When it comes to finding a site that's reliable and trustworthy in regard to vacation rentals, the task isn't always an easy one. Reviews are almost a surefire way to determine whether or not a property is worth renting but some sites don't even have that - or enough of them to form a concrete opinion. When it comes to rental hosts, some sites don't even specify a way to get in touch with the owners or rental companies, which is another issue entirely. But we digress because this isn't about all the ways that rental companies can let a traveler down - it's about where they can find the best options for their vacation.
While every vacation rental site is not created equal, there are some that definitely outshine the competition. Some have been gaining traction since they started - such as Airbnb - while others are lesser-known but still just as notable.
It's no secret that Airbnb is still leading the charge when it comes to the best, and most highly-rated, vacation rentals. Not only has it been made incredibly easy for guests to book, check-in, and check-out, but the company has made things easier for hosts, as well. With some listings offering thousands of reviews, there's no shortage of other travelers to depend on for a legitimate rating on a property.
Additionally, there's nothing left unchecked when it comes to the property's details. Everything, from which linens and snacks are provided to the house rules or apartment rules, is included in the description, available before a guest even clicks the 'book' button. Airbnb allows potential guests to get in touch with their hosts in the easiest way possible and while no vacation rental company is without its flaws, Airbnb makes it pretty easy to avoid them. With the new customer credit system, Airnbn also has travelers continuously coming back and referring friends, which only further stacks the cards in its favor. The main point of separation between Airbnb and other rental companies, though, is the use of Superhosts - these are hosts that have provided exemplary service, therefore raising the rental bar for others.
HometoGo is a great tool to use when searching for rental property across the board. Since it's a meta-search site, it allows potential renters to plug in what they're looking for in exchange for a myriad of options across the board. Rentals could pop up from Airbnb, VRBO, or any other rental site, and HometoGo makes it easy by taking renters straight to the page of their chosen property.
The great thing about using a search site like this is the fact that it opens doors - metaphorically and literally - in regard to what a traveler might be searching for. Rather than booking right from Airbnb or VRBO, potential renters have the option to flip through results and explore what other rental sites, and hosts, have to offer. This flexibility is great for those who have an idea of where they want to go, and a budget in mind, but aren't exactly sure what type of rental they're looking for. The vast options throughout the search also offer the chance for travelers to snag deals that they wouldn't have found otherwise by using such a specific rental site. Smarter Travel even called this site a 'one-stop-shop' for all vacation rental needs.
Back in 2019, VRBO was merged with HomeAway, which many people might remember if they've been booking rentals for several years now. The two sites often overlapped, anyway, so it was no surprise when the merger happened; however, now, travelers have access to the best of both worlds. The success of both VRBO and HomeAway speaks to the massive volume of rentals that the site has in its arsenal, functioning in very much the same way that Airbnb does. Occasionally, travelers can find better deals by using VRBO, especially if they're looking for casual, laid-back pet-friendly rentals.
The site offers many tools that are helpful in searching for a specific property, including maps that allow the user to expand or minimize their search. This feature, alone, is incredibly helpful when it comes to searching just outside of one's preferred town or city in order to find a more affordable rental. Additionally, traveler ratings, along with reviews, help potential renters determine if a property is for them. Alternative options such as cabins, yurts, and even camping sites are also available on the site - so it's useful for any and all types of rentals.