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VRBO Vacation Rentals Review and How To

Updated on August 30, 2012
We've found some great vacation rentals on VRBO!
We've found some great vacation rentals on VRBO! | Source

Vacation Rentals by Owner

We love VRBO! Every year, my family and I go on a vacation. Or two. Or three! We love to travel together. There are fifteen of us in all, however, so we usually try to rent a large vacation house. Over the years, we’ve used numerous rental agencies, but a few years ago, I stumbled upon a website called “Vacation Rentals By Owner,” or VRBO for short. We've used VRBO numerous times for beachfront and oceanfront rentals, island vacation rentals, and for mountain rentals. If you haven’t tried renting through VRBO, mosey on over and give it a gander!

Budget travel at its best!
Budget travel at its best! | Source

Budget Travel

From my experience, I’ve found the rental prices offered on VRBO to be significantly cheaper than renting through an agency, so they’re great for budget travel. There’s no middle man – you rent directly from the property owner, so that fee is eliminated. The savings can amount to hundreds of dollars for a week’s stay.

Oftentimes, the more people in your party, the more money you can save. How? By renting a larger home. Sure, the overall rental fee will probably be higher, but you’ll get to split the cost more. For example, we rented a huge house for $3,000 per week. It had a private pool, a private dock on a saltwater canal, lots of room, and tons of amenities. Four couples were totally comfortable in the home, so we each had to pay just $750 for a week in paradise.

Rent a private home in the Caribbean from VRBO and save money!
Rent a private home in the Caribbean from VRBO and save money! | Source

How to Use VRBO

Getting started on VRBO is easy! Just visit And peruse the map. You can find rentals in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Canada, the South Pacific, and in every U.S. state, including Alaska and Hawaii. Every continent except for Antarctica is represented.

The selection of vacation rentals is truly amazing! You’ll find small houses, rustic cabins, condominiums, townhouses, apartments, penthouses, villas, chalets, cottages, and expansive luxury homes with pools, elevators, and gourmet kitchens. Some rental homes even come complete with their own golf cart and boat! For others, especially those outside the U.S., you can choose a budget vacation by staying with a local family. Not only does this save money, you’ll also have built-in guides to help familiarize you with the area.

In accordance with the variety of accommodations, you’ll also find a wide range of prices, including some for budget travel. For popular locales and vacation destinations, you’ll find such a unique range of listings that you’re sure to find something to fit your budget and your individual taste.

After selecting the area in which you’re interested, a listing of towns or regions will pop up. After choosing one of these, specific properties that are available for vacation rental will appear. You can sort these by number of bedrooms, number of guests allowed, and by the listings with photos. Actually, I’ve never seen a listing without photos of the property, but I guess they do exist.

Once you see a likely property, click on it. The owners provide a descriptive narrative of the property, often including nearby attractions. There’s also a table that informs you about the types of beds in the unit and the number of bathrooms, and whether or not it has air conditioning, a swimming pool, a hot tub, or wifi. Amenities like TVs, DVD players, kitchen utensils, outdoor grills, and appliances are also listed. The table will let you know if the sheets and linens are provided, too, and whether or not the unit is kid friendly and pet friendly.

Below the table, the rental fees are listed. Most prices are seasonal, so you can save money by vacationing in off-season weeks. You can also check the provided calendar to see which dates are already booked. Some owners don’t keep their calendar up to date, so it’s always best to contact the owner before making your final plans. Some owners also offer great deals during the off season, so be sure to ask about these.

You can contact the owner by email or phone in most cases, and from our experience with Vacation Rentals By Owner, the owners are very quick to respond to inquiries.

Vacation rental agencies always charge a security deposit, but many VRBO owners don’t. Another plus to renting directly from an owner is the amazing choice of “extras” often provided. These might include beach chairs, umbrellas, beach toys, large beach towels, coolers, floats, fishing gear, and other sports equipment.

The VRBO units are largely owned by those who use their vacation homes often, so the homes are usually well furnished with lots of conveniences. To rent a vacation unit in the height of the tourist season, however, you’ll need to be quick and plan ahead. The most attractive units usually get booked up fairly quickly. Even so, there are usually so many listings, you'll have an excellent chance of finding just what you're looking for on VRBO!


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