VRBO.com is one of the most popular websites in the United States for renting properties to stay at during a vacation. It has a huge selection of listings (over 800,000) that you can sort through in a variety of ways, and it can protect your booking payments and stay through encryption technology and purchasable insurance policies (respectively). However, not all hosts will accept payment on the VRBO website, so you can't get the peace of mind of coverage there. Plus, VRBO is rather hands-off when it comes to resolving disputes with hosts; notably, it can't force them to give you a refund. Many people also don't like the recent "service fee" that VRBO has instituted.
Here are nine VRBO competitors that can help you find somewhere a little different from your standard hotel when looking for a place to stay while out of town.
FlipKey is pretty similar to VRBO, except that it's owned by travel advice group TripAdvisor. It features over 30,000 listings from over 1000 cities worldwide, all listed by property owners or managers who have had to verify their identities on Flipkey.com. And with 5000 booking deals daily, you can often find a place to stay without breaking the bank. Just be careful when booking properties over email or telephone as opposed to directly on the website.
If you're not a stickler for using a specific website for booking your rental properties, try Tripping.com. It allows you to search for listings across multiple rental property booking websites at once. This means that you not only get to see many more listings than on a single booking website, but you can also compare prices of listings posted on multiple websites so that you'll get the best price. There are even some neat discount codes that you can score if you sign up!
HomeAway is VRBO's parent website, and one of the largest rental property booking websites on the Internet. Part of its popularity comes from the fact that it doesn't charge booking fees for guests. In addition, it lets you book with peace of mind by having its own travel insurance and renting guarantees. HomeAway has over 1 million listings itself, plus many more on smaller sub-sites such as VRBO, VacationRentals.com, and TravelMob.com.
9flats is a website like VRBO if you're looking for a place to stay in Europe. Book with confidence as you pay through one of several secure methods, including Bitcoin. And don't worry about booking fees, because they're all paid by the hosts. The biggest disadvantage of 9flats is that they aren't all that popular with renters, having just over 250,000 listings, so your choice of place may be a bit limited.
While a relatively new addition to the vacation rental property market, this San Francisco-based company has become a favourite for many vacationing families. With excellent customer service that has earned it an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, Vacatia has vacation properties for rent from resorts all over North America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. Read traveler's guides for your destination of choice, and then browse units available in that area until you find the perfect one. Then you can book your accommodations instantly, with Vacatia taking care of all the heavy lifting. You don't even have to contact the property owner to arrange things -- Vacatia will do this for you!
Of all the popular VRBO alternatives, OneFineStay is the most unique. The owners of the website have personally selected a number of properties in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and New York City that they've stayed at and enjoyed, and you can book them all to yourself for a time. While the listings selection is obviously limited, you'll know exactly how to best enjoy your stay thanks to advice on nearby hotspots from people from the neighbourhood.
Like 9flats, Wimdu is a site like VRBO that is popular mainly in Europe (though it has listings in the U.S. and other locales). Part of this is because they offer free insurance policies whether you're hosting or staying as a guest, plus they only release your booking payment to a renter once you've checked in and are satisfied with everything. Wimdu has listings in over 140 countries and 2000 cities worldwide, totalling over 300,000 choices for where to stay while out of town!
Airbnb is a very popular VRBO alternative. Its major selling point is in how it attempts to establish a sense of community accountability. None of the property owners or managers on Airbnb have any kind of sponsorship edge over anyone else; their business is only as good as how they treat their customers. Renters can also review guests as well, so if you list your property on Airbnb, you'll have a good idea of whom you can or can't trust to keep your place in good shape during their stay. Airbnb is also a little more hands-on than VRBO when it comes to dealing with problems between renters and guests.
If you'd like to know more about Airbnb and how it works, visit our Airbnb course here.
Roomorama is one of the safest alternatives to VRBO. Like on FlipKey, all users are required to verify certain personal information so that Roomorama knows that they are who they say they are, and not a potential scammer. In addition, like on Wimdu, Roomorama requires you to give a verification code to your host when you check in before they get paid, so you won't lose your money if there's a problem with the property that you booked.
Have you tried booking a rental property with any of these other websites like VRBO? Did they help make your vacation smooth sailing, or did they leave you out in the cold? Are there any other websites similar to VRBO that you would recommend to us or our users? Drop us a line in the comments section below, or visit our social media feeds and let us know!
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