Hi there and welcome to our firsthand Vrbo Review! On the 17th of January 2020, we started testing Vrbo.
We wanted to see what the competition of Airbnb holds. Curious as we are, we signed up and kicked-off our first-hand review of Vrbo.
In this article, we will walk you through the whole experience and process. Nobody paid us to write these lines. And no one told us what we can say and what we cannot say here.
We also wrote a big guide on 43 alternatives to Airbnb. And yes, Vrbo is one of them.
This is a genuine article and we share our experience with Vrbo as we go. We start with the sign-up process, and we end who knows where. We only use it as a traveler, not as a host. Please keep this in mind.
So, without further ado, here is what we cover (and will cover)
- What is Vrbo?
- Sign Up Process
- Looking for Rentals on Vrbo
- The Vrbo App – iOs and Android
- How to pay?
- Changes, Cancellations, and refunds
- First Impressions
- Look & Feel
- Is Vrbo legit? Other sources
- First Booking with Vrbo (coming soon)
- Is it worth to try Vrbo?
- Vrbo discount code
And here’s more article you may be interested in:
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- Get Your Guide Review (Pros and Cons)
- How to rent a car in Europe?
1. What is Vrbo?
Vrbo stands for Vacation Rental By Owner. It was back in March 2019 when Vrbo did a rebrand. Since then it is spelled Vrbo instead of VRBO. With the rebrand we Vrbo does not really stand for “vacation rental by owner” anymore, it is more like a generic brand name.
It is pronounced “Verbo” or “Ver-boh“.
Somehow similar to Airbnb, the platform is specialized in vacation rentals of all types; from houses, apartments, condos, villas, you name it.
I also found you can book bed-rooms.
And with this variety of accommodation settings to stay in, you got plenty of choices you can choose from. This will allow you to adjust to the kind of your travel. Whether you’re traveling solo, traveling with the family, or traveling with the whole gang, you got plenty to choose from.
Not to mention how many partners and property owners they have all over the world to make sure you don’t ran out of options.
2. Sign Up with Vrbo
As we are writing these lines, we are in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. I noticed a few nice flats and houses with Vrbo here in Colombia. This got me interested in the first place.
So, I signed up with Vrbo.
As expected, the sign-up process is incredibly easy.
- First, you need to choose between “Traveler Login” or “Owner Login”. Since we want to use it for traveling, I chose “traveler login”.
- Add your email address (or sign up with Expedia, Facebook or Google)
- You receive an email to confirm your email address. Check your email and confirm.
After this straight-forward login process, I set up my account. I uploaded a photo of mine where you can see my face. I added my phone number, home location, and a short description of myself.
You can also check out these options on the menu.
- Search – view and search popular holiday destinations
- Favorites – view any properties you have saved
- Trips – view your bookings
- Inbox – messages you and the property owner have exchanged.
- Account – manage your account settings
3. Looking for Rentals on Vrbo
Straight forward, yet again.
The search is very simple as expected. It’s a matter of one, two, three. Just add your dates, destination, and off you go.
I found the filters are very cool and handy. For instance, I really enjoy the filter of “nearby activities” and even “virtual tour”. So apparently some apartments, flats, houses, villas have virtual tours of their property.
As I was scrolling for accommodation in Santa Marta, Colombia I noticed a lack of reviews and ratings. This is a pity, really.
I asked about this and Vrbo is much stronger in Europe. After all, this is a travel blog about Europe. So that is really good news.
Therefore, I tested other destinations in Europe with Vrbo.
For London, Paris, and Amsterdam they have a lot of ratings.
As mentioned, I did my first rental search for apartments and houses near Santa Marta, Colombia. I noticed right away, a few properties did not have a price. Odd. It states “View details for price“. I was curious and had a look.
After having a closer look, I could not find any explanation of why the price was not shown in the first place. It doesn’t look different.
Receiving a follow-up email
One day after my sign up with Vrbo and my direct search for accommodation, I received a follow-up email. It was about my search.
“We’ve saved your search so you don’t miss out on your dream vacation”
It is a simple, friendly reminder and accommodations they found based on my previous search. Very handy, really. It does not feel pushy at all like I experienced with many other platforms.
This email could be improved a bit, I feel. It could mention average prices, for instance. Or some kind of more helpful information that makes me want to keep doing my research.
The second day after signing up, I received another, more detailed email. It showed how Vrbo works.
It also reminded me to get the App on. Good thing, because until now the Vrbo app was actually not in my mind. Yet, it makes perfect sense.
The third email was yet the coolest one: 12 cool and interesting cottages for a vacation. They sent beautiful cottages from Belize to Portland, from Hawaii over New York City to the Bahamas.
I liked that they included averages prices per night.
4. The Vrbo App – iOs and Android
Obviously, there must be an app. Many of us know that situation; sitting in a bar or restaurants with friends, chatting, and dreaming of vacation. Pulling out the phone and having a quick look at what accommodations in your desired destinations would cost like?
Simple, and we have all done it.
You can download the Vrbo app for Android and iOs here.
You have to text yourself a link to download the app. I could not find the Vrbo app in the android store nor in the Apple App Store.
And you can check our article about Airbnb Alternatives and Competitors in 2020.
