Founded in 1995 in Aurora, Colorado, Vrbo is an online vacation rental website where property managers can rent out their properties for temporary or long-term visits. Vrbo stands for Vacation Rental By Owner and is pronounced “ver-boh.” 

Travelers can book a wide variety of spaces through their site including houses, condos, cabins, bungalows, and chalets. All properties on Vrbo are private, meaning no spaces are shared with the property owners or other guests. This allows travelers the comfort and privacy of their own space while traveling with family and friends. 

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The Good

  • Booking Options
  • Virtual Tours
  • Travel Insurance
  • Amenities

Booking Options

A useful feature on the Vrbo site is how easy it is to sort by type of space. Compared to other similar listing sites, this is a main feature of Vrbo that is easy to find on the home page and not mixed with other filters in a search. Travelers can search for the type of space they want to rent by choosing between a variety of the following home types:

  • Homes
  • Estates
  • Boats
  • Castles
  • Caravans
  • And many more

Vrbo also features a Trip Board that allows users to save their favorite vacation home listings and share them with others. These spaces can be booked directly from Vrbo’s site through instant booking and can be paid for with Paypal or with a credit card (MasterCard, Visa, and American Express). All payments are done through the website and all communication between the Vrbo owner and the guest should be handled through the website and the Vrbo app.

Virtual Tours

Vrbo is starting to offer virtual tours of some of their most popular rentals. It currently offers over 15,000 high-resolution virtual tours that travelers can look through from on computers or mobile devices. Given the difficulty of creating a high-quality walk through of millions of listings, this feature is up and coming and a unique perk of Vrbo compared to other similar listing sites that only have photos of their listings.

Travel Insurance

Vrbo is one of a unique group of travel sites offering rentals that the company does not own. With this type of situation, it’s a unique perk for a company to offer travel insurance — a perk you can find on Vrbo. 

After booking a trip through the site, travelers have the option to protect their stay with travel insurance and can receive a refund if they’re not satisfied with that insurance within ten days. 

Travel insurance adds protection in the case of delays, interruptions, and cancellations. If a traveler’s plans are disrupted for a covered reason, they can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses and non-refundable trip fees that result.

Amenities

A great feature on each individual listing on Vrbo is the amenities section. If you find a listing that doesn’t have a virtual tour, an extensive amenities section will tell you exactly what each space offers. This section is divided into groups like general amenities, kitchen amenities, safety amenities, etc. to give a holistic view of what can be found in each category. This is an easy way to see what’s available and what’s not without having to sort through the filters that other travel sites use for the listing’s amenities section.

The Bad

  • Pricing
  • Add-Ons
  • Customer Service

Pricing

When looking for vacation rentals, there are often hidden fees that don’t show up until booking, but Vrbo tends to have more fees than fewer. The price listed as the cost of the room per each night is usually a big underestimate of the total cost. Given the nature of the site, Vrbo charges each property owner a small listing fee and travelers a small service fee. Added to these fees are then a cleaning fee given by the property manager and any applicable taxes. 

With everything considered, the overall price is often a lot higher than the bargain you saw on the original listing. While the cost might still be manageable with a large group, it may be difficult for small parties.

Add-Ons

Unlike other all-inclusive travel sites, Vrbo only has listings for places to stay. The site doesn’t include travel packages with flights, rental cars, or other travel needs like many travel sites or hotel sites offer. Vrbo has also chosen to forego advertising experiences or tours for travelers to purchase during their stay, something that most travel sites are starting to offer. The only thing that can be booked on Vrbo is a place to stay.

Customer Service

According to Vrbo reviews, customer service is not a strong point. Vrbo is a compilation of hundreds of thousands of listings, and each vacation rental owner has the ability to create their own policies. Guests should check the cancellation policy for each Vrbo rental, which may vary from full refund up until check-in or partial refund from the time of booking. Each rental property has its own set of rules and a different host. One way to find the best customer service experiences among the listings is to read the guest reviews given for each property.

