Sometimes one of the best things to do whilst planning a trip is looking for accommodation!
Whether you’re looking for a quiet cabin in the woods or a luxurious 5* hotel, there are plenty of options out there.
However, how do you decide which rental site to book with?
There are so many choices and each of them offers a HUGE variety of properties.
Rather than waste your time searching for the most popular option, we’ve brought together the best vacation rental websites in this guide.
So, let’s take a look at your options...
Honestly, the reason why there are so many different vacation rental sites out there is that they each focus on a key part of the market.
Specializing in specific types of properties and then building a loyal fanbase within that market!
Below I have categorized the various sites into the following 4 categories, to help you quickly find the perfect vacation rental for your needs.
Hotel-based sites are one of the most popular ways to book accommodation, and they are super easy to use.
Hotels essentially list the property with websites like Booking.com, and then you’ll book your room through the rental site itself.
This offers you protection in terms of cancellations, and will also give you a breakdown of each room type, amenities, and on-site facilities.
It’s a great way to compare prices, and don’t be misled by the name as these types of rental sites offer a HUGE variety of accommodation options. This can range from quirky cabins to 5* hotels!
This is a fancy way of saying, “properties that are owned by everyday homeowners”.
In the last decade, these have exploded in popularity, and by far the most notable name in this industry is Airbnb.
Love them or hate them (as plenty of people have good reason to) they have done a fantastic job at making vacation rentals more unique and more affordable.
Peer-to-peer sites allow people to book out a room or a full property for a short amount of time.
However, quite often they’re a fantastic option if you’re looking for more long-term rentals as you may get a discount for staying over a month.
They’re also popular with large groups and families, as you can rent out a full property for an absolute steal!
I wanted to make this its own section, as regional vacation rental sites are often overlooked as a fantastic search tool.
For example, if you want to stay in a log cabin in the Alps, chances are you’ll head to Airbnb. However, despite conventional wisdom, many unique property owners HATE Airbnb, or simply do not want to list there.
This is where specialist regional rental sites come into their own.
We love Homeaway/Vrbo, and actually used them for our FIRST ever trip away!
We spent 4 nights in a cosy wood-fired log cabin, not far from Neuschwanstein Castle. Every other site was either booked up, too expensive or simply not what we were looking for. But this specialist site stepped up and offered EXACTLY what we wanted.
You will notice that there is a lot of crossover in this list, as many sites list a mixture of hotels, homestays, unique rentals, long-term stays etc.
And it is hard to put each and every site on this list neatly into one category.
But I wanted to finish up with what can somewhat be referred to as major comparison sites. They actually bring together listings from many of the tools on this list and present them to you to find the cheapest prices.
So they don’t themselves list the actual properties but will tell you which site is cheapest and has availability for your chosen property/dates.
Number of listings: 28 million+
Best Feature: The Genius Loyalty Booking System
Booking.com is without a doubt one of the most popular hotel-based sites out there!
Operating worldwide, it offers a HUGE variety of properties ranging from luxury hotels to quirky cabins.
Not only that but Booking.com offers a Genius Loyalty System where you’ll get discounts on rooms if you’ve booked a certain amount of stays through the rental site.
The discount ranges from 10% - 20% depending on what level you are, and can be used in over 390,000 hotels.
If you make it to the highest Genius level, you’ll also benefit from FREE breakfasts and room upgrades at selected properties.
They even offer a price match guarantee if you find your property cheaper elsewhere.
Booking.com is one of the most popular vacation rental sites out there for a reason, and is a fantastic option!
Number of listings: 1 million+
Best Feature: Hotels.com Rewards
Hotels.com is another great option if you’re looking for cheap vacation rental sites.
They’ve got a fantastic loyalty system called Hotels.com Rewards which offers three levels; standard, silver, and gold.
After you’ve collected around 10 ‘stamps’ you’ll get a reward night, but that’s not all!
