Renting a vacation home in lieu of going to a hotel is all the rage because the homes tend to offer more space for less money. If you’re new to the “sharing economy,” here are a few sites to get you started.
Best for: Anyone wanting to rent a low- to-mid-range home away from home (or a treehouse, castle, villa, boat, room, couch, backyard, etc.).
Specializes in: A little of everything. Airbnb currently has rentals in more than 34,000 cities in 190 countries. Among the more than 1 million listings are more than 600 castles. More than 25 million guests have used Airbnb, and fortunately, those guests leave ratings, so it’s wise to check out the reviews before booking.
Sample vacation home:
A renovated airstream trailer in Wimberley, in the Texas Hill Country, $130 per night with a two-night minimum. It comes with a grill, a hot tub, and an outdoor shower. The trailer has a queen mattress and — as long as the chickens are doing do their job — the owners will leave fresh eggs in the fridge for the guests.
Best for: High-end vacation homes
Details: This is a private vacation rental company, and members can opt to pay two ways: A one-time fee of $90,000 plus annual dues of $24,100, which gives them 20 days per year. Or, they can opt-out of the initiation fee and purchase a travel card for $36,000, which gives them 20 days over three years. Every rental is the same price. Exclusive Resorts offers more than 300 vacation residences in 70 locations worldwide. Each home has between two and five bedrooms and was vetted by CEO Cathy Ross. Included are a gourmet kitchen, Wi-Fi, and amenities such as an infinity pool and access to golf courses. An on-site concierge comes with each home, and this person coordinates activities for the guests.
Sample vacation home: Two bedroom, 1,300-square-foot home in New York on Park Avenue with views of the city. exclusiveresorts.com
Best for: Luxury homes
Details: This is a membership vacation rental club, with a variety of membership options. The core membership initiation fee is $17,500, with an annual membership fee of $3,600. The members pay a nightly rate for the rentals, and this rate varies depending on the time of year, destination, and residence. Members have more than 380 choices in more than 100 destinations worldwide. The average value of a residence is $3.3 million. While Inspirato is affiliated with American Express, you don’t need to be an card member to join. Properties are vetted by Brian Corbett, Inspirato’s founder. Inspirato invests an average of $50,000 in furnishings, high-end electronics, gourmet kitchens, and other upgrades for every home added to the portfolio.
Sample vacation home: An 8,000-square-foot oceanfront Los Cabos, Mexico, home. (Inspirato declined to release the price to a nonmember.) It has a heated pool and a Jacuzzi tub in the palapa, and a private beach with a private palapa and bar. inspirato.com
Best for: Large groups who are looking for big properties at low prices. Similar to Airbnb, anyone can list a home.
Details: Many of the rentals on here are vacation or second-home rentals.
Sample vacation home: Four-bedroom central London townhome on four floors, with a prize-winning English garden, located a few minutes walk from Buckingham Palace and Victoria Station, $515 per night. vrbo.com
Best for: Low- to high-end apartments for working professionals and families.
Details: It’s a competitor to Airbnb, and anyone can rent out their home or room through this site. There are more than 300,000 rentals to choose from worldwide.
Sample vacation home: A 725-square-foot, one bedroom suite on a semi-private golf course in Greer, S.C., $135 per night. The suite has a king-size bed and a day bed that converts into two twin-size beds, onsite garage parking, a community pool, tennis courts, and a playground. roomorama.com
Best for: Those who like to do their research.
Details: On this site, which is owned by TripAdvisor, you can sort rentals by reviews. There are about 300,000 vacation homes listed in more than 11,000 cities throughout the world.
Sample vacation home: One bedroom, one bathroom, 1904 Dutch Colonial home in Portland, Ore., $220 per night. Close to everything so no car is necessary, and the kitchen and bathroom come fully stocked. Pets are welcome. flipkey.com
Danielle Braff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.