The Bottom Line

Vrbo is a great vacation rental site for travelers who want the comfort of their own space while they’re on vacation. The variety of unique listings provides lots of opportunity for travelers, but it can come at a higher cost compared to budget hotels or homes with shared spaces among guests. Booking an entire house or other space on Vrbo is great for large families or groups that can split the cost, but might be somewhat expensive for smaller parties. 

In addition, a Vrbo listing offers a lot of privacy and the chance to relax on a vacation, but might not be the best choice for travelers wanting to book a lot of extra excursions on the side. 

In the end, it all depends on the type of vacation you’re looking for. With a travel site like this one, it’s always smart to look at the Vrbo reviews.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

4.4
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16 Reviews

Review Breakdown

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Bryan Jensen

April 1st, 2020 South Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Booked a condo for a travel baseball tournament. Easy to use, found a great place for a good price

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Myken

March 12th, 2020 American Fork, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We have used VRBO this past year for several vacations where we needed a larger size place with several bedrooms. Booking is easy but I don’t like the additional fees when you check out (deposit, cleaning fee, travel insurance etc). I’d use it more if it were more clear about prices when Looking.

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jkenny90

March 6th, 2020 , TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I've stayed at a few VRBOs and they have all been nice stays but they are typically more expensive especially with fees than competitors

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Mike Ika

February 28th, 2020 West Valley City, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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My main issue with VRBO is how expensive the properties are on this website. I can look at similar properties with similar amenities in similar locations and the prices on VRBO are usually more expensive than if I go thru other booking sites. When it is all said and done, price is the major difference for any of these booking sites.

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Aidan Keogh

February 28th, 2020 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We often travel to more rural parts of the country when on vacation and we've found the selection on VRBO better than other sites. If there's been an issue they've always been able to resolve it to our satisfaction. If you use other sites, be sure to check the selection on VRBO before you book!

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Shauna Horne

February 24th, 2020 American Fork, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Our family has used VRBO a few times to rent a house. I like how on some of the properties it will show you the price it will cost on your specific dates. It also has a lot of information about each property which helps me decide which property to book.

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Julie Taylor

February 24th, 2020 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We have used the site to find a place to stay away from home that was not a hotel. The site was easy to use and very convenient.

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Tony

November 11th, 2019 Riverton, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Absolutely my favorite site to finding a quick rental property at a good deal. If you're looking for a place to star other than a hotel, VRBO is the best in my book.

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Rischelle Mikkelson

October 12th, 2019 American Fork, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I like using VRBO to find cabins and houses for our family vacations when we go to mountain locations. I like their internal rating system on not only the location, but also the hosts.

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Jaime

October 2nd, 2019 American Fork, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I've had great experiences renting places to stay through VRBO. I always check the reviews first and haven't been disappointed yet.

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Sherry Arnold

October 2nd, 2019 Alpine, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We have had a great experience with VRBO. We've found some great deals and love being "off the beaten path". We stayed in Hawaii, in a little mother in law apartment right on the beach for less than the hotels. Owners were very nice.

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Madison Scott

September 14th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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VRBO is a great option for large families and large groups. My only complaint is the price they list isn't the price you get in the end after all the fees are applied. Sometimes almost double in cost.

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Nicholas

June 18th, 2019 Lake Villa, IL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We have used VRBO for our travels to Hawaii and have been completely satisfied every time. Properties are always clean and well maintained.

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Marissa

June 7th, 2019 Redwood Falls, MN

I like to price compare with VRBO, but they usually have options that aren't as inexpensive as other companies I like using.

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BLF

May 19th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I was able to book a rental through VRBO and it was really nice. I wasn't as impressed with the website as other companies, but they don't charge as much of a service fee as other places.

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L. Fowler

May 14th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We booked a resort condo through VRBO and they were great to work with. We enjoyed our stay and communication with our rental went well.

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