VRBO Reviews

Vacation Rental Vrbo in Review 2021 – Is it even better than Airbnb?

Hi there and welcome to our firsthand Vrbo Review! On the 17th of January 2020, we started testing Vrbo. We finished our first booking in January 2021 (due to the pandemic it delayed!!). Until then we have only really used the other big players like Airbnb.com, Hostelworld and Booking.com.

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. Just a note, nobody paid us to write these lines. And no one told us what we can say and what we cannot say here.

This is a genuine article and we share our experience with Vrbo as we go. We start with the sign-up process, and end up in a beautiful rental place in Mexico.

So, without further ado, here is what we cover (and will cover)

  1. What is Vrbo?
  2. Sign Up Process
  3. Looking for Rentals on the website
  4. The App – iOs and Android
  5. How to pay?
  6. Changes, Cancellations, and refunds
  7. First Impressions
    1. Look & Feel
    2. Is Vrbo legit? Other sources
  8. First Booking with Vrbo.com
  9. Is it worth to try Vrbo?
  10. Vrbo discount code

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, the name does not stand for “vacation rental by owner” anymore, it is more like a generic brand name.

VRBO is pronounced as “Verbo” or “Ver-boh“. (Seriously…I was wondering about this a lot!)

Somehow similar to Airbnb, the platform is specialized in vacation rentals of all types; from houses, apartments, condos, villas, and even castles, 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 they have over 2 million properties owners they have all over the world to make sure you don’t run out of options. It’s an endless possibility.

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.

There are two options on the Login page. (https://www.vrbo.com/)

For Travelers or guests, just follow these very easy steps.

  1. Click the Login option located at the top of the page.
  2. Then choose Traveler Login from the drop-down menu.
  3. Enter your account email address.
  4. Click Get started.
  5. Enter your password.
  6. Click Log in.

And if ever it crosses your mind to be a host, this is what you do.

  1. Click the Login option located at the top of the page.
  2. Then choose Owner Login from the drop-down menu.
  3. Enter your account email address and password.
  4. Click Log in.
  5. Complete two-factor authentication if asked. 

After this easy as 1,2,3  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.

Sign Up with Vrbo here

Login with VRBO

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 very cool and handy. For instance, I really enjoy the filter of “nearby activities” and even the “virtual tour”. So apparently some apartments, flats, houses, villas have virtual tours of their property. And it’s the best way to see what you are about to expect.

However, 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 to check this out. For London, Paris, and Amsterdam they have a lot of ratings.

Vacation rentals in Paris, France

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.

Vacation rentals in Santa Marta, Colombia

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 the 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.

Receiving a follow up email.

The second day after signing up, I received another, more detailed email. It showed how Vrbo works.

  1. Find
  2. Book
  3. Stay

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.


Vrbo Email about How does Vrbo work?

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 also average prices per night.

Inspiration Email by VRBO

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.

Note: 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.

Vrbo App Review

5. How to pay?

According to Vrbo, here are the following steps you should fo