rentals: Pros and Cons

Best Vacation Rental Sites: TripAdvisor

The TripAdvisor is one of the world’s most popular travel sites and one of the best parts about it is, you can also book vacation rentals on it. TripAdvisor is a site where you can get tons of information as a traveler which make it more convenient to simply find an accommodation on the website. One of the best parts about the website is the honest reviews users leave on the site. From the reviews, you can decide on whether or not an accommodation will be suitable for your use.

Pros

TripAdvisor has a number of advantages for guests and hosts alike. The pros for guest include:

  • TripAdvisor has reviews from users which can help you determine if an accommodation will be suitable for you.
  • Along with booking vacation homes, you can learn more about the location you will be vacationing in.
  • TripAdvisor also lets you leave reviews on host homes. This way, the hosts put in more effort to impress you.

The pros for hosts:

  • You can respond to review on your home posts both good or bad.
  • There is no pressure to reduce the price of your holiday home on TripAdvisor.
  • TripAdvisor is a very popular site for travelers so the chances of getting bookings for your home are higher.

Cons

TripAdvisor cons for hosts include:

  • Hard to please guests might tarnish the image of your rental with negative reviews.
  • Competition on the site is quite much as a number of hosts make use as TripAdvisor.
  • You might have to spend more money than necessary to coax your guest into giving you positive reviews.

TripAdvisor cons for guests include:

  • You might get confused about which rental homes to choose based on many different types of reviews.
  • Some positive reviews are bought by hosts with substandard vacation homes who bribe guests, so not all reviews are reliable.
  • There are no guarantees for payment on TripAdvisor.

 



About VRBO: Pros and Cons

Vacation Rental Sites - VBRO

VRBO, short for Vacation Rental by Owners is a part of HomeAway with the difference being in the type of properties offered on the site. VRBO is different from HomeAway based on the kind of properties put out on the site. The properties which are listed on VRBO are much bigger with backyards.

Pros

VRBO pros for guests include:

  • The properties on the site are great for families and groups.
  • You can purchase extra insurance when you book which helps protect your funds if your cancel, from damages to the property and to ensure the rental matches up with your expectations.

VRBO pros for hosts include:

  • Guests who frequent the site know your houses are costly and are ready to meet the rent.
  • VRBO audiences are often experienced travelers so you can be assured your property will be kept safe.

Cons

VRBO cons for guests include:

  • The houses are very expensive.
  • The prices on the site increase after you decide to pay for it due to cleaning costs, tax and processing fees.
  • VRBO requires you pay in full before you even see the rental.

VRBO cons for hosts include:

  • There are no reviews so even when a person has a great stay at your property, there is no way to share it.
  • Guests can come to you with problems at any time during their stay.

 

About Flipkey: Pros and Cons

Vacation Rental Sites - FlipKey

FlipKey is a vacation rental under TripAdvisor which focuses more on group bookings and people going to tourist destinations. The site focuses more on renting out entire houses to a group. As a single traveler though, you can still get rental options provided on the site.

Pros

Flipkey pros for guests include:

  • If you want private room listings in tourist destinations you can easily find one on Flipkey.
  • On FlipKey, you can search for houses with specific amenities.

Flipkey pros for hosts include:

  • Guests can leave reviews on your page which prompts more guests to book your home.
  • Signing up on Flipkey is free.
  • Flipkey customer service is available around the clock.

Cons

Flipkey cons for guests include:

  • You can’t find shared accommodations on Flipkey. Only private rooms.
  • FlipKey has rentals in lesser countries than other sites.

Flipkey cons for hosts include:

  • If you’d prefer putting out shared accommodations, Flipkey does not permit it.
  • Negative rating on your page can discourage other guests from booking.



About HouseTrip: Pros and Cons

Vacation Rental Sites - HouseTrip

Just like FlipKey, HouseTrip is a part of TripAdvisor. HouseTrip is one of the biggest vacation rental sites which makes it a safe site for property rentals. HouseTrip also targets families and groups so the site only puts lists of entire properties. For vacationers who would prefer privacy, HouseTrip is a good choice.

Pros

HouseTrip pros for guests include:

  • The site is user-friendly
  • The hosts are mostly people who list our properties for a living so you can be sure to get a good accommodation.

HouseTrip Pros for hosts include:

  • HouseTrip is a part of TripAdvisor so you can be sure to reach a wide range of audience on the site
  • The payment method on HouseTrip is safe and secure.

Cons

HouseTrip cons for guest include:

  • If you are working on a budget the chances of finding a place on HouseTrip is low.
  • You can’t find shared accommodations on HouseTrip. It’s either a private residence or nothing.
  • The rentals on HouseTrip are expensive.

HouseTrip cons for hosts include:

  • Bad reviews from guests can affect how much customers you attract.
  • You might have to put in extra costs and effort to ensure you meet all your guest’s needs in order to get positive reviews.

 

About TurnKey: Pros and Cons

Vacation Rental Sites - TurnKey

TurnKey Vacation Rentals is a tech-enabled, full-service property manager, while Airbnb and VRBO are vacation rental listing sites. TurnKey will take professional photos of the properties and craft property listings distributed across over 50 rental sites, like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, Expedia, Booking.com, and more. The local teams of TurnKey will ensure to the guests that the properties are professionally clean, guest-ready, and in compliance with local short-term rental laws. This offers to the traveler the experience of a hotel.