5. How to pay?
According to Vrbo, here are the following steps you should follow when booking and paying for your accommodation.
When booking online, you can follow these steps.
- Navigate to the online bookable property you want to reserve. Enter Arrival and Departure dates. From the drop-down boxes select the number of adults and children in the rental party (and select the checkbox next to pets if applicable)
- Then book your accommodation. Review the Payment Total*, Payment Schedule, and any additional deposits
- Enter your Payment Information and Billing Address
- You will have the option to save your credit card information for future booking requests
Easy as that, you have now finished booking your accommodation.
However, please be reminded to avoid the following transactions on your booking.
- Sending cash.
- Sending a check.
- Using an instant money transfer (Western Union or MoneyGram.)
Vrbo does not support and guarantee payments through these transactions. Pay only with the system and nothing else.
Payments in the system are the only transactions that go under the Book with Confidence Guarantee. The site uses encryption and advanced patented tokenization services to make sure your transaction is protected.
The site does not accept and is not liable for other payments aside from the system.
Moreover, your payments may vary according to the service and products offered. Your credit card payment includes a rental amount and/or service fee. And this may show in two separate charges or in one.
Here’s are some of the possible ways how your payments will show:
- Pay*VRBO + your reservation ID + Customer service contact number
- Pay*VRBO + contact number for payment company used
- VRBO + your reservation ID
- VRBO Fee + Customer service contact number
And if you have purchased other products with your rental, these will also show separately in your credit card statement.
- PAY*RDD + your reservation ID – This is for your refundable damage deposit
- PAY*TRIPCANCELPROTECT – This is for your Cancellation Protection insurance policy.
- PAY*DMGPROTECTION – This is for your Damage Protection insurance policy.
6. Changes, Cancellations, and Refunds
Here are Vrbo’s policies regarding these matters.
Vrbo has the feature “Traveler Account” where you will be able to view the details of your booking. Through this, you will see details like your booking number, cancellation policy, property information, and safety information.
Also, details about the check-in details or information about the area provided by the partner will also be accessible through this.
All details not available in this feature, you will have to get from the owner or manager of the property. So any modifications should also be through them.
6.2 Cancellations and Refunds
All refunds will be according to the property’s terms and conditions on the cancellation policy. If the property approves of your cancellation and gives you a full refund, Vrbo will automatically refund you its service fee.
Furthermore, when the payments were made through a different currency, the refund will also be from the original form of payment. Also, the refund will depend upon the currency exchange rates and bank-issued exchange fees.
7. First Impressions
I think this section is quite an important one. I want to share here my very first impressions I have with Vrbo as they might fade and change once we have our first booking finished.
Obviously, my first impression is very positive. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been intrigued to get started, right?!
Let us have a closer look.
7.1 Look and Feel of Vrbo
First of all, it looks very clean and professional. Comparing to the Airbnb brand, it looks more professional without the social part.
7.2 The Reviews of VRBO – legit?
I also did my research on how legit is VRBO.
The online reviews are mixed. All the way from “scam” to “best experience ever”. I guess I have to do my own testing to find out more. And I will share it right here!
That being said, I checked the online VRBO reviews on consumeraffairs.com, Trustpilot, and TripAdvisor. I even read this big guide on explaining the difference between VRBO and Airbnb.
Users state repeatedly that VRBO is legit, yet there can be issues with homeowners. I will for sure dive more into that in the process.
Have a look at the ad below. Quite a funny one.
8. First Booking with Vrbo (coming soon)
Due to COVID-19, we had to cancel our first booking. The payment was refunded.
9. Is it worth to try Vrbo?
Even if we haven’t tried to book our first in Vrbo, with its good reviews and wonderful offers, we would agree that it’s definitely worth a try.
And having to research and review their terms and policies, their partners, and the places they cover, we are really pleased and excited to experience our first booking with Vrbo.
We will surely update with you with this so make sure you have this article on your favorites or on your bookmarks.
10. Vrbo discount code
At the moment, we do not have a discount code or promo code for Vrbo. This guide is always up to date. As soon as a promo code is available, we will publish it here. You can bookmark this page to stay up to date, or just sign up to our newsletter.
The newsletter will be the easiest way to get our reader discounts right to your inbox. And no, we do not send non-sense emails to you.
Generally, Vrbo is also a great site to book accommodations the same with Airbnb and could be more. Since they offer a great variation of services, there’s more likely you can find what you really desire in a place.
Vrbo allows you to track down the criteria you look for in an accommodation and help match you with what you search for.
Also, they have many partners all over the world, all in six continents including the US and Europe. These include places top destinations like Las Vegas, Paris, Korea, and Japan.
They also provide easy payment methods which make it all hassle-free.
More of our Accommodation Guides
Besides testing Vrbo, we have also handwritten several unique guides on where to stay in Europe:
And please remember, we wrote a guide on 43 alternatives to Airbnb.
Over to you
Have you tried booking with Vrbo? What kind of accommodation did you get? Which place did you book and how was your experience? What did you love about it? Share your adventure and experience with us.
Or do you have any questions you want to know about Vrbo? Then please, hit the comment section. We would love to hear from you. Your comments, your feedback, and your questions will make this article and guide even more useful for all fellow travelers.
This article is updated as we go and explore VRBO.