Travel Booking Sites

Vrbo Review 2022: A better vacation rental alternative to Airbnb?

Updated on:  
July 13, 2022
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Raeesha Ikram
Raeesha Ikram
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As vacation rental sites continue to gain popularity, it's hard to decide on the app to use. Vrbo, a dominant competitor of Airbnb, claims to provide vacation rentals at an affordable rate with many other valuable features. But is Vrbo actually legit? How does Vrbo stack up to Airbnb or other vacation rental sites? Keep reading to find out.

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Accommodation is one of the biggest concerns when planning a vacation or business trip. But, vacation rental websites make it easier for travelers to browse holiday rentals worldwide and book one in a matter of minutes. These OTAs with user reviews help us compare and pick the best choice for us!

While we've reviewed rental sites such as Vacasa and Holidu, these sites aren't as well-known as the ones we're reviewing today. Vrbo is one of the best budget-friendly vacation rental sites we have today. As a close competitor of Airbnb, does Vrbo have the features to be "the" best vacation rental site for travelers? What are their features, and how do they stack up against the competition?

Most importantly, is Vrbo the right choice for you? Keep reading to find out.

Vrbo logo.
 Image Courtesy: Vrbo

What is Vrbo? 

Founded in 1995 by David Clouse, Vrbo is a vacation rental marketplace connecting travelers with property owners. It belongs to the Expedia Group and currently has over 2 million rental listings worldwide.

Similar to other vacation rental marketplaces like Airbnb and Vacasa, they allow property owners to register their property and turn them into a profitable rental.

Vrbo offers a wide range of accommodation options, focusing on standalone properties than shared spaces or single rooms. It primarily caters to families and travel groups to provide a private experience. 

The Vrbo app is available for both iOS and Android devices. 

What types of accommodation does Vrbo offer?

The choice of accommodation depends on the destination. There are hotels, villas, bungalows, condos, apartments, cabins, lodges, studios, waterfront properties, resorts, and many more. 

In addition, Vrbo also features unique vacation rentals similar to GlampingHub, like treehouses, cottages, barns, houseboats, etc. Sometimes, you will also find B&B options. 

How much does Vrbo charge?

Vrbo charges a fee of 6%-15% of the subtotal value of the booking from guests, and it is the average rate charged by other OTAs as well. From Vrbo's hosts, they charge a commission of 8%.

Vrbo search for vacation rentals and listings main page.
 Image Courtesy: Vrbo

How does Vrbo work?

  1. You have to sign up to book with Vrbo, so start by creating an account. 
  2. On the homepage of Vrbo's website, enter the destination, check-in and check-out dates, and the number of guests (adults, children, and pets). A list of options will appear with details on the number of beds and bedrooms, price per night, and the average rating of the property for easy comparison. 
  3. Use the extensive list of filters to specify your budget and preferences. There's also an interactive map denoting all the places on a map. 
  4. If you find anything interesting, check its availability and more pictures of the place. Vrbo provides a descriptive overview of each place and information on policies, amenities, reviews, rooms and beds, maps, and rates. 
  5. Then, it's a matter of entering your card details and reserving them. You can also save places you like under 'Favourites' and book them when you are ready. 
Vrbo see popular places to stay Sri Lanka listings.
 Image Courtesy: Vrbo

Benefits of using Vrbo

  • Customization 

Vrbo offers a wide range of filters to help you find the perfect accommodation. Based on your requirements, you can specify the price range, neighborhood, location, property type, features and amenities, house rules, safety and accessibility, and many more. The advanced and intuitive filters make your search easier and something Airbnb is yet to have.

  • Privacy 

One of the main benefits of having an entire rental for your use is the optimum privacy that comes with it. It's especially important for couples and families. With complaints about Airbnb hosts spying on their guests, unoccupied properties can also seem attractive for solo travelers. If you don't like the idea of staying with a stranger, Vrbo is a good choice. 

  • Choice 

Vrbo's choice is impressive both in number and type of accommodations. It covers 190 countries at present, and the number keeps growing. Whether you dream of spending your next vacation in a stone cottage or a charming castle, Vrbo has got you covered. Another plus is that you can find rentals for different budget ranges. 

  • Good customer service 

Most of the positive Vrbo reviews highlighted its reliable and helpful customer support. Customers could sort booking issues, reschedule reservations, and solve other urgent matters promptly. It is also an assurance for rental owners and guests when resolving disputes.

Vrbo Trip Board customizations.
 Image Courtesy: Vrbo

Drawbacks of using Vrbo

  • No shared spaces 

Vrbo has a strict policy that restricts anyone from renting out shared spaces on the platform. This also means that accommodation listings within city limits can be limited compared to its competitors like Airbnb. 

  • Cost 

Renting a holiday home is usually more cost-effective than staying at a hotel. But, standalone properties are almost always more expensive than shared spaces. So, don't expect prices as cheap as when you rent out a bed in a hostel or a room in homestay accommodation. On a side note, you can use Holidu to find the cheapest deals for vacation rentals. 

  • Cancellation policy 

The lack of flexibility in cancellation has earned Vrbo a significant number of negative reviews. It has five policies, namely No Refund, Strict, Firm, Moderate, and Relaxed. Guest can cancel up to 60 days before the stay for a full refund under the Strict policy and seven days' prior under Relaxed. It's not great if there's a possibility of a change of plans.

Vrbo vs. Airbnb: Which is better?

Vrbo is one of the closest Airbnb alternatives as it's also a third-party booking platform. But their targeted audience and property types are pretty different. Airbnb's popularity owes to hosts being able to rent any available place, whether it's their extra bedroom or extra villa. Vrbo is strong about offering only standalone properties. Also, Airbnb attracts a younger crowd, while Vrbo is ideal for large groups or families. 

Vrbo vs. Airbnb: Who's better?
Image Logo Courtesy of Airbnb & Vrbo.

Is Vrbo worth it?

Yