Try Google or an aggregator such as AlltheRooms.com to broaden your search for a vacation home or condo.
Many travelers have grown accustomed to finding vacation rentals — such as private homes, condos or cottages — by going directly to sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. But these days you can find and book a rental halfway around the world in ways you may not have considered, or even know about: on traditional hotel and airfare booking websites such as Expedia and Hotels.com, through the hotel review (and now booking) site TripAdvisor, or even in Google search.
Let’s begin with Google search. If you’ve used it lately to find a hotel, you may have been given the option to filter those results for vacation rentals.
Here’s how it works: Type something like “hotels in Paris, France” in the search bar. That will pull up a Google map and a list of hotels and prices. (You can filter for your specific travel dates if you like.) Under the map is a drop-down menu that says “Accommodation type.” This allows you to select “any” or “vacation rentals.” If you select vacation rentals, you’ll be shown a list of options and prices, and the map will change to show only rentals.
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Recent Google searches found vacation rentals in destinations such as Barcelona, Berlin, Florence, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Venice and countries such as Croatia and Portugal. The vacation-rental filter doesn’t appear for every city you search.
Next, is the notion of vacation-rental search engines, which allow you to browse properties from multiple rental websites such as HomeAway and VRBO in one place.
Tripping.com is an example of a rental-search engine. With more than 10 million properties, it bills itself as the largest search engine for rentals and has properties from rental sites, including HomeAway, VRBO, TripAdvisor and Booking.com. That can make property comparison easier than jumping between rental sites.
Another aggregator, AlltheRooms.com, has, as the name suggests, a wide variety of accommodation types. Among them are rental properties from numerous websites, including Airbnb, FlipKey, Expedia and Priceline. When you search for a place to stay at a particular location, you can filter the property type by categories such as home/apartments; homeshares (such as Couchsurfing); even treehouses, like those on the site Glampinghub.com, which includes accommodations such as yurts and beach huts.
Expedia has a button on its home page that users can click to search specifically for vacation rentals instead of hotels. Orbitz and Travelocity (which are both owned by Expedia) have vacation rental hyperlinks at the top of their home pages, and turn up properties from the rental site HomeAway because it, too, is owned by Expedia. Hotels.com is yet another Expedia brand, and while there isn’t a big rentals link on the home page, you can filter search results for accommodation type to see vacation rentals.
Booking.com, a competitor owned by the Priceline Group, has a hyperlink on its home page that allows users to filter for rentals.
Another place to look for a rental is TripAdvisor. Long considered the go-to hotel review site, this was where travelers went to vent or find out if a hotel was clean, quiet or worth the splurge. In recent years, TripAdvisor has been reminding travelers that they can also use the site to book the places they read about — and those places include vacation rentals. They can be booked through TripAdvisor in more than 200 countries, and include destinations such as Key West, Florida, and New York City.