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From boutique hotels and home shares to hostels and B&Bs, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to where to stay on your travels. Plus, a few newcomers to the short-term home rental market are giving us even more places to pick from. Cue the indecision.

Luckily, the latest vacation rental services are getting ever more niche, which makes the choice much easier. Plum Guide, Sonder, and Lyric, three of the newest companies, have all put their own twists on home rentals—in fact, some of them don’t even offer homes. However, they are all curated or designed with aesthetics and comfort in mind, so that’s a guarantee no matter where in the world they’re headed. In this case, there’s no place like a home away from home. Read on to find the best site for you.

Plum Guide

What it is: A collection of eclectic, competitively curated vacation rental apartments in New York, Los Angeles, Rome, Milan, Paris, and London.

The nitty-gritty: Only one in 100 homes are accepted by Plum Guide; hospitality experts judge each property on 150 criteria, which includes everything from location to shower pressure. Hosts are also interviewed to gauge their hosting skills and ability to provide stellar recommendations to curious travelers. 

Best for: When you want to splurge on a super-posh place to stay, but want something more eclectic than what you’d get at a four- or five-star hotel.

Bonus: When you get a (free) Plum membership, you gain access to special discounts and members-only homes.


What it is: Specially designed apartments (read: not cookie-cutter) with bathroom amenities that make your stay more comfortable. There are Sonder properties in cities across the U.S., plus Rome, Montreal, and London.

The nitty-gritty: When you stay in a Sonder, you’re not staying in someone’s actual home—these apartments only feel that way. They’re designed with the sole purpose of being rented out. Consider them a good halfway point between a house rental and a hotel.

Best for: When you want a little more space. Each and every Sonder has a living room outfitted with a comfy sofa and a TV, so you can chill out after a few hours of sightseeing.

Bonus: If you have a problem, question, or request, there’s a 24-7 hotline that can help you with whatever you need.


What it is: Rental-only apartments decorated; filled with amenities like toiletries, artisanal coffee, and a stocked kitchen; and leased out in cities across the U.S., among them Philadelphia, Houston, and Minneapolis. 

The nitty-gritty: Lyric’s Creative Suites feature fresh, modern design details and are usually in the midst of a city’s buzziest neighborhoods. The company works with building owners to ensure that travelers feel at home and have a stress-free stay.

Best for: When you’re traveling for business and want something with a little more space (and personality) than a typical hotel room. 

Bonus: Lyric is the newest of the bunch, but it’s poised to expand quickly—and you can thank Airbnb for that. The industry giant just helped this startup score some serious funding (to the tune of $160 million).

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