As you climb up the levels you’ll get a variety of awesome benefits including FREE breakfast and room upgrades, early check-in, and free car upgrades with their car rental partner.
Hotels.com also offers flexible bookings and free cancellation on most hotels, which is great if you’re unsure of the exact travel dates or itinerary.
You won’t be short of accommodation options either, as they offer a wide variety of properties aside from hotels. This includes Aparthotels, B&Bs, cottages, and apartments.
As you can see, Hotels.com is easily one of the best vacation rental websites out there. However, prices are often cheaper elsewhere so just keep this in mind!
Number of listings: 36,000+
Best Feature: ROAMIES!
If you’re a budget traveller, then one of the first places to check for vacation rentals is Hostelworld.
They have over 36,000 listings across 178 countries, so there are options all across the world ranging from Thailand to Peru.
Being one of the world’s largest hotel websites and featuring over 13 million guest reviews, you know you’re in good hands if you choose to book a budget stay through Hostelworld.
Not only that but they offer a hostel chat, where you’ll get to talk to other guests staying at the hostel before you get there!
This rental site offers something VERY unique too, as it’s recently released ‘Roamies’. Roamies are essentially small-group tours, where you’ll get to stay in the world’s BEST hostels.
These tours are super cheap compared to other options out there and are offered in Asia, Europe, Central America, and South America.
Number of listings: 60,000+
Best Feature: Can redeem Marriott Bonvoy Points
Homes and Villas is part of Marriott International and offers travellers the chance to stay in stunning vacation homes.
They offer properties in over 700 destinations ranging from Croatia to New Zealand, so there’s an adventure waiting for everyone.
Many of the villas are luxurious, and some sleep up to 10 guests so they’re a great option if you’re travelling as a large group or family.
One of the best features of this rental site is the fact that you can redeem Marriott Bonvoy Points.
Marriott Bonvoy Points offers a range of benefits including priority late checkout, room upgrades, and discounted member rates.
Home and Villas by Marriott, also offer points incentives throughout the year like earning double the points for a stay!
This rental site offers 24/7 support too so they’ll always be someone on hand to help with any issues you may have.
Number of listings: 3 million+
Best Feature: Can book accommodation as a package deal
Although Expedia isn’t the first place that comes to mind when booking accommodation, it’s a great option.
They offer millions of accommodation options around the world ranging from apartments to hostels, so there’s something for every type of traveller.
What’s great about Expedia is that you can book your accommodation as a package deal, including flights and car rentals so you’ll have everything in the same place.
This can save you up to $200 so is definitely worth checking out!
If that’s not enough to convince you, then there’s also the Expedia Rewards program where you’ll get discounts and membership perks.
You can even save up to 25% off accommodation when booking through the Expedia App!
As you can see, there are plenty of perks to benefit from if you book your accommodation through this rental site.
Number of listings: 2 million+
Best Feature: Up to 30% off international hotel rates
Although Agoda is generally Asian-focused, they now offer properties in a variety of different countries.
This includes Australia, Mexico, and the United States, so there are plenty of destinations to choose from!
They’ve got something for every budget ranging from hotels to luxury resorts, and you’ll find a variety of fantastic deals too.
You can get up to 30% off international hotel rates on many properties, and Agoda also offers great discounts for long-term stays. There’s also a Deals Page where you can check out other offers too.
With FREE cancellation on most properties, affordable options, and 24/7 support, this has to be one of the best options out there.
So, if you’re looking for vacation rental properties then make sure you check out Agoda!
Best Feature: SUPER easy booking process
Klook isn’t often the first point of call when booking accommodation, but it has plenty to offer.
Like Agoda, its primary focus was originally Asia but today they’ve got plenty of fantastic accommodation options around the world including Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.
There are lots of stunning hotels to choose from, but Klook also offers all-inclusive packages and other deals to help you save costs.
The website is also VERY easy to use, as it can be translated into 23 languages and you can convert the price into 42 different currencies.
