Top Ten Vacation Rental Units to Invest in Now

Brexit and Covid19 have dramatically boosted the popularity of the ‘staycation’, so it’s a great time to consider investing in a vacation rental unit. But with so much choice, which type of vacation rental unit is best? Should you go for a traditional glamping pod or purpose built lodge, or perhaps something more quirky like a shepherd’s hut or tiny house takes your fancy? Here we take a look at ten of the most popular vacation rental units, and share some examples to inspire you to get started!

By Stef Scott, Content Marketing Manager

Are you ready to invest in a vacation rental unit?

Investing in a vacation rental is a pretty big decision, and one which needs to be made carefully. The type of unit you go for will be strongly influenced by your budget, but it’s also important to consider the following factors before taking the plunge!

  • The space you have available (a small plot versus a much bigger area)
  • Planning requirements for the type of unit you’re interested in
  • Your ideal target market (e.g. couples, families, groups)
  • The type of experience you want to offer (luxury, budget, eco-friendly or off grid experience)
  • Whether you’ll operate seasonally or all year-round

1. Glamping Pod

Glamping pods have exploded in popularity in recent years and are now one of the most popular vacation rental units out there. They offer investors superb flexibility, with plenty of scope to ‘pimp your pod’, with add-ons such as en-suites, kitchenettes and outdoor decking. Glamping pods suit many different sites, and the good news is they can generate an income all-year round. Most can sleep up to four guests, meaning they are ideal for families.


This Luxury Glamping Pod in County Clare is a great example of the traditional style of glamping pod, which has been configured to sleep up to four guests.

Glamping Pod, County Clare

This Hobbit Style Glamping Pod in Kent has a log burning stove and hot tub. These amenities are sought after by guests, and help to attract more bookings.

Hobbit Style Glamping Pod

2. Shepherds Hut

Traditional Shepherds Huts are also a very popular style of vacation rental unit. They provide a more traditional, quirky experience than glamping pods, allowing guests to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing modern comforts. They offer investors good flexibility in terms of internal specifications, and like glamping pods, can generate a year-round income. As with glamping pods, investors have the option to add on desirable additional features such as decking or outdoor seating, a hot tub and log burning stove. Most Shepherds Huts sleep two so are ideal for couples, however with careful internal design they can be configured to sleep four guests.  

This luxury en-suite Shepherds Hunt in Corwen, Wales is an example of a more high-end option.

Shepherds Hut

This Shepherds Hut with Hot Tub in Somerset has a well thought out layout and great attention to detail.

Shepherds Hut and Hot Tub

3. Yurt, Bell Tent or Safari Tent

Temporary canvas structures such as yurts, bell tents and safari tents are a great seasonal choice, offering guests a step up from basic camping. They are a lower risk option than a permanent structure as the overall investment cost is lower and time to get up and running is far quicker. They can be run on an eco-friendly, off grid basis, which is something many guests now look for in a vacation rental. There are many different sizes of tent available, suiting all budgets, and they can be successfully marketed across many target groups, including couples, families as well as groups of friends.

This original Mongolian Yurt in France offers a totally unique, off-grid experience.

Original Mongolian Yurt

This Safari Tent in Portugal offers a more luxurious stay with an en-suite bathroom and a pool.

Glamping Pod, County Clare

4. Gypsy Wagon, Romany Caravan or Roulotte

We are big fans of the traditional Gypsy Wagon, and work with many hosts who run this type of unit with great success. Gypsy wagons are in high demand, and are often booked out for months in advance. It’s easy to see why – they are quirky, romantic and offer a very unique experience often at a budget price! They can however be a bit harder to source than other, more mainstream vacation rental units, and you may need to be a dab hand at interior restoration work. But – we think the end results are absolutely worth it.

Check out the Rosie Gypsy Wagon in Wales. It’s a picture-perfect wagon full of homespun charm.

