Jumping In

Have you heard of VRBO.com?

Vacation rentals by owner (VRBO) is a website that offers exactly what the name implies: vacation rentals through private owners.

When I first read about this website I thought the idea sounded fabulous. Who would want to stay in a cramped hotel room when you could rent a private condo or oceanfront home for a fraction of the cost?

Unfortunately, as I continued to think about it, the dreaded cloud of doubt filled the room as I was left worrying about worst case scenarios: What if we got there and the place didn’t exist–we would be half way around the world with no lodging. I imagine that when IF we found a reasonable place to stay, the costs for that new room would be exorbitant. What if we rented a place and it wasn’t as described or the pictures were inaccurate–paying any money for a room in the roach motel is nothing anybody looks forward to. What if it was in a dangerous neighborhood and we were robbed–or worse. 

I can assure you that the dramatic-but-very-real-list goes on.

A while back one of my fellow bloggers, Rachel, wrote about her experiences with VRBO.com and it slowly started to ease my fears and doubts about renting through a private owner.

After a significant amount of research and much consideration, my husband and I are jumping in with both feet. We have booked a condo through VRBO for our Christmas vacation. I’m slightly nervous as its something new and unknown to us, however with all of the rave reviews, secure payment options, and other consumer protections I feel confident with our reservation.

The best part is that we are saving around 50% on the cost of lodging. Compared to one of the fancy hotels down the street, I think we are getting a steal! 


Photo Credit

Have you booked through vrbo.com? What was your experience?


  1. Reenski
    July 22, 2013 / 6:45 PM

    I always look for a vacation rental first now. I booked last minute through HomeAway (same company as VRBO, I think) for a Labor Day weekend trip to Key West a few years back — very affordable for our group, close to the action, as advertised, it was great. We booked through another vacation rental company for our honeymoon a few weeks back — less than most hotels with just as beautiful a view, close to the action without being too loud or crowded. Plus, most have kitchens so you can save a little more by eating in. Enjoy your trip!!

    • July 22, 2013 / 8:19 PM

      Thanks for your input Reenski. We have used my mom’s condos in Hawaii multiple times and I love having a kitchen. It definitely helps save money and gives you the opportunity to choose when to go out to eat and when to eat in. The idea of renting through someone I don’t know makes me slightly nervous but again, working through this reputable company helps relieve the nerves. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing your positive experiences. I hope you had an amazing honeymoon! Where did you go??

  2. Reenski
    July 22, 2013 / 8:33 PM

    We went to Honolulu, it was a blast!

    • July 22, 2013 / 9:18 PM

      That’s right… I remember reading Part One of your Hawaiian Honeymoon. I will have to go catch up on the rest. 🙂 Love Hawaii!!

  3. July 23, 2013 / 4:42 PM

    I’ve rented houses, townhouses and condos through VRBO many times. I’ve never regretted it. I always find the perfect place to stay for our getaways and have never had a problem yet.

    • July 23, 2013 / 6:43 PM

      All these great reviews…I’m starting to wonder why I haven’t done this earlier! 🙂 Thanks for your input.

  4. July 24, 2013 / 7:52 AM

    I just used airbandb.com for our trip to France and it was great. Our apartment was so much cheaper than a hotel for 9 days.

    • July 28, 2013 / 5:43 PM

      I’m excited for the condo that we booked. I’m hoping that my experience will be as great as yours. 🙂

  5. August 27, 2013 / 11:04 PM

    I use VRBO all the time! Now that I’m used to vacation rentals, I actually dread staying at hotels – most of them (even the nice ones) are boring and cookie-cutter; they’re the same everywhere and you don’t get a good feel for the destination you’re visiting.

    I’ve used VRBO, Homeaway, and Airbnb successfully on lots of trips- to cities (Hong Kong, London, Munich), ski resorts (Whistler, Jackson), and beaches (Hawaii). I’ve never once had a bad experience, but I always stick to legit-looking listings: they need to have credible reviews, lots of pictures, a detailed description, and preferably an exact address pinpointed on the map (If you can, use street view on google maps to check it out).

    Last year on a trip to Maui, 4 of us stayed in a large, awesome condo in Wailea that was 2-bedroom, 2-bath, had a great kitchen and huge deck, big ocean views, 2 minutes’ walk to the beach. For the entire condo we paid less than the price of a single basic hotel room at the Four Seasons, which was a 10-minute walk away along the oceanfront path. Our place was far more comfortable than a FS hotel room, too, from the looks of it.

    • August 28, 2013 / 8:47 AM

      I will have to check out the other two vacation rental websites on one of our next trips. Thanks for all of the great advice! Great pointers on spotting the credible reviews. I definitely prefer seeing the exact address so I can check out the neighborhood. 🙂

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