The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Close up of hands handing off keys to a house
Julien | Adobe Stock

The 14 Best Vacation Rental Sites for Travelers in 2024

Hoping to rent a house or apartment on vacation? You’ve got plenty of options—maybe too many. Travelers looking for the best vacation rental websites have to weed through big online travel agencies, small specialty sites, and everything in between. The process can be overwhelming.

Many people aren’t aware that most of the best vacation rental websites are owned by a handful of large companies—so you could find yourself wasting time searching the same inventory on multiple sites.

The Best Vacation Rental Sites

To help you sift through the options, I tested more than a dozen top vacation rental sites to figure out which ones offer the best combination of plentiful inventory, useful filters, informative listings, and fair prices, without too many hidden fees. I discovered that there’s no single best vacation home rental site, but that each one has pros and cons to suit different types of travelers.

For example, some of the top vacation rental websites are better if you’re open to both hotels and rentals, while others are more specialized to suit those who already know they want a vacation home, rental apartment, or private room in someone else’s space. Some vacation rental sites make it easier than others to browse properties on a map or to contact the owner of a property to ask questions before your stay.

The following are the best vacation rental sites I found in my testing. Scroll down for more in-depth analysis of each.


Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of AirBnb
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Airbnb

The name of this site is almost synonymous with short-term rentals these days, and its reputation as one of the best vacation rental sites is well deserved: Airbnb offers abundant listings in most popular travel destinations, and its site is cleanly designed and easy to use. There’s a prominent map of properties accessible from the main listing page, so you can quickly browse by location. The main listings page offers useful filters right off the bat, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, price, key amenities, and type of accommodation—such as “entire apartment” or “private room in house.” You can also scroll through a listing’s photos right on the initial results page.

Once you click into a given listing, there’s more than enough information to help you decide whether to book, including house rules, bed configurations, cancellation policies, amenities, reviews from past guests, and a full price breakdown (which typically includes things like a cleaning fee and Airbnb’s own service fee). You can also contact the property’s host through the platform if you have questions before you book.

Best feature: The site makes it easier to sort through hundreds of properties by identifying Superhosts (“experienced, highly rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests”) and Airbnb Plus listings (“a selection of places to stay verified for quality and design”). Because standards can vary so widely from one vacation rental to another, choosing properties with one or both of these designations can help travelers feel more confident in their selection.

Cancellation Policy: Airbnb offers several cancellation policies for property managers to choose from. They include:

  • Flexible: Cancel up to 24-hours before check-in for a 100% refund
  • Moderate: Cancel up to 5 days before check-in for a 100% refund
  • Firm: Cancel up to 30 days before check-in for a 100% refund; cancel between 30 and 7 days before check-in for a 50% refund
  • Strict: Cancel within 48 hours of booking and more than 14 days before check-in for a 100% refund; cancel after 48 hours and more than 14 days before check-in for a 50% refund; cancel between 7 and 14 days before check-in for a 50% refund

Airbnb offers similar cancellation policies for long term rentals (28+ days) that can be found here.

Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Agoda
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Agoda lists just about every type of accommodation imaginable, from hotels and B&Bs to vacation rentals and apartments. This is a perk for travelers open to a variety of lodging options, while those who know they want a vacation rental will have to take the extra step of filtering out extraneous search results. (That’s easily done via a “Homes and Apartments First” dropdown option at the top of the results page or searching by property type.)

Property listings offer plenty of information, including amenities, guest reviews, house rules, and an option to contact the host through the site. The site clearly labels whether your booking is nonrefundable or you can cancel without penalty up to a certain date. (In some cases, you’ll pay less if you’re willing to make a nonrefundable booking.)

Keep an eye out for extra fees, which can be significant depending on the property. For example, one property’s listed price was a seemingly affordable $689 for seven nights in the Outer Banks—but when I clicked “book,” the site added a 12.75 percent tax, $63.11 tourism fee, $105 resort fee, $130 cleaning fee, and $260 property service charge, taking my total charges to $1,406—more than double the original quoted price. However, none of these were’s own fees; unlike Airbnb, does not charge guests a service fee.

One annoyance: The site sometimes clutters up the search results page with sold-out properties, complete with a little “You missed it!” message. These are probably meant to spark a sense of booking urgency, but many travelers will find it irritating to see options that aren’t actually available.

Best feature: The sheer breadth of offerings on means you’re almost guaranteed to find something suitable, even if it doesn’t end up being a vacation rental.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policies on are dependent on the specific partner or property. Pay close attention to the policy when booking, or check the property’s website (if applicable) for more information.


Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Expedia
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Expedia

Like, Expedia offers a variety of accommodation types, but it has a dedicated vacation rental search page so you can skip the filtering step. The site offers a good selection of results, though for certain searches I got some listings that really didn’t seem like vacation rentals (TownePlace Suites by Marriott, Outer Banks Motel).

Expedia also features a map to browse through listings in an area, which can be toggled on and off from the results page. Filters are also available while in map mode, so you can set your preferences without going back to the results listings.

Once you click into a listing, you’ll find photos, amenities, policies, reviews, and a list of nearby attractions. However, there does not appear to be a way to contact the owner of a given property. The total price is not visible until you click “reserve,” at which point you’ll see an additional amount listed vaguely as “taxes and fees,” with no detailed breakdown. On many properties, the site notes that you can save on the booking if you log in as an Expedia member.

Best feature: The site has useful filters such as “Business friendly,” to help you find properties with Wi-Fi and breakfast, and “Family friendly,” for listings that have “in-room conveniences and activities for the kids.”

Cancellation Policy: Vacation rental cancellations are subject to specific property policies and must be canceled directly with the property host through the itinerary page in your Expedia account. Expedia allows travelers to filter search results by “fully refundable property” so guests can book with greater peace of mind.


guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & HomeToGo

The prime advantage of HometoGo is that it’s a hybrid marketplace, which means that you can book onsite or search through deals from many of the best vacation rental sites (including most of the others on this list) with one click. Persistent pop-ups and offers to sign you in with Google or Facebook are annoying, but once you’ve cleared them away you can view tons of properties, visible in a clean listing format or on a map. Each listing features photos you can scroll through as well as user rating, type of lodging, and where you can book the property (such as Airbnb,, Vrbo, or directly on HomeToGo).

One handy feature: You can toggle the price filter to show you either the nightly rate or the total cost of your stay, and then adjust your price range accordingly. Other filters include accommodation types (including an “instant booking” option), location, user rating, and amenities.

In most cases, when you click on “view deal,” you’ll be taken to the site where the property was originally listed. However, there are occasional properties where you will go to a HometoGo listing page and fill out a booking request that will then be fulfilled through one of the site’s partners.

I occasionally found that when I clicked over to a deal (particularly on Airbnb), I was not taken directly to the property I was interested in but rather to a list of other rentals in my destination. Unfortunately, travelers will be familiar with this from other meta-search sites; sometimes a given deal simply isn’t available anymore. I also sometimes discovered that the price on HomeToGo didn’t match what was advertised on the original listing site.

Best feature: Despite the occasional pricing glitches, this site is the closest thing the vacation rental industry has to a one-stop shop, as it lists inventory from hundreds of other short-term rental websites.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policies vary by property and can be found in the “Terms and Condition” section of the property details page.

guteksk7 | Adobe Stock &

Like, lists a wide array of accommodation options, so travelers who know they want a vacation rental have to use the “Property Type” filter on the search results page to weed out hotels, hostels, and other options. I appreciated the honesty of the note at the top of the page: “How much we get paid influences your sort order.” That said, you can sort your results by star rating, distance from a given landmark, guest rating, and price, and refine the list with a variety of other filters.

There is a map view available, though I didn’t find it very useful; it shows properties that don’t meet your criteria by default, and by the time you screen those out, you’re often left with just a few options (even if the site is showing hundreds of listings on the main results page).