Rosie Gypsy Caravan

Islay Gypsy Wagon is a beautifully restored caravan located in the Scottish Borders

Islay Gypsy Caravan, Scottish Borders

5. Purpose built lodge

Choosing a made to order lodge is a more significant investment than some of the other options we’ve mentioned, but is one which can pay dividends. You may opt to purchase a lodge that’s located in an established holiday park, where the park management team takes care of the operational side of the business. You can also purchase a lodge to be situated on your own land, subject to the necessary planning permissions.

Nethermill Luxury Lodges near Glasgow were installed in an area of peaceful woodland on the owner’s farmland. 

Nethermill Luxury Lodges

Solid Luxury have properties in various locations across Scotland. These are great examples of purpose built lodges.

6. Timber cabin

Staying in a cosy cabin in the woods is high on many peoples’ vacation rental wish list. Timber framed cabins look fantastic – just take a look at #cabininthewoods on Instagram for some ideas and inspiration about what’s on offer. Off-the shelf or architect-designed, the choice is yours.

We love what the team behind Alfriston Cabins near Brighton have done – they offer two architect-designed oak framed cabins plus hot tub.

Badger's Rest

Foxes Hollow and Badger’s Rest are located in an area of woodland in the South Downs National Park near Brighton

Foxes Hollow

7. Shipping container

A recent vacation rental trend we’re seeing more of is shipping containers that have been converted into self-catering accommodation. These are lower cost than some of the other options available, but the examples we’ve seen offer something really different, and that’s what guests will love (and pay a bit more for!)

Check out this Luxury Shipping Container in Devon, it’s a fantastic example of a converted container.

Luxury Shipping Container, Devon

The Fox Den near Stirling shows the potential of what can be achieved with a humble shipping container! 

The Fox Den Shipping Container, Stirlingshire


Another interesting vacation rental trend is the futuristic looking geodome. Made from fiberglass, they offer fantastic views and that all important connection to the great outdoors. They first became popular in the 1970s, and now these unusual, temporary structures are incredibly Instagrammable! They can be set up pretty much anywhere, and thanks to their versatility, geodomes are one of the most wishlisted property types on Airbnb. For the investor, they are fairly quick to get up and running. They vary in size and some of the larger models are very roomy! You can kit them out with en-suites and kitchen areas, or go for a more back to basics approach. Whatever you choose, geodomes are certainly worth considering as a vacation rental investment.

This Unique Dome Retreat in Granada, Spain is one of our favourites – just take a look at the amazing views and luxury interior.

Geodome in Granada, Spain

We also love this off grid example of a Geodome and Hot Tub in Northumberland, located beside a tranquil lake.

Off Grid Geodome in Northumberland

9.Tiny House

The Tiny House movement originally began as an alternative to living in a traditional home, and has since crossed over into the vacation rentals market. Tiny houses are small, super compact, prefabricated structures, which maximise the use of all available space. They can be constructed from wood or metal and offer a quaint vacation rental experience.

Rural House, based in Skye is a well-known manufacturer of bespoke Tiny Houses. 

Tiny House Scotland is another example of a reputable, recommended Tiny House manufacturer. 

nest house

10. Unique structure - Roundhouse or Treehouse

For many aspiring vacation rental hosts, if budget allows, building a completely unique, bespoke structure is the ultimate dream. A unique structure such as this is a bigger investment, but can provide excellent return on investment, as travellers are often prepared to pay a higher price per night for a stay that’s totally unique.

 The Roundhouse and Hot Tub near Glasgow is a stunning, architect designed space. 

roundhouse and hot tub

We also love this amazing Harvest Moon Treehouse by the sea, near Dunbar

Harvest Moon Treehouse

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about TravelNest

TravelNest gets your property seen in all the right places. We can list your property on over 30 of the best booking channels including Airbnb, Booking. com, Expedia, HomeAway, TUI and TripAdvisor.

Find out more about TravelNest

TravelNest gets your property seen in all the right places. We can list your property on over 30 of the best booking channels including Airbnb, Booking. com, Expedia, Tripadvisor and Vrbo.