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Best Vacation Home Rental Companies

How to Determine the Best Vacation Home Rentals Website

Travelers have many options when considering a home rental vs hotel. With numerous competing websites offering short-term vacation home rentals it can be overwhelming. This guide will provide tips for finding a vacation home rental that fits all your needs. The vast majority of travelers will find that vacation home rentals are better than hotels.

The best vacation home rentals will depend on a lot of factors. No matter which platform you are searching on, read every word presented to you throughout the process. Not only does each social home sharing website have its own rules, but then individual properties get to make their own rules too. By booking any short-term rental you are agreeing to both the platforms rules and the individual host’s rules.

Types of Vacation Rentals

Renting Out an Individual Bed

On the low end of the budget and space offerings by short-term rental companies is offering a shared room. A shared room includes an individual bunk bed spot or potentially a pullout couch for sleeping. Guests booking a shared room could be sharing the space with the property owner or even multiple other travelers. Booking a shared room doesn’t ensure you have any private space to securely store belongings.

Renting Out an Individual Bedroom

In an effort to keep costs down but also sleep in a room where nobody can stare at you, booking a private room might be right for you. A guest can book a private room in a home and most or all living spaces will be shared. As with the previous option, the common areas could be shared with the host or random travelers. Booking a private room allows you a space to store your belongings away from the access of other occupants.

Renting Out an Entire Personal Home

Some hosts have chosen to give access to their entire home for various durations of time. A homeowner could offer their home when their family is away on holiday, while they are on a business trip or they could simply pick up and leave whenever a booking comes in. If you own a home, you could be sitting on a hidden goldmine of profit by renting out your house.

Rates for entire personal homes tend to be set a bit higher because of the costs associated with vacating the home. The home’s occupants essentially displace themselves in order to invite guests into their residence. One homeowner started offering a family home for rent year-round and generated a $41,000 income stream in just one year. Because these homes serve as personal residences for homeowners they often come fully stocked with items like condiments, children’s toys and bathroom amenities. For travelers wanting a full-service vacation experience, these homes are the best vacation home rentals.

Renting Out an Entire Dedicated Vacation Home

Many homes offered on social home-sharing websites are full-time vacation rental homes. With a dedicated short-term rental property, they want to be rented 365 days per year. Homes that fall into this category give you privacy and typically lower rates. Because an empty home is earning zero funds for the property owner, they will often reduce rates drastically as dates approach and the property is not rented. Dedicated vacation rental homes have a wide range of offerings in terms of how fully loaded the house comes.


With over 5 million locations in 191 countries, it’s hard to imagine anywhere in the world you’d want to visit not having a vacation rental presence. Hosts of short-term vacation houses often list their homes on multiple websites to maximize exposure and revenue. Some of the big name vacation rental websites are more popular in certain geographic areas than others. In order to find the best vacation home rentals in a particular area, make sure to check multiple websites.


Hosts are motivated to always get five-star reviews. They are constantly implementing tricks to make their vacation home feel like a luxury hotel. Look for hosts who take their vacation home rental decorating seriously so you end up staying with only professional level hosts.

It has become a new trend in short-term rentals for hosts to mass rent long-term rentals and outfit them cheaply to make maximum revenue on the vacation home market. When you see properties that have all brand new furniture that looks cheap or generic, tread carefully. Hosts who actually own their vacation rental property have deeper pride of ownership and are more committed to ensuring you have a fabulous experience.

The best vacation home rentals will clearly feature the 3 F’s on their property homepage. The 3 F’s of the finest vacation rental properties are fun, functional and free. Professional hosts know how to balance fun and function on their property to create a customer-centered experience. Additional free touches such as bottled water, breakfast supplies or a welcome bottle of wine are clear ways a professional host stands out from the casual host.


How a vacation rental platform handles both hosts and travelers is important. Some smaller niche specific vacation rental platforms are not as inclusive. By booking on a reputable website you can ensure you are not only getting the best vacation rental homes but also comply with all laws. Major brands like those reviewed here will have a commitment to inclusion, safety and legal compliance. Don’t be fooled by websites that try to help hosts avoid critical guidelines that protect travelers.


As the traveler, you may see the same property featured on multiple vacation home rental websites. The best vacation home rentals are not necessarily the ones listed on all the websites. There are a variety of reasons why a host would choose one platform over another. Each home sharing platform has a different fee structure. The host of the home may think they are charging $199 per night across the board, but the price on the traveler end can vary wildly.

During your research, you should check the top five most popular home-sharing websites. Make sure you read up on the dos and don’t for finding a vacation rental before you submit your booking.

Last updated November 10, 2018
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Top 5 Vacation Home Rental Companies

Airbnb is the best platform if you are booking last minute or seeking a unique property. In their extensive collection of homes there are over 2,200 treehouses and nearly 3,000 castles.

  • 5,000,000+ Properties
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Stay in 191 Countries

HomeAway is the best platform if you want a huge selection of properties with lower guest paid fees. Travelers can spend the night in Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s former London flat or enjoy the peace and quiet of a villa carved into the side of a mountain in Greece.

  • 2,000,000+ Properties
  • Bookings in 23 Languages
  • Stay in 190 Countries

Booking.com offers the best vacation rental homes integrated with complete trip planning resources. Your one stop for every travel detail.

  • 1,500,000 Properties
  • No Booking Fees
  • Stay in 230 Countries

FlipKey is the best platform if you want to combine the vast collection of travelers reviewing restaurants, attractions, and experiences near your vacation rental. Whether you want to stay in an old woman’s shoe or escape to a private island there is a home to suit your desires.

  • 830,000+ Properties
  • 465 million reviews of restaurants, events, attractions, and more
  • Stay in 200 Countries

Couchsurfing offers the best vacation home rentals for connecting with local communities. Connect with friends you haven’t met yet all over the globe. Your accommodations are free, but your memories are priceless.

  • 400,000 Couches Available
  • It’s 100% Free!
  • Stay in 193 Countries