real estate

New Upscale Options for Travelers Who Prefer Home Rentals

Travelers who want more than a couch to sleep on have new options.

The line between home rentals and hotels is blurring, and that's good news for travelers who like the idea of staying in a home away from home but are skittish about relying on artfully cropped photos of a stranger's bedroom.

Airbnb's new tier of lodging, Airbnb Plus, features stylish homes that have been verified by inspectors to include everything from fast Wi-Fi to strong water pressure. Plus homes cost an average of $250 per night. Another service, Oasis, holds its rentals to similar standards. Oasis guests get access to additional services (for an extra cost), such as private drivers.

Plus accommodations still aren't on par with regular hotels, says Deanna Ting, of Skift, a travel industry news site. Plus includes private rooms in shared homes in its tier. And Airbnb does not yet vet homes on an ongoing basis after the initial inspection.

You can take your home rental up another notch by choosing a luxury villa or estate through companies such as HomeAway's Luxury Rentals (average price: about $1,500 per night). Luxury rentals often cost less than a high-end hotel on a per-room basis, especially when you split the cost among a group, according to data from Tripping.com.

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