CaliStays Vs. VRBO, Homeaway, Airbnb and Expedia - What Are The Best Vacation Rental Sites For California?


Just as you want to ensure you are getting the best price and product when you buy a television, you want to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth when purchasing a vacation rental experience. These memories with your family last a lifetime and you want to be sure they are good memories and that when you’ve booked a vacation rental you are getting the best price and best service and are always being directed to a trusted, accurate source.

Comparing the Big Listing Sites



VRBO was founded in the mid nineties and  has been around awhile. VRBO is part of the Homeaway family and has over 1 million properties in 190 countries. VRBO/Homeaway was recently purchased by Expedia and immediately began changing their business profile. One of the MAJOR changes implemented was to add a “Service Fee” of 6-9% which the traveler is forced to pay when booking through VRBO/Homeaway. VRBO/Homeaway has taken the ability of the traveler to communicate directly to the property manager and have now hidden the independent property managers:

  • Phone Number

  • Personal Email

  • Website and Brand

This means the traveler no longer has the ability to ask these property managers (who are the local and property experts) questions about the destination and property rental for the vacation they are trying to plan with their family.

What is the VRBO Service Fee?

The service fee is a fee charged to the traveler and is calculated on a sliding scale of 4% to 9% of the rental amount, excluding the deposit or taxes



Airbnb was founded in 2008 and describes itself as “a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.” It claims to have 3,000,000 plus listings worldwide in 191 countries. Like VRBO, they use a closed communication system. Where a traveler can only communicate with the host through the Airbnb channel

What is the Airbnb Service fee?

On top of the nightly rate, when you book through Airbnb you are charged an additional Guest service fees of typically 6-12% but can be higher or lower depending on the specifics of the reservation. That means that you can be paying additional thousands of dollars in fees.


Unlike VRBO and Airbnb, has an open communication system. Travelers can easily connect directly with our members. is committed to helping our members build their independent brand with prospective travelers to help turn them into repeat guests. There are no commissions to our members, no fees to the traveler, and our members can respond to the guest directly with no interference.

The Marketplace is comprised of established vacation rental professionals who understand the needs of the vacation rental traveler and have distinguished their service excellence for years.  The network members have a strict code of ethics and do not agree with some sites who have decided to charge the traveler fees. directs you to vacation rental professionals with accurate calendars, available inventory and best rates as you are booking direct with the source.

CaliStays Network members are the authority on every property listed, locations, amenities, and quality services that make up the vacation rental experience. You and your family can have peace of mind assured that on the other end of your inquiry is a Professional Host that has all the intimate details of the vacation home you have requested and your vacation destination.

How to Get The Best Deal on Vacation Rentals

Vacations can be expensive and you work hard for your money, so you want to make sure you are getting the best price on your vacation rental. When you book through many of the major third party listing sites, you can be paying up to thousands in additional fees. When you book direct with the property manager or use a site like that does not charge additional service fees and takes you straight to the professional property manager, you are getting the best rate by avoiding these third party listing site fees.