Hotels may have room service, but rentals offer additional perks—more spacious accommodations, the ability to save dough by fixing a few of your own meals, and often, a more low-key, authentic travel experience. The Internet has made it easier than ever to find a fantastic rental anywhere in the world—and here’s where to start your search.
A new entry from the TripAdvisor group, FlipKey.com has a more limited selection of rental listings than other sites, but offers TripAdvisor’s signature five-star user reviews—giving you a real traveler’s view of the pros and cons of any particular property, including specific ratings on everything from cleanliness and service to overall value. Includes more than 100,000 properties from locations around the world.
HomeAway.com has an extensive range of rentals, more than on any other site we checked out. (The HomeAway group also includes VRBO.com (125,000 listings), VacationRentals.com (35,000 listings), GreatRentals.com (29,000 listings), and CyberRentals.com (170,000 listings)). The search function 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 ($101 for a $5,000 rental), which will help you recoup your losses if the rental isn’t as was represented on the site, the property was double booked or the home has been foreclosed upon. Includes 185,000 properties from locations around the world.
Zonder.com focuses on North American destinations, and offers a stellar guarantee for free: If the property owner charges additional fees, misrepresents the property substantially, or double books the house, Zonder will help you find a new (and better) rental—or refunds the price difference. (Number of listings not published.)
For last-minute bargains, DestinationVillas.com is the go-to spot—input your chosen destination and your e-mail address, and they’ll send you great deals that you can take on when the urge to travel strikes. (Keep in mind, though, that they have no guarantees about the quality of the rentals—so you may want to review any potential rentals elsewhere on the web before you put your deposit down. (Number of listings not published.)