What is the Difference Between a Vacation Home and an Airbnb?

When it comes to planning a getaway, many people opt for a private and unique vacation rental instead of a standard hotel. But what is the difference between a vacation home and an Airbnb?Generally speaking, if you rent your house for 15 days or more, you must pay taxes on rental income. You can also deduct rental expenses, such as cleaning, maintenance, utility bills, and insurance. However, the amount of expenses you can deduct depends on whether the IRS considers your property to be a personal residence or a business.

This distinction is determined by the ratio of time you personally use the property in relation to the amount of time you rent it. If you use one of the housing rental management companies, they'll send your rental information to the IRS. For more information, you can read the IRS publication.


offers the best mobile experience, while VRBO stands out in terms of web experience. Airbnb focuses more on the user experience, thanks to the “experiences” section that allows users to discover activities near their destination, including hiking, yoga on the beach, walking tours, etc. Airbnb also requires its guests to create an account, while no accounts are required to go to the VRBO website. Not all transactions go as smoothly as planned.

Whenever there is a conflict or dispute between guests and hosts, both Airbnb and Homeaway expect the parties to reach an agreement without involving a support team. While Airbnb hosts a Resolution Center through which disputes can be resolved, Homeaway acts as a mediator between the owner and the host. However, compared to Airbnb, Homeaway makes it more difficult for a guest to request a refund when a property doesn't match its description.


, short for Vacation Rental By Owner, is an online marketplace that allows landlords to rent their accommodation. After a hiatus during the beginning of the pandemic that abruptly halted travel, demand for short-term vacation rentals increases again. According to its website, there are more than 2 million property listings in 190 countries available on the vacation rental platform. As Vrbo focuses more on family stays, it only accepts bookings for independent holiday homes and does not allow advertising of shared spaces of any kind. Vacation rental security lies in keeping an eye out for misleading ads and determining the real location of the property.

Luckily, there are plenty of options for travelers looking for a vacation rental or any other alternative travel accommodation. As the two main competitors in the online vacation rental market, Airbnb and VRBO have several similarities but they also have their differences. Another factor to consider is the number and type of travelers a vacation rental site attracts and the number of properties each site offers to guests. Experts have confirmed that vacation rentals are safer alternatives to hotels due to the lack of meetings with other guests. Renting a vacation through Airbnb and VRBO is a matter of searching online to find a space that fits your style and needs. If the vacation home is not in the location described, does not have the services described, is not generally clean, or is not the size described, the guest may receive a refund at Airbnb's discretion.

It eliminates the need to submit a booking request and wait for landlord approval and instead allows guests to book vacation rental properties instantly. Over time, it became one of the main players in the hospitality industry specializing in short-term vacation rentals, including accommodations in homestays, cottages, apartments, hostels, etc. When deciding where or when to rent a vacation home is no longer the biggest challenge for traveling families.

Cathleen Testa
Cathleen Testa

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