To make the process even easier, Klook offers a variety of payment methods including online banking, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.
As well as hotels and staycations, you’ll find plenty of great deals for tours, transport, and car rentals too.
Number of listings: 2,000+
Best Feature: Last-minute deals are often available
Cool Stays is one of the best websites for unique vacation rentals - trust me!
This rental company offers some of the quirkiest properties in the world ranging from treehouses to lighthouses, and there are so many options to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for a luxury villa in South Africa or a cosy cabin in Canada, there’s no shortage of adventures waiting for you.
Although Cool Stays is predominantly based in the United Kingdom, they have properties in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States as well as other destinations.
It’s FREE to sign up and members will benefit from last-minute deals and exclusive discounts!
Although they don’t have a rewards or loyalty system, you can purchase gift cards for Cool Stays. I know what I’m asking for now when it comes to birthdays!
Cool Stays may have a limited amount of listings, but just don’t rule them out!
Number of listings: 1,000+
Best Feature: Creating itineraries for the whole family to enjoy!
Kid & Coe is one of the best vacation rental sites for family getaways, especially if you have young children.
They offer family-friendly properties that have been checked for their suitability and work with local partners to give you the best experience.
This includes providing concierge services, baby equipment rentals, and epic itineraries that will suit the whole family.
Not only that, but there will be toys and books waiting for you at the property and other amenities including a backyard, sunroom, and surfboards. However, the amenities will differ depending on the location.
Kid & Coe offer properties in 50 locations across the world including Australia, Indonesia, and Portugal so there are plenty of options.
The website also has a ‘special offers’ page where you can find great discounts, so make sure you take a look!
Number of listings: 245+
Best Feature: Price match guarantee
Not many people have heard of Welcome Beyond, but it’s a rental site that offers boutique hotels and holiday homes.
They don’t have many listings, as each property is carefully reviewed to make sure it fits the company's design and quality standards.
However, you’ll find stunning accommodation options in a variety of destinations including Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States.
One of the best features of Welcome Beyond is that it offers a price match guarantee, so they’ll always try to match the price if you find it cheaper elsewhere.
Many properties also have flexible cancellation policies which is a must during the current climate!
If you’re struggling to choose, then this rental site offers a personalised service too where you can just pick up the phone and they’ll help you find the perfect holiday home.
What more do you need?
Number of listings: 5.5 million +
Best Feature: Airbnb Experiences
Airbnb is undoubtedly one of the BEST sites for vacation home rentals, and one of the most popular for that matter!
It’s a leading giant when it comes to holiday rentals, and has every type of property you could imagine ranging from tree houses to secluded igloos.
Whether you’re looking for a luxurious getaway or you’re travelling on a budget - there’s something for everyone.
Many of the properties offer excellent facilities including an equipped kitchen, and some are pet-friendly too so the whole family can come along!
Not only that, but this rental site also offers something called ‘Airbnb Experiences’ where you can get involved with some fantastic activities in the area where you’re staying.
Just keep in mind that many properties often have extra charges including cleaning fees and service charges that you’ll need to pay as well as the nightly rate.
However, it’s still one of the top dogs when it comes to peer-to-peer rentals!
Number of listings: 2 million+
Best Feature: HUGE variety of properties across the world
VRBO is another fantastic option when it comes to peer-to-peer rental sites.
This rental site was actually rebranded in 2020 when HomeAway and VRBO were brought together.
With over 2 million properties in 190 countries, you’ll have endless options!
So, whether you’re looking to relax on the beaches of Goa or road trip around the United Kingdom, there’s something for everyone.
VRBO is also a great option if you’re looking for large rental properties, as they offer a variety of villas and holiday homes that sleep up to 14 people a night.
Once you split the cost, properties of this size are incredibly cost-effective too.
Expedia owns this rental site and has recently announced that in 2023 it will be bringing in a loyalty program called One Key.
