The Best Way to Rent a Vacation Home: An Expert's Guide

Are you looking for a little extra space on your next vacation? If so, you'll need to find a reliable source to book a vacation rental property. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, with the right advice and some expert tips, you can enjoy a hassle-free vacation rental. Hotels aren't always the best option for families and groups traveling.

When you need perks like a kitchen, a private pool, more space to relax, or the opportunity to live like a local, it's time to seriously consider renting a vacation home. Whether you are looking for a house on the beach, a city apartment, a summer rental or a holiday home in the countryside, you can find it in one of the best vacation rental sites. In this story, we'll focus on the best vacation rental booking platforms, such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and others. Agoda is Asia's Largest Online Travel Agency.

It has a booming hotel business, but it also has a separate Agoda Homes site, where you can find short-term vacation home rentals in 50 different countries, including the United States. Airbnb offers a clean and easy to navigate platform, one that manages to have a minimalist design but also has all the filters you want. Because this vacation rental site combines whole house rentals, private rooms, and even hotel rooms, you'll want to specify (with the “Place Type” button at the top of the search results pages) if you want to have your entire rental to yourself. Individual ad pages are equally easy to navigate, with important information at the top and a clear outline of the total price, including cleaning fees, service charges, taxes, etc.

Guests will be charged a variable service fee that is typically less than 14.2% of the reservation subtotal (nightly rate plus cleaning fee and additional guest fee). Also note that Airbnb has made some significant mistakes when it comes to protecting guests from last-minute cancellations and questionable booking behavior by property owners and managers. But the plethora of options and good guest booking experiences keep people coming back to this popular vacation home rental site. Filters abound on this vacation rental site and include price range, amenities (swimming pools, air conditioning, pets allowed, etc. You can sort by accommodations with a free cancellation option, although cancellation is usually only free until a certain date before booking.

On the individual housing listing pages, you can view a checklist of health and safety measures in place, including contactless check-in, sanitized rooms for guests, use of cleaning chemicals that are effective against the COVID-19 coronavirus, kitchen utensils and cutlery disinfected and other measures. Depending on the destination, you may be able to choose from vacation rental types such as apartments, aparthotels, cabins, condos, cottages, houses and villas. Expedia vacation rental listings have some interesting features. When you enter more than two people Expedia starts marking properties that are good for families. Filters are plentiful and include the usual such as price range guest rating amenities and number of rooms as well as highly specific filters such as accessibility options (accessible bathroom wheelchair-accessible shower etc.).

You can also filter by properties that offer free cancellation or the option to book now and pay later. Expedia shows total price plus nightly rate in search results. Expedia charges fees for booking service although its Terms of Use are very cautious about how much (fees are grouped into taxes and fees in the total price). Tripadvisor is a surprisingly lesser-known player in the vacation rental booking scene. Its size is largely due to the number of vacation rental sites in its portfolio. In addition to vacation rentals on Tripadvisor (the Vacation Rentals tab on Tripadvisor), the company owns FlipKey HolidayLettings HouseTrip Niumba (Spanish) and Vacation Home Rentals.

These vacation rental sites share inventory so using Tripadvisor Vacation Rentals will produce the same results that you find on the other sites. With more than 800 000 ads worldwide there are plenty of options. Tripadvisor's portfolio of vacation rental sites charges guests between 8 and 16 percent. Properties booked through Tripadvisor vacation rental sites are covered by a payment protection guarantee that promises a full refund if you are “barred” or denied access to your rental when you register or if the property is misrepresented. Vrbo is owned by Expedia and is a leading vacation rental booking site in the U. S.

UU. Along with other Expedia vacation rental sites Abritel FeWo-Direkt Bookabach and Stayz offer a massive inventory of vacation rentals around the world. Vrbo clearly indicates the total cost including taxes and fees as well as the nightly rate for each listing. You'll also get clear language before you book about damage charges and cancellation fees.

Cathleen Testa
Cathleen Testa

Typical travel ninja. Hardcore food enthusiast. Evil webaholic. Avid internet expert. Unapologetic social mediaholic.