Pros

TurnKey pros for guests include:

  • They offer a similar to a hotel experience check in / check out
  • Every property has a dedicated housekeeping team to professionally clean the house
  • You don’t have to worry about a key, and you have a bit more freedom for your busy schedule, it also eliminates the problem of losing your key. You lock and you unlock the property with a code you will receive from the TurnKey app

TurnKey Pros for hosts include:

  • TurnKey expands your listing across 50+ well-known vacation rental sites like Expedia, HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb and more
  • They offer full-service property management for your vacation rental
  • TurnKey offers to fully manage your listing with a 24/7 local property management team, a housekeeping team to clean and prepare your property after every checkout, a tech and support team.

Cons

TurnKey cons for guest include:

  • TurnKey requires that all guests (unless otherwise approved) be over the age of 25
  • They try to upsell protection packages and insurance policies
  • The rentals from the TurnKey can be more expensive and they only offer rentals in the US  but it has plans to branch out in the near future so watch this space.

TurnKey cons for hosts include:

  • TurnKey is a property management firm that means the hosts need to share up to 18% of their net profit with them.
  • You won’t get the benefits that come with meeting your guests.
  • Careless guests can get away with destroying your property.



About HomeStay: Pros and Cons

Vacation Rental Sites - HomeStay

The main difference between Homestay and most vacation rental sites like Airbnb is that you are always living with a host. Naturally, this has its pros and cons depending on what kind of traveler you are. You might find it awkward living with someone you don’t know in their home. On the other hand, it could be the most unique and enriching experience you have on your travels.

The point of Homestay is to give travelers a taste of authentic local life. By living with someone who calls your destination home, you will get a completely different experience to what you would normally have had.

Your host will also be able to give you some background history of their city, tell you about the regional dish you simply must try and help you avoid the tourist traps!


Visit HomeStay

Join as Host | Join as Guest


 

Pros

Homestay pros for guests include:

  • They offer an alternative accommodation style to a significantly lower cost than other vacation rental sites
  • As a traveler, you can experience the local hospitality and you will have the opportunity to interact with the host
  • Homestay offers the travelers to know your host before staying at their listing with a video call and instant messaging

Homestay Pros for hosts include:

  • If you only have a spare room or two to rent you can list them on Homestay and benefit from an extra income
  • Homestay offers the hosts to meet their guest before accepting them to their home with a video call and instant messaging

Cons

Homestay cons for guest include:

  • Lack of privacy and limited freedom when you are staying in the same house as your host
  • You will have to follow the host family rules

Homestay cons for hosts include:

  • Booking fee is 15% for the hosts
  • You don’t have an option to list a private apartment or house, you can only list a spare room or two
  • Lack of privacy and limited freedom when you are staying in the same house as your guests

 

About Wimdu: Pros and Cons

Vacation Rental Sites - Wimdu

Wimdu claims to be one of the best vacation rental sites that offer the best and cheapest deals on city apartments. The website works in the same way as Airbnb with individuals listing their vacation rental properties for short term rents. It also has a built-in review system so you can see what previous guests thought of their stay. While it originally focused predominantly on city accommodation, it has now branched out to include a number of holiday homes. While this detracts a bit from its niche it does offer you a lot more options.

Pros

Wimdu pros for guests include:

  • Guests can rate their overall experience on a 1-10 scale and written reviews are available for all the listings
  • Wimdu guests are automatically covered by the 100% free insurance policy

Wimdu Pros for hosts include:

  • As a host listing your property on Wimdu is totally free
  • Wimdu hosts are automatically covered by the 100% free insurance policy
  • Rental properties are insured up to €500,000

Cons

Wimdu cons for guest include:

  • The insurance policy applies worldwide except for within the USA and Canada
  • Booking fees for guests are 12%
  • Wimdu has not a strict validation system for hosts

Wimdu cons for hosts include:

  • The insurance policy applies worldwide except for within the USA and Canada
  • Careless guests might damage your property
  • Guests can come to you with problems at any time during their stay.



Conclusion about the TOP 10 Best Vacation Rentals Sites

Choosing out one of the best vacation rental sites is relative based on the type of rental you are seeking (as a guest) and the type of house/apartment you are putting up for rent (as a host). If you’re planning a holiday trip and are trying to decide which one of these vacation rental sites will be best, what you need to do is go through the information listed above and decide on which will perfectly suit your purpose.

The best part about having a list of options is that for every holiday situation or vacation escape, there is a vacation rental site to meet your needs. If you’re planning your trip on a budget and don’t mind a small space, there are sites where you can find suitable rentals. If you want a lavish holiday home for you and your family, there are also sites where you can find suitable rentals. Lastly, if you’d rather pay during check-in and not in advance, you can find a suitable platform to meet your preferences.

That being said, what are your opinions on these best vacation rental sites list? As an experienced traveler which is your favorite online vacation rental site to find houses, and why? As a host, what vacation rental site would you rather list your property on and why? Share your opinion with us below!