Vacation Rentals: Where to Find Them

By Ed Perkins

When you’re looking to find a vacation rental, you have two basic approaches:

Rental agencies that are part of the transaction. Your deal is with the agency, not the property owner. Typically, rental agency staff have inspected each rental they represent, so your chance of encountering an unpleasant surprise when you arrive is minimal. Rental agencies minimize your financial risk: They generally accept credit cards and are responsible for fixing any problems that may arise. They tend to focus on more expensive upscale and luxury properties and list very few budget options. Some offer worldwide coverage, but most specialize in limited regions or areas.

Worldwide Coverage

U.S. Coverage

Other Regional Coverage

Booking Platforms that act as bulletin boards. They post offers submitted by individual property owners and facilitate the rental process, but your contract is with the property owner. The big platforms incorporate some buyer protections but they’re not responsible for fixing problems beyond outright fraud or misrepresentation. That means they’re a bit riskier than the rental agencies, but they offer far more options—including budget options that the agencies usually ignore.

Worldwide Giants:

Two booking platforms have by far the widest choice of listings. And both offer at least some consumer protections against potential misrepresentation and fraud.

  • FlipKey  [], owned by TripAdvisor, with more than 800,000 listings.
  • HomeAway, owned by Expedia, with more than 1,000,000 listings; soon to revert to an earlier name, VRBO; incorporates a handful of acquired platforms.

Worldwide: The Others

Regional Coverage

Other Useful Websites

(Send e-mail to Ed Perkins at Also, check out Ed’s rail travel website at

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