This will allow you to redeem points across Expedia, Hotels.com, and VRBO which is fantastic!
Number of listings: 33,000+
Best Feature: Authentic Homestay experience
Homestay is one of the more unique vacation rental booking sites and offers a fantastic experience.
The website is tailored toward a homestay experience, where you’ll be staying in the property with a host!
This gives you a great opportunity to meet people, learn about the local culture, and make real connections.
You’ve also got the option of both short-term and long-term stays, which can make your trip incredibly affordable. With full access to the kitchen and other facilities, you’ll get great value for money.
Homestay offers over 33,000 homestay experiences in 176 countries, so there’s a wide variety of options.
Whether you’re looking to relax in Paris or party in Rio de Janeiro, you’re guaranteed to find somewhere to your liking.
Just think of the friends you’ll get to make too!
Number of listings: 2,000+
Best Feature: Dedicated trip designers
If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, then Airbnb Luxe is the rental site you need to check out.
Although originally Luxury Retreats, it’s now a sub-part of the Airbnb website after it was bought out several years ago.
It offers some of the world's most extraordinary homes but that’s not all!
If you decide to book a property with Airbnb Luxe, you’ll be rewarded with high-end amenities, a variety of tailored services, and dedicated trip designers. Yep, you heard me correctly!
This rental site offers trip designers that can plan your itinerary down to a T to make sure everything is just right.
You’ll also have access to local professionals ranging from personal chefs to massage therapists.
If that’s not enough to encourage you, then Airbnb Luxe offers a variety of add-ons too including private airport pick-up and a fully-stocked house.
Whether you’re looking to visit Australia, Greece, or South Africa - you’re guaranteed to find a property to your liking!
Number of listings: 80,000+
Best Feature: Offers last-minute deals
With over 80,000 apartments, cottages, and villas to choose from, you won’t run out of options if you decide to book with Clickstay.
This rental company has over 16 years of experience and has properties available to rent across the world. Some of the most popular destinations include Asia, Africa, and the United States!
Whether you’re looking for a luxury villa or a self-contained unit, you’ll have plenty of options.
For some of the properties, you can even book directly with the owner!
If you’re looking for last-minute deals, then Clickstay is one of the best places to check out!
They offer discounted villas and family holidays for a great price, and you’ll be staying in beautiful locations like Spain and Florida.
So, if you’re wanting to book a spontaneous trip then check out their late deals!
Number of listings: 700,000+
Best Feature: Many of the properties are VERY cost-effective
Holiday Lettings operate in over 150 countries ranging from the United States to France.
With over 700,000 apartments, cottages, and villas - you won’t have a shortage of options if you decide to book through Holiday Lettings.
However, as well as the standard property rentals, this rental site also offers unusual stays including castles and yachts so be prepared for an adventure!
You’ll be renting a property directly from the owner through Holiday Lettings, and will save a great deal of money along the way.
Many of the properties are VERY cost-effective too, especially when the price is split between a group!
Whether you’re looking to relax in Miami or stay on a yacht in Portugal, there’s something for everyone.
This easily makes it one of the BEST short-term rental websites!
Number of property listings: 4,000+
Best Feature: Unbeatable package holiday deals
If, like us, you live in the UK, then your absolute best port of call for holiday packages in Tui.
We spend a lot of our time looking for the best value deals on hotels and flights, and we are both still shocked by the sorts of deals that Tui puts out.
Available both online and in store, you can find deals on hotels, cruises and package holidays.
And much of the time, their deals with flights included are crazy good value.
For example, we recently stayed in a luxury all-inclusive resort in Cancun called Dreams.
We paid around £1,800 for 10 nights there, working out at around £90 per night each.
Bearing in mind, this is possibly the nicest hotel we have ever been to, where even the basic rooms would be considered top-tier luxury.
You have half a dozen waiter service restaurants, incredible food buffets, the most mesmerising pools and premium spirits as standard.
We didn't have to book flights for this as we were already in Mexico, but it wouldn't have been much more had we needed to.
If you were to book direct or through other US providers, then the prices we literally quadruple what we paid; I have no idea how Tui secure such cheap hotels.
Cons of using Tui:
Number of listings: 6,500+
Locations: The United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Canada
Best Feature: You can control everything from the app!
If you’re looking for award-winning design and modern décor, then make sure you check out Sonder!
They offer boutique rentals in over 40 cities throughout North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
Although some of the listings are costly, you can find some great bargains - especially in expensive cities like New York and London.
You’ll also be able to control everything to do with your booking from an app!
This includes one-tap WiFi access, requesting late checkout, and access to 24/7 customer service. You’ll even have access to neighbourhood guides so you can decide which attractions to visit.
Not many vacation rental websites offer something like this, which makes it stand out from the crowd!
So, if you’re planning on hitting up some of the big cities take a look at the beautiful properties on this site.
Number of listings: 35,000+
Locations: Primarily Europe, but has listings in the UK, South Africa, and Mauritius
Best Feature: Last-minute offers
Interhome is one of the top vacation rental companies when it comes to holiday homes!
They offer a variety of fantastic holiday homes throughout Europe but also offer some accommodation options in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Mauritius.
If you’re the type of person who loves to stay in private accommodation, then you’ll have endless choices with Interhome.
Every property is checked before arrival, and you’ll be handed the key once you get there. After that, you’ll have a 24/7 helpline that’s available to use if you have any issues.
Interhome also offers special offers and discounts when you book through them, on things like ski equipment and ski passes.
You’ll find plenty of last minute offers and early booking discounts on their website too! I thought that might convince you!
Number of listings: 10,000+
Locations: Primarily mainland Europe, but has listings in the UK, Barbados, Israel, Mexico & the United States
Best Feature: Rigorous vetting process for properties
If you’re looking to stay in some of the world’s most remarkable homes, then this rental site may be the one for you!
The Plum Guide offers stunning accommodation options in over 25 destinations, with the most popular places being London, Paris, San Diego, and Joshua Tree.
However, any old property can’t just be accepted on here!
The Plum Guide has one of the most rigorous ‘home tests’ in the world to meet their quality standards.
They review every property that’s available in the areas they operate in, yet only the top 3% of each price bracket are listed.
Although this means there’s a limited amount of listings compared to other rental sites, you know that you’re going to be staying in a ‘world-class’ property.
You’ll also find options for every budget, as the Plum Guide doesn’t just focus on luxury properties!
Number of listings: 5 million+
Best Feature: VERY easy to use
Trivago is one of the largest hotel search sites in the world, making it super easy to compare accommodation prices.
It compares over 5 million property listings from around 300 booking sites, so you’ll have endless options to choose from.
You’ll be able to look at independent hotels, chains, and a variety of other properties too, so you’ll easily find something to your liking.
Trivago is very easy to use, as all you have to do is search your destination and preferred dates.
You’ll then have a HUGE range of options that you can easily filter out by price, type of accommodation, and guest ratings.
Not only that, but there are tons of other filters too including pet-friendly, free cancellation, and an on-site pool.
As you can see, Trivago offers one of the easiest ways to compare properties and is a big hit with travellers!
Number of listings: 2 million+
Best Feature: Price Alerts to help you find the best deals
Kayak is one of the best sites for comparing rentals, as it searches through hundreds of booking sites to find you the cheapest deals.
It displays results from over 2 million properties, and can sometimes save you up to 35% of hotels.
With millions of verified reviews, endless options, and an easy to use layout - this comparison tool has a lot to offer.
Kayak also offers a price alert system, so you can be notified when prices drop! This can be done through the app or on a computer through your account.
Another reason to use Kayak is that they offer a rewards system with OpenTable. Essentially, how it works is that you’ll get points when you book restaurant reservations.
Depending on how many points you rack up, you can then redeem the total amount against a hotel stay!
Pretty cool right?
Number of listings: 1 million+
Best Feature: Easy filtering system
Tripadvisor is one of the most popular comparison tools out there and has plenty to offer.
With over a billion reviews on the website, an easy to use system, and a handy map feature, it’s no wonder so many people use this site.
Tripadvisor searches over 200 booking sites to find you the best hotel deals, with over 1 million properties to choose from.
They display free cancellation and ‘reserve now, pay later’ options very clearly too, making it easy to filter out unwanted options.
You can also filter out the properties by accommodation type, price, amenities, and traveller rating. Just keep in mind that the traveller rating is based on reviews, and Tripadvisor does have fake reviews listed on its website.
However, the one thing to keep in mind is the website states that ‘payments made by partners impact the order of prices displayed’.
Number of listings: 12 million+
Best Feature: Easy to use filter system
Tripping.com is considered to be the world’s largest metasearch site for holiday homes and rentals!
They compare over 12 million properties worldwide in 190 countries, so is one of the BEST options for finding great deals.
You’ll have plenty of accommodation types too, as this website compares hotels, beach houses, and cabins among many others!
Like other metasearch websites, Tripping.com has an easy-to-use filter system and you can view the properties on a map to help you find your ideal location.
However, one of the flaws of this comparison tool is that some of the properties just state ‘check rates’. You’ll then be taken to the original booking site where you’ll have to find out the prices that way.
Although this can be a pain, it’s a small price to pay for having such a HUGE selection of properties to compare.
Number of listings: 2 million+
Best Feature: Last-minute deals sent to you by email
HometoGo is another fantastic comparison tool that searches thousands of providers to find the BEST deals!
You just have to search for your preferred destination and dates, and then you’ll be flooded with awesome accommodation options.
This ranges from cottages to hostels, so there’s something for every budget too!
If you subscribe to their email, they will often send you last-minute deals that are reduced by 75%.
This is a fantastic option if you’re more of a spontaneous traveller, or you’re looking for a low-cost holiday!
You can also search their website for inspiration if you’re not sure where to visit, and there’s a wish list option too.
So, you can save your favourite properties and then come back to them later!
When it comes to short-term rental sites, your best options are often Booking.com, Hotels.com and Airbnb.
You’ll get plenty of awesome deals, and there’s no shortage of properties as these vacation rental sites operate worldwide.
Although Airbnb and VRBO are very similar, there’s a HUGE difference between them! VRBO only lists whole properties, whilst on Airbnb, you can rent out a private room.
This often makes VRBO seem much more expensive, but it’s a great option for those travelling in large groups.
Some rental sites DO offer long-term stay discounts including Booking.com and Airbnb. If you’re planning to stay for a month or longer, then booking your accommodation through these websites will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Booking.com offers a loyalty program with discounts, whilst Airbnb often discounts properties for long-term rentals.
Many of the vacation rental sites like Airbnb often have great deals for long-term stays so make sure you have a good look around before you book anywhere!
If you're looking for more tips then why not check out our guide on how to get cheap hotel rooms...
Generally, Booking.com is known to have one of the best reputations out there! With its loyalty program, endless property listings, and the fact that it operates worldwide - this rental site has lots to offer.
Whether you’re looking for a budget stay or a luxurious getaway, Booking.com has something for everyone!
As you can see, there are tons of vacation rental companies and websites out there! Many of them you can download as apps too which makes accessing them so much easier.
Each one has something unique to offer, and which one you choose will depend on what you’re after in a property.
For general hotel bookings, the two best options are often Booking.com and Hotels.com.
However, if you’re looking for a unique or large property, you’re better off using one of the peer-to-peer sites like Airbnb.
You’ll also need to consider where you’re staying as some rental sites are only regional.
If you’ve got any more questions about the best site for vacation rentals, then don’t hesitate to drop a comment below!
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