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The Best Vacation Rental Sites

posted by Suzanne Kantra on April 11, 2011 in Travel & Entertainment, Travel, Guides & Reviews, Fab Websites, Shopping, Money Savers, Time Savers :: 13 comments

I love hotels with their bath robes, gyms and maid service. When I’m heading out for a week-long summer vacation with the kids, though, I prefer renting a home or condo.

Most rentals are more spacious than hotel rooms, and come with a living room, a dining area, kitchen and sometimes even laundry facilities. Plus, you can cook in or eat out, which saves money and aggravation, especially for those of us with small children.

Since rentals are usually someone’s home, they’re located in places where the locals live. If you’re traveling to a foreign country, this can be a great opportunity to have a more authentic travel experience.

Now is prime time for booking vacation rentals, so I’ve pulled together a list of the best places to start your search.

FlipKey

FlipKey.com, a TripAdvisor site, offers the company’s signature five-star user reviews—giving you real travelers’ views of the pros and cons of any particular property plus specific ratings on everything from cleanliness and service to overall value. Choose from more than 100,000 properties from locations around the world.

HomeAway

HomeAway.com has an extensive range of rental properties, 185,000 from locations around the world. Fortunately a great search engine makes it easy to narrow down the results by destination, rental type (everything from cottages to condos) and bedroom and bathroom count. And you can pay a little extra for the HomeAway Carefree Rental Guarantee ($39 for a $3,000 rental), which will help you recoup your losses if the rental isn’t as it was represented on the site, the property was double booked or the home has been foreclosed on.

Airbnb

Airnb.comAs soon as you start reading the listings on Airbnb.com, you’ll know you’re not on a regular rental site. First, in addition to an entire home or apartment, you can choose to a private room or to share a room in your host’s place. You can see in the reviews that guests enjoy spending time interacting with their hosts. This could be a plus for foreign travel, and you can choose the language your host speaks. There’s also a huge range of property types including boats, automobiles, igloos, treehouses and lighthouses, in addition to the usual cabins, houses, villas and apartments. Airbnb holds onto your payment for 24 hours after you check in, just to make sure everything is OK.

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RentMyPlace.com

From Steve Smith on April 11, 2011 :: 12:20 pm

Check out another great site RentMyPlace.com

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also try...

From FTL Vacation Rental on April 11, 2011 :: 2:50 pm

VacationRental.com (owned by VRBO).
Craigslist is a great place to find a vacation rental, but be careful of scams.  (Be careful on ANY website of scams.)
You might want to just try doing a search to find local vacation rentals.  For example, if you are planning a visit to Fort Lauderdale, FL, just google search ‘Fort Lauderdale vacation rentals’ or ‘Fort Lauderdale home rental’.  You might be able to find some independent homes (like us!)  FTL Vacation Rental.

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Vacation rental properties

From Kelly on April 11, 2011 :: 9:45 pm

There is also a great app for the iPhone that helps owners track their rentals. Very handy app. Tap & Track Rentals

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Which app?

From Cristina Arnal on April 12, 2011 :: 12:22 pm

Which app are you specifically referring to?

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Second Porch Unique and Effective Site for Vacation Rentals

From Sylvia on April 12, 2011 :: 12:09 am

I use lots of sites to find vacation rentals and to promote my own vacation rentals. One of my favorites is http://www.secondporch.com.  As an app on Facebook, second porch uniquely offers the rental guest and the rental owner a better view of who they are communicating with.  It’s the best site for open, interactive communication.

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Rentals In The Villages FL

From Gary on April 12, 2011 :: 7:19 am

Suzanne,

Great article!  Keep in mind that there are alot of great smaller websites that specialize in certain areas or even communities like The Villages.  The Villages rentals can be found on our website at http://www.VillagesHomes4Rent.Com.  We also have a blog to update people on topics that affect The Villages.  The blog site is located at http://www.VillagesHomes4Rent.Com/blog

Gary

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Timeshare rental site

From Bob Kington on April 12, 2011 :: 11:47 am

Another great option for rentals is http://www.Resortgems.com with thousands of timeshares for rent. Resorts like Marriott, Disney, Wyndham, available from owners who aren’t using their units so priced 30-50% less than if rented from the resort. Resort Gems manages the paperwork, contract and payment so there’s no haggling (or risk) of dealing directly with the owner. Operates like Stub Hub does for tickets

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Another great website for vacation

From Jessica on April 12, 2011 :: 6:21 pm

Another great website for vacation rentals is http://www.ScenicRentals.com. It’s a family-run business and they’ve got a lot of great rentals! I’ve always been very happy with them.

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Zonder not current anymore

From Max Rentals on April 13, 2011 :: 1:28 am

Nice article, but Zonder doesn’t really work anymore. Give it a try . . . the inventory is not updated and you cannot book anything on-line. I don’t believe they are actively maintaining that website anymore.

I would also recommend trying a few of the by-owner listing sites.

http://www.vacationrentalconnection.com , http://www.ValueVacationRentals.com and if you are elooking for a vacation rental in the southeatern USA, http://www.bestsoutheastrentals.com

Regards,
Max

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Cavaet Emptor - Bigger is Not Always Better

From Cindy Rhoades on April 13, 2011 :: 11:50 am

Large websites advertising vacation rentals are useful but here is an important caveat. With huge data bases of privately owned properties all over the world being advertised, there is a resulting lack of monitoring that can almost unavoidably occur, and consumers need to be aware of this. For example, I see incidents in the internet where private homes are offered for rent in areas that are not actually licensed to legally rent in neighborhoods that restrict vacation rentals, and where property owners are failing to collect and pay sales and bed tax required by law. In the worse case scenario, I have personally seen 2 incidents where vacation rental properties advertised for rent on craigslist don’t even actually exist!
This being said, it is fine to begin your search on a large data base, but it is smart to find and rent your vacation rental property through a locally owned and operated and licensed vacation rental agency. It could save you some big headaches and disappointments in the long run. In today’s market you will find that, out of necessity, many local rental agencies now advertise on the large vacation rental data bases along with private property owners, in addition to having their own advertising sites. But it is really is worth your vacation planning time to make a deeper internet search and check the world-wide-web for locally owned and operated vacation rental advertising websites in locations where you want to rent. You’ll almost always find more detailed information about the individual rental properties you are interested in, the communities where they are located and specific information on things to see and do in the surrounding area. 

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Tried flipkey

From Villa on April 14, 2011 :: 4:23 am

I have tried flipkey and within a month got 3 bookings…great..not yet using the other so thanks for the hard work..

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VRBO or HomeAway

From Eli on April 02, 2012 :: 2:01 am

We’ve been renting our home for about a year and have tried all of your listed options (and then some).  It seems that VRBO/HomeAway send the vast majority of inquiries our way and seem to have the largest list of properties.  I like the theory behind how Airbnb works, but I think it’s still a bit in its infancy.  Anybody looking for a place in Mexico can obviously just skip all this and :::shamelss plug::: contact us directly http://www.casadoshermanos.com.

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Affordable vacation rental websites with excellent traffic

From Mike on October 19, 2012 :: 3:25 pm

I list with 2 sites that are the best bang for the buck for my rentals.  Both deliver excellent traffic that converts to bookings, which is what it’s all about-bookings.  They are http://www.findmyvacationrentals.com charges $99/year and http://vacationrentals.com charges $199/year. 

My 2 cents…

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