How does the search experience on FlipKey compare to the experience on Airbnb? Let's find out. Here's FlipKey vs Airbnb in one traveler's quest to find the perfect vacation rental.

On Airbnb, travelers can browse collections or conduct a search for rentals in a specific location. Let's start with the 'Browse' option.

Not quite sure where you want to go yet? You can browse by the following collections: Neighborhoods, Popular, Airbnb Picks, Match). I was most intrigued by Popular, so I clicked on that option and voila:

Travelers who have a better idea of where they want to go, when and with how many people can conduct a search by destination, check in and checkout dates, number of guests and room type (entire home/apt, private room, shared room). We'll use Maui as a test.

Note that you can choose to fill in as many of the above search options as you like. The more you narrow down your search initially though, the less you'll have to sift through later in the search results. If you know you're going on a trip with your girlfriend/wife, her parents and yours, you probably want to go ahead and up the number of guests from "1" and/or click on "Entire home/apt." Unless of course you want to get extremely cozy. Hey, I'm not judging.

Okay, once you hit the blue "Find a Place" button, you'll have the option to apply a bunch of filters, including the following: Price Range, Keywords, Room Type (entire home/apt, private room, shared room), Home Size (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, beds), Neighborhood, Property Type (apartment, cabin, villa, treehouse, etc.), Amenities (smoking, pets allowed, A/C, family friendly, suitable for events), Languages Spoken by host.

I searched for a private room for $100/night with wireless internet and a Spanish speaking host. The results? "We couldn't find any results that matched your criteria..."

Okay so maybe that was a little too specific. So I gave up on my dream of speaking Spanish with my host and unclicked the "Languages" option.

That gave me a couple of results:

The "Maui Ocean Spa Healing Rental Fees" was intriguing, so I clicked on it.

I'm still not sure what it is. Apparently it includes a "Real Bed," but the description tells me I can use the rental for workshops, "mani/pedi and client consulting," or throw a party for 30 of my friends in the waiting area. Hum.

I took away the "Room Type" option ('Private Room'), and was surprised to still see only 2 options. Okay. I was very specific about the price, so I removed that filter.

Aha. Lots of lovely listings appeared. That was great, though I did find myself wishing I could sort them by price, to easily spot the least expensive. Maybe I missed the "sort" feature?

Also, for a person taking their first look at Airbnb search results, the difference between "Reviews" and "Other Reviews" is not immediately apparent.

Oh well. I did like that I could view the rentals as a List, like in the image above, or as photos (below, right) - or see the results on a map (below, left):

Now let's go to the FlipKey homepage.

I was about to type "Maui" into the search when I spotted under "Latest Deals" a "Free night on a weekly stay." I just had to click on "All MAUI deals."

Jackpot! Who doesn't love to save?

I am, however, the kind of traveler who likes to do all her research before booking, so I went back to the regular search and typed in "Maui." Note that travelers can search by destination, check in and checkout dates, number of bedrooms and number of guests.

Once you've entered the initial search parameters (you need only enter the destination, but if you know how many people are traveling and/or when, just go for it) you'll have the option to filter the results.

As you can see below, travelers can filter search results by the following: Price (range), Home Size (bedrooms, bathrooms), Number of Guests, Monthly Stay Discounts, Keywords, Review Score, Amenities (pet friendly, patio/balcony, housekeeping, deal available, book online), Rental Types (apartment, house, chalet, villa, houseboat, etc.), Rental Manager (rental manager, rent-by-owner), Accessibility (wheelchair, elderly, child friendly), Deals Available, Reviewed, Book Online. Phew - that's a lot of options!

I decided to go with a search for a property that was $500 a week, a "5 stars only" review score, a pool, and "Rent-by-owner." I got 16 results.

Not bad. I also loved that I could click on the "Sort by" option and view the results sorted by the following: Relevance, Price (high to low and low to high), Featured, Guest Rating, Number of Reviews. There was no option to display the results as a map, like on Airbnb, but I was able to click on the map in the upper left hand corner of the results page and view the listings on a map that way.

Both FlipKey and Airbnb have a way for travelers to easily keep track of their favorite listings. Airbnb calls it saving the property to your "Wishlist" (the icon appears when you hover anywhere over a particular listing). FlipKey calls it adding the property to "My Picks" (the icon appears when you hover anywhere over a particular listing).

One thing I noticed that FlipKey has on their listings results page, on the left hand side of the page, if you scroll down below the filter options, is a popup that shows suggestions on what do to on your Maui trip (click on "See More" under "Explore Maui Vacation Rentals"). They also have a "Find Things to Do in Maui" link that leads to a page with all sorts of resources on things like activities, entertainment and nightlife, attractions, restaurants and even events.

So which one "wins"? Well, you can search FlipKey and other top vacation rental sites in one place on

You'll be able to do the following:

  • Save your Favorite listings
  • Sort search results (by Price - low to high and high to low, Relevance, Date Added, and Distance - from the destination you entered)
  • Use handy filters (Keywords, Search Radius, Dates, Number in Group, Price Range, number of Bedrooms, Amenities (balcony, view, fireplace), Room Type (entire home, private room, no minimum stay, exotic/unique) and Listing Provider.
  • Meet locals (connect w/ them for tips or arrange to meet them for coffee or a meal)

Finding your dream rentals is a snap when you can run multiple searches at one time.

Search top vacation rental sites at once on now!

Post by Anis Salvesen