The best travel apps: Vacation Rentals

Updated 1 year ago

Vacation rentals and homesharing are when you stay in someone’s house, either by yourself or with the hosts. Compared to hotels, it’s usually a more authentic and local experience with a wider variety to choose from. There are modern mansions in the remote country side to cozy apartments in the middle of downtown. Prices vary more too, so it’s possible to find better deals especially if you stay longer.

However, this variety can lead to lower quality, cleanliness, amenities, and safety since there’s less regulation and you’re trusting one or two people vs. an entire hotel staff so really read those reviews. Checking in can also be a pain if arriving at odd hours or if there’s a language barrier (not to mention badly written instructions).

  • Consider staying longer since there are usually weekly and monthly discounts, some of which can be big (20% to 30% off)
  • If you're staying longer than a few days, try negotiating for a lower price as prices are set by hosts and not a company (we'd say it works 80% of the time if you message at least four hosts)
Think a product deserves to be listed here? Suggest it


Best for vacation rentals and homesharing, especially in urban cities

If you were to only search one place for a vacation rental, it'd be Airbnb. They went from selling Obama cereal to get more users to their status today as the preeminent vacation rentals marketplace with the most listings in the most cities. To top it all off, their design is top notch.


Great for whole home vacation rentals, especially in resort style areas

HomeAway (and its twin VRBO) actually started before Airbnb, but Airbnb came and sprinted past it reeeal fast. They've been trying to catch up ever since. Despite being smaller, HomeAway is still worth checking out. Their 1.3 million listings are nothing to scoff at and they're often better than Airbnb in resort style areas like Myrtle Beach since they bought regional focused marketplaces to build up to what they are today. They also focus more on whole homes instead of private/shared rooms, which may suit group trips better.

Search major vacation rental marketplaces altogether besides Airbnb searches dozens of vacation rental marketplaces, including HomeAway, all at once to provide you a better at a glance view. There's a lot of overlap between the ones they search and the listings generally aren't going to be much better than what you find on Airbnb and HomeAway, but it's worth checking if you really want to cover your bases.

Wanderprep curates the best travel gear, apps, and tips. Our goal is concise recommendations that respect your time and help you travel better and more responsibly. To fund these guides and our giving back goals aka make money, we sometimes use affiliate links. Learn our story and approach. We believe great apps give us superpowers that make traveling easier. See what we evaluate besides design, features, and coverage.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.