The list view of results is better, displaying both the nightly rate and the total price for your stay, as well as guest rating and location information. Note that you may need to weed through occasional “fully booked!” listings.

Once you click into an individual listing, you can see amenities, policies, photos, guest reviews, and a list of attractions within walking distance. One drawback: There’s no way to contact the owner or property manager directly. While there is a phone number given for “more info” about the listing, this does not put you in contact with the owner but rather takes you to a general corporate phone number. Taxes and fees aren’t visible until you click the “Let’s book” button, and there’s no detailed breakdown of where your money is going.

Best feature: Many vacation rental bookings are eligible for OneKeyCash (formerly Rewards), so you can count your stay toward a future free night at either a hotel or a rental.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations are subject to individual property policies and guests who wish to cancel a reservation must contact the property owner through the itinerary page in their account. Like Expedia, offers a “fully refundable property” search filter so guests can weed out stricter policies at the start of the booking process. 


Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Tripadvisor
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Tripadvisor

Although it’s best known for hotel reviews, Tripadvisor also provides vacation rentals thanks to its acquisitions of FlipKey and HolidayLettings. (The sites share inventory, so searching Tripadvisor will turn up properties from the other two sites.) There are plenty of listings, which you can filter by price, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, distance from a landmark, and many other factors. The site also lets you change the order of your results based on traveler reviews and number of reviews, making use of its large base of user generated content.

The site has a mix of properties, some of which can be paid for online and others that require direct arrangements with the owner. (The former is generally preferable, as paying with a credit card is the safest way to go—and you’ll be backed by Tripadvisor’s Payment Protection guarantee.)

I found that photo quality could vary widely from one listing to another on Tripadvisor, whereas some other vacation rental sites have more consistently glossy images. Otherwise, Tripadvisor’s listings are generally informative, with traveler reviews, house rules, and an owner profile. Prices and fees are spelled out in detail.

Best feature: The price on the listing results page is the final price you’ll pay, including taxes and fees—rather than the base rate, which is what most vacation rental sites list. Tripadvisor also lists both the nightly rate and the total cost.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policies are not as clearly stated on this site as on some others. There is an option to send a message to the owner through the site. Tripadvisor also gives property owners the option to waive their policy and offer a refund to guests who cancel their stay, so try kindly explaining your situation to your hosts if your trip is disrupted by extenuating circumstances. 


Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Tripping
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Tripping

Acquired by HometoGo in 2019, Tripping is another meta-search site for vacation rentals that turns up listings from hundreds of different sites, including many on this list. When I searched HometoGo and Tripping side by side, I found a lot of overlapping properties, but the results did not appear to be completely identical. (A Rome search turned up 8,800+ properties on HometoGo vs. more than 14,000 properties on Tripping, for example.) So even though the two sites are owned by the same company and offer virtually identical layouts and filters, it may be worth your time to check both.

Tripping offers a prominent map view alongside the listings on its main results page. Like HometoGo, Tripping shows hotels and hostels in addition to apartments, homes, and other types of properties, so you can use the “Accommodation types” filter to trim your results. You can toggle between “per night” and “per stay” options for pricing, specify a minimum number of bedrooms, and filter for amenities such as internet, air-conditioning, and washer. And you can scroll through listing photos right from the results page.

Clicking on “view deal” takes you to an external site for information and booking. As with HometoGo, there were occasional snafus in this process; prices didn’t match, properties weren’t available, or (in one case) I got a dead-end error page. But in most cases the listings were as advertised.

Best feature: Both Tripping and HometoGo have a flexible dates feature that lets you search with a date parameter of “anytime” to see when the best deals are available.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations are subject to the policies found on the booking sites surfaced by Tripping’s search results. Tripping frequently populates deals from its parent site, HomeToGo, who’s cancellation policies (as noted previously) vary by property and can be found in the “Terms and Condition” section of the property details page.


Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Vrbo
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Vrbo

Acquired by Expedia Group in 2015 and then merged with its sister site HomeAway in 2019, Vrbo (originally stylized as VRBO, which stands for “vacation rentals by owner”) offers the strongest features of both sites. You can browse by property type, from condos to cabins, through their catalogue of over 2 million vacation rentals. If you have an idea of the type of trip you’d like to take but aren’t attached to a destination, you can check out their curated lists of properties by vacation type and nearby activities. The search results are displayed alongside a convenient interactive map to show how far your rental is from your target destination. While this is a great visual, if you move the map even slightly the site will recalibrate your search to show you new properties, which can be a bit of a nuisance.

The search results display the number of bedrooms and bathrooms at a glance for each property along with both the nightly price and total price of the stay for the selected dates. Click into a result to see an in-depth and easily navigable description of policies and amenities, along with star ratings and traveler reviews.

Best feature: Vrbo highlights Premier Partners that offer great guest service. The Premiere Host program is invite-only, designed to ensure guests of a track record of success of its members. The program requires that all properties managed by members have an average rating of at least 4.4 stars, a booking acceptance of at least 95%, owner-initiated cancellation rate of less than 1%, at least 3 VRBO reviews, and at least 5 books or 60 booked nights.

Cancellation Policy: Property managers can choose from a list of pre-drafted cancellation policies provided by Vrbo, which include:

  • a no refund policy
  • Strict: 100% refund if canceled more than 60 days before check-in
  • Firm: 100% refund if canceled more than 60 days before check-in; 50% refund if canceled between 30-60 days before check-in
  • Moderate: 100% refund if cancelled 30 days before check-in; 50% refund if cancelled between 14-30 days before check-in
  • Relaxed: 100% refund if cancelled 14 days before check-in; 50% refund if cancelled between 7-14 days before check-in

Property owners are also permitted to create custom cancellation policies. Make sure to review the property page before booking. 

Plum Guide

Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Plum Guide
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Plum Guide

Aimed at taking the hit-or-miss guesswork out of vacation home rentals, Plum Guide has dedicated itself to what it refers to as “the science behind the perfect stay.” This site is extremely selective in its properties, with only 3 percent of homes at any given destination passing its 150 criteria Plum Test conducted by their seasoned Home Critics. 

With a real person team of Plum Experts available seven days a week to assist with any questions and an easy to navigate, highly visual website, the Plum Guide’s people-centric approach to booking will make your vacation rental experience easy and pleasant.

Best Feature: Plum Guide’s best feature by far is their selective criteria. You can be sure you’re getting what you see online. While this can be a blessing if you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing your accommodation has been given a professional seal of approval, it may restrict your options if your travel dates don’t allow for flexibility. 

Cancellation Policy: Plum Guide featured a wide spectrum of cancellation policies, with seven options ranging from SuperFirm60, in which guests receive a 50% refund for cancellations made 60 or more days from check-in, to Premium Relaxed, in which guests will be fully refunded for cancellations made up to 24 hours before check-in.  See their full list of options here.


Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Sonder
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Sonder

Focused on eliminating unnecessary steps in the rental process, Sonder is a streamlined way to book your next vacation rental. Guests can check in, make requests, and ask for recommendations all through their phones. The site’s layout is remarkably easy to navigate—the search results are clean and simple, populating next to an interactive map that displays the rental’s approximate location. Key amenities, such as in-unit laundry, parking, and access to fitness equipment, are highlighted directly on the search results page so travelers can compare at a glance without clicking into the details of each property.

The streamlined designed carries into the details pages, with clearly marked amenities for each property and information on parking, accessibility, and house rules readily available. The pages feature a brief description of the surrounding neighborhood and there’s an easily accessible phone and email contact for any further questions about each property.

Best Feature: Sonder’s totally contact-free process is perfect for travelers who want flexibility during check-in and to have all their communications with their host neatly handled by a dedicated system.

Cancellation Policy: Guests can select their cancellation policy at the time of booking. Choose between the Economy Rate, in which the rental costs less per night but the booking is nonrefundable, or the Flex Rate, which is more expensive but allows you to cancel for a full refund up to three days before check-in.

Marriott Homes & Villas

guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Marriott

If you want the quality assurance of a big hotel brand without the big hotel feel, then Marriott Homes & Villas may be the right site for you. All accommodations come with 24/7 guest support, kitchen essentials, in-unit washer, bathroom amenities such as shampoo and soap, wi-fi, linens and towels, and a television.

The site has the same easy user interface you expect from Marriott. The search function allows you to filter by destination, with travel dates being optional criteria to narrow the search. This is great for those early in their trip planning process or travelers who like to let deals dictate their itinerary. No destination in mind? You can click the “near me” option to see what weekend getaways are available right down the road. Properties on this site typically have upward of 30 photos in their galleries so you’ll be able to see exactly what you’re booking.

Best Feature: Marriott Homes & Villas ties into the larger Marriott Bonvoy rewards program. You can earn points when you book or redeem existing points on a vacation rental. Just set the results to “Show in Bonvoy Points” in the Filter & Sort menu to see how many points a booking costs.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policies vary by property, so make sure you review the policy outlined in your reservation. Marriott Homes & Villas 14-day policy outlines the refund travelers can generally expect to receive depending on the time of cancellation. Reservations made 10 days or less before arrival or booked 11 to 14 days before arrival but canceled after a 48 hour window has elapsed will not be refunded. 


guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Agoda

Agoda allows you to book both hotels and vacation rentals through its online services. With over 2 million hotels and rentals available, at first glance booking through Agoda can seem overwhelming (my cursory search for an August week in Kuala Lumpur returned just shy of 3,700 results). 

Luckily, Agoda allows you to refine its catalogue with highly specific search criteria. Travelers can filter by the typical destination, trip dates, and number of guests, but they can further narrow their search through options such as 

  • Deals and discounts
  • Number of stars
  • Payment options
  • Guest rating
  • Specific amenities
  • Property type
  • Proximity to local attractions 

This is great for whittling down your options as well as sparking some inspiration for how to fill your days at your destination.

Best Feature: Agoda will match any competing online price for their properties or refund the difference (in AgodaCash credited to your account). Once you know where you want to stay, do your comparison research to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policies for each property are outlined on the details page under the Payment & Cancellation section. During search, you can filter by properties that offer free cancellation.


Digital rendering of a laptop showing the homepage of Getaway
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & Getaway

If a break from your hectic day-to-day is calling your name, there’s no better option than Getaway. Getaway makes it their mission to give people the “time, space, and permission to be off.” Their thirty Outpost locations—focused mostly in the eastern and central parts of the country with a few options on the West Coast—are made up of minimalist cabins that range from about 140 to 200 square feet. The mini-kitchens at these properties provide only the bare necessities, but you can supplement your supply by opting for a $35 Sustenance Box, which includes some nonperishable meal and snack options. Other camping essentials, such as insect wipes and log bundles, are also available for purchase.

Each cabin has a firepit, grill grate, and picnic table. The neighbors are close enough to be seen but far enough away that everyone has their own outdoor space to enjoy. Check in starts at 3 pm with a personalized entry code sent to your phone, so it’s possible you may not see another soul your entire trip. The trade-off for some time in the great outdoors is that cell phone service may be spotty or unavailable. However, there is a landline for emergencies and to contact the Getaway team. There’s also no Wi-Fi (and “never will be” according to their FAQ) so make sure to download those Spotify playlists pre-trip. 

Best Feature: If you’re looking for the feeling of an off-the-grid escape but aren’t truly ready to pitch a tent in the middle of the wilderness, this is the right rental experience for you.

Cancellation Policy: Bookings must be canceled at least 15 days prior to check-in to be eligible for a refund.


Open laptop showing the vacation rental search homepage for FlipKey
guteksk7 | Adobe Stock & FlipKey

FlipKey was founded in 2007 and acquired by Tripadvisor the following year. As such, booking through FlipKey gives travelers access to the same Book with Confidence payment protection guarantee found on Tripadvisor’s main rentals search. The homepage is clean and simple, with pre-populated lists of suggested rental destinations like Trending Destinations, Traveler Favorites, Hidden Gems, and Beach Getaways. FlipKey allows guests to filter by an extensive list of rental types like chateau, apartment, and yurt, so you can get highly specific with the type of stay you want.

The listing pages highlight “key information” along the top of the listing, then break down the details like amenities, access, and house rules further down the page. Each property displays a note from the owners about the level of interaction guests can expect to have with them during their stay and a graphic clearly laying out which cancellation policy applies to the property. A map shows nearby attractions and restaurants.

Best Feature: You can save rentals to “My Shortlist” and return to compare your favorites from a variety of searches side by side.

Cancellation Policy: Travelers who wish to cancel their accommodations within 24 hours of booking may do so for a full refund as long as the dates of their stay are at least 60 days away. Cancellations that don’t meet these guidelines are subject to individual property’s cancellation policies, as follows:

  • Relaxed: full refund if a guest cancels more than 14 days prior to check-in; 50% refund if a guest cancels more than 7 days prior to check-in
  • Moderate: full refund if a guest cancels more than 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund if a guest cancels more than 14 days prior to check-in
  • Firm: full refund if a guest cancels more than 60 days prior to check-in; 50% refund if a guest cancels more than 30 days prior to check-in
  • Strict: full refund if a guest cancels more than 60 days prior to check-in

The timeframe within which a guest cancels their booking also determines the portion of booking fees they will be charged on their cancelled reservation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What vacation rental site is right for me?

The best vacation rental website for you will depend on your goals for your trip. Travelers looking for a chic city apartment near the best nightlife spots won’t have much luck on Getaway, while those just searching for the cheapest nightly rate may not need the extra vetting provided by Plum Guide. Determine your priorities—easy access to a nearby nature hikes, in a family-friendly neighborhood, by the best restaurants—and let them guide which sites you book through.

Is a hotel or vacation rental better?

Hotels and vacation rentals both have features that are suited to different travel styles. Those who want the convenience of housekeeping, concierge service, and onsite amenities like dining and fitness centers may prefer the all-in-one feel of a larger hotel. Travelers who value privacy, want to experience life in a local neighborhood, or are traveling with larger parties may do better with a rental. Investigate your travel style and find out what type of accomodation fits your trip with our ultimate hotel versus vacation rental guide.

What is the cheapest vacation rental site?

Sites that offer points eligible bookings, like Marriott Homes & Villas, will be the cheapest option for rewards members. Metasearch sites and OTAs like and Expedia have a larger inventory with more chances to turn up a bargain. However, there is no single cheapest vacation rental site. Each option on the list will surface great deals—its all a matter of filtering and refining search results.

What is the best website for beach rentals?

Year after year, beach vacations remain one of the most popular types of getaways. Options for beach rentals will populate across all sites on this list (with Getaway being a notable exception). Larger sites like,, Tripadvisor, Tripping, and HomeToGo make it easy to compare deals on beach rentals from across the web. However, if you have a specific destination in mind, its worth looking on some of the smaller sites to compare prices. There may be a hidden gem within the results.

Book Your Stay With SmarterTravel Hotels

While vacation rentals are great options for a little more privacy and living space, some travelers miss the perks and conveniences that a hotel can offer. If you’re dreaming of room service and a poolside bar, book your hotel stay for a great rate with SmarterTravel Hotels.

Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2019. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

You Might Also Like:

6 Savings Secrets for Senior Travel
The Best and Worst US Airlines for Lost Luggage
The 10 Best Group Travel Tour Companies for 2024
America’s 50 Worst Cities for Bedbugs
The 13 Best Hotel Booking Sites

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From