4 Things You May Not Know About Vrbo, the Site Vying to Become Your Go-To for Home Rentals

published Feb 5, 2023
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Travel is expensive, and saving money while doing so is always a plus, which is why I decided to book my first peer-to-peer rental in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2018. Staying in a budget-friendly, open rooftop room — only accessible via an urban rope bridge — sounded so romantic. And it was! Fast forward to 2023, and I’ve learned to rely on short-term rental sites to find the perfect places to stay. I’m certainly not alone. Nowadays, the presence and availability of short-term rental options have grown significantly across the globe.

From Airbnb to Vacasa to Homestay, there are plenty of short-term rental sites to choose from, but one I’m particularly fond of is Vrbo. If you aren’t familiar with Vrbo, this fact may surprise you: The site predates Airbnb by 13 years. If you haven’t tried this peer-to-peer rental platform, here are four things to know about Vrbo the next time you you’re looking up accommodations.

Vrbo only features whole properties.

Due to the privacy factor, my husband prefers non-shared accommodations. Being able to walk to the kitchen in pajamas and having a dedicated bath is a must for him — both of which are understandable. All of Vrbo’s offerings are all entire properties, so you don’t need to wade through all types of listings or refine your search to find private accommodations. When you already know that you want the whole place to yourself, Vrbo is a great place to start.

Vrbo fees are low for guests.

With any stay — whether a short-term rental or hotel — guests are responsible for paying occupancy taxes, which is standard practice. However, hosts can charge service, cleaning, and administrative fees when you book a short-term rental. So when looking for accommodations on peer-to-peer sites, be sure to view the total price and not just the per-night price. However, Vrbo often charges guests relatively low fees, which can keep the final cost reasonable.

Vrbo support is extremely helpful.

There are always times when a property isn’t as advertised or doesn’t meet standards of cleanliness or safety. Sometimes guests encounter genuine circumstances where they are entitled to a partial refund or need advice on how to proceed with — or forego — a stay. Vrbo’s direct line is beneficial in ensuring guests have the best experience, which often results in less frustration and problems being solved quickly. 

Vrbo has a monthly payment option.

As with any platform, things can get expensive if you book a home that sleeps 12 for your annual family vacation. Since Vrbo only offers total properties, it works with buy-now-pay-later service Affirm to split the final price into payments you can make over several months. It’s an ideal option for folks who want to delay paying for their accommodations, especially if there is an unfortunate circumstance — say, significant unexpected repairs on your house — and you need a place to stay for a few weeks in a pinch. Just note that using the payment plan is subject to a credit check and approval.