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I've rented a few vacation homes and really liked it but it always takes hours and hours to find a good one. It seems like there are 100+ different sites that all list different homes (some with a lot and some with fewer nicer ones) and I keep thinking I'll find the perfect spot on the next site. Is there a Kayak or Expedia for vacation rentals (I did try Vamoose, but that was terrible)?

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vacationrentals.com ? –  VMAtm Jun 30 '11 at 21:33

4 Answers 4

I have good experiences with AirBnb and Only appartments. Having said that, I also have the impression that the more standard the search engine get, the more standard the offers get as well.

In my opinion the easiest way to find a vacation rental is by exactly doing, what you are doing. It is my impression that the beauty of a vacation rental lies mostly in the obscurity in which it is hidden. Whenever you get a Kayak-like service for vacation rentals, you will get standardized results, whereas when an owner takes the effort to create its own website (how quirky the html layout may look), the same effort is then put in offering you a good and well taken care of vacation rental.

So my generalized opinion is that the more old fashioned contacting the owners get, the better the location. Furthermore, you will be supporting local economy in contrast to multi national search engine.

Personal I see the hours of searching for a vacation rental as being part of the fun.

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There are many thousands of vacation rental websites. HomeAway is the largest player in the industry and owns 31 of these sites, but there are thousands of more sites, making it really hard to see all the rental choices for a town in one place.

The solution to that is a search engine that searches the vacation rental sites for you (like Kayak for flights). There are a number of these search engines out there, each offering a different user experience:

Otalo

WeGoRound

Oodle

Vamoose

Full disclosure: I built Otalo to solve just this problem of searching through different vacation rentals sites with a single search (like Kayak for flights).

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I would recommend:

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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You should add short characteristic to each site - not just a link –  VMAtm Jul 3 '11 at 20:47

Almost all of the vacation rental sites are owned by the same company (HomeAway, which just went public, by the way) and many of them are literally using the same software and searching the same database. It's a hard problem in general because there are so many vacation rentals on the market and they're all different, unique, individual flowers.

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