This would be a great Top Question on this forum. Shame there doesn't appear to be a place for that.
I have never booked a private rental before, but have decided it might be a good idea to get informed. Nothing specific planned at this point, although I am looking ahead to Italy in 2014. What I'm hoping for is a general overview, pros and cons of using private vacation rentals, and what to be aware of when booking. I can see the advantages regarding price + having more space and a full kitchen (which you don't HAVE to use, but I like not having to take the time to eat in a restaurant). I know that lots and lots of people use private vacation rentals and have wonderful experiences, so the scams are in the minority.
I'm aware of VRBO, AirBnB, Allura Direct, Flipkey. Any other main sites that people like to use?
Are there any that seem to be more "scam resistant" than others? Are they all buyer beware? I've been reading here about the sorts of things you can do to protect yourself, but just wondering if any of the sites do anything to help you out as well.
Any broad tips to use when booking? What are the red flags? What are the questions you need to ask? If these questions are all being answered somewhere else, then please just direct me there and save yourselves the trouble. :>
Thanks in Advance for any and all advice.