Rentals by Owner

Staying at a hotel is so 1990. Rentals by owner is where it’s at. Most of us should be familiar with Airbnb—a website which connects users to short-term rentals across the world. Rental-by-owner websites like Airbnb have changed how travels search for and stay in accommodations. Why stay at an out-of-date hotel when you can rent a houseboat, hobbit hole, penthouse loft, treehouse and more?

The article “Traveling to Parts Unknown,” published in the January 2019 edition of School Nutrition magazine and written by senior editor Beth Roessner, explores how travelers—both newbies and veterans—can make travel arrangements. A critical part of travel preparations is accommodations. Where you decide to stay is a big deal. Rentals available by owners have become ideal spots for nearly all tourists.

These sites enable property owners to monetize third spare bedrooms or investment properties. These accommodations can be a room in someone’s house or the entire house/apartment. Unlike a hotel room, there is a cozy factor to being in an actual house. Travelers can review their host after their stay and read the reviews of other travelers before booking. These are great options for families as they enable them to rent an entire house instead of separate hotel rooms.

Accommodations via these sites often run much cheaper than hotels and offer creature comforts like kitchen and laundry services. Keep in mind that with both, deposits may be collected in advance of travel, and cleaning fees may apply. But users of these sites will need a sense of adventure and an open mind, but it could result in a completely unique place to stay and at fees cheaper than hotels.

Let’s breakdown three popular websites which connect rentals to travelers: Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.

Putting on Airs

Airbnb connects travelers to unique homes and experiences in cities around the world. They now offer accommodations in more than 34,000 cities and in 192 countries. (That’s impressive growth since the company’s inception in 2008.) The company experienced a 45% increase in U.S. bookings to year-to-year, according to iProperty Management.

Airbnb is great for unique places to rest your head—they boast that they have nearly 3,000 castles! It’s great for travelers who want to mingle with locals and get a taste of what daily life could be. (If you don’t like the idea of staying with strangers, book an available house instead of a spare room.)

While the website may be best known for giving traveler’s lodging by connecting them with spare rooms and homes, they now offer experiences. Experiences range from culinary tours and classes to yoga classes, guided hikes, intimate concerts history walks, kayaking, surfing and more all provided to you by knowledgeable locals.

These experiences do offer a unique look into a destination, but not all experiences may be run by noted professionals. These experiences are often not run or backed by a larger organization, which leads to no guarantees.


Touted as one of the largest vacation rental-by-owner websites, VRBO stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner. Having been founded in 1996, VRBO is considered one of the most trusted rental brands. Vacationers can sort through different listings at their desired destination and find the place that fits their needs and budget. VRBO touts more than two million places scattered in 190 countries and puts a lot of emphasis on making the listing process easy for owners.

Unlike Airbnb, none of the rentals available with VRBO are shared spaces, so you won’t have to worry about staying with strangers. VRBO is exclusive and because of the privacy of its available homes, VRBO is great for families who want to stretch out, instead of being cramped up in a hotel room.

A Home Away from Home

There are over two million properties available in 190 countries via since the company’s inception in 2005. HomeAway and its brands, including are part of the Expedia Group family. HomeAway and VRBO joined forces in 2007.Once you set up your free account, you’re able to type in your destination and travel dates. You can manage your bookings and communicate with your host should you need to. Because HomeAway and Expedia are in the same family, you can easily book flights and rental cars should you require.

Just like VRBO, no shared spaces are available, so you get lots of privacy via HomeAway. During the initial search process, you can use filters to find amenities your searching for like pools, exercise rooms or infant cribs.

Because HomeAway and VRBO (and 14 other similar sites) are owned by the same company, you do not need to cross check between the sites—all listings are shared.

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