Booking a bed: from sites to swaps

From free accommodation options like couch surfing to the hotel booking sites that get you five stars for fewer dollars, we look at ways for you to find the accommodation that suits your trip.
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03.Home rental

Holiday letting a house or apartment can be a more convenient option for accommodation – even if a hotel is cheaper per night, you’re likely to find savings and added convenience in having access to laundry facilities, a kitchen, and more room for the littlies. Some of the sites with rental listings are Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey (a Tripadvisor company), and Stayz.


Airbnb offers 24-hour customer support and is host to more than 300,000 listings worldwide in over 33,000 cities and 192 countries. The site allows prospective renters and hosts to screen profiles, read reviews and references of potential hosts and guests, and confirm that phone numbers and social media profiles that are listed are verified by Airbnb (though not all profiles are).


Stayz, which is owned and operated by Fairfax Digital, facilitates vacation rentals in the Australian market. It claims to have an inventory of more than 30,000 holiday rental property listings on its website. This site takes a more hands-off approach when it comes to listings, relying on self-regulation by property managers and stating: “All property information is submitted by third parties and is displayed in good faith… While Stayz takes every precaution to ensure the integrity of the site, we are not responsible for managing properties or ensuring the accuracy of their information.” Consumers can check reviews of properties and hosts, but there’s no guarantee that the reviews are legitimate, as anyone can leave a review on the site.


HomeAway says it is “the world's leading online marketplace of vacation rentals”, and claims, along with its subsidiaries (which include VacationRentals), to have "more than 742,000 paid listings of vacation rental homes in 171 countries”. The site also provides 24-hour phone support for those who need help.


Flipkey claims to feature 200,000 vacation homes located in over 11,000 cities throughout the world and says that every owner is verified by staff. Contacting Flipkey is not as convenient as some other sites, however, as it’s only open between 9am and 6pm USA Eastern Standard Time, and says it “typically” responds to emails within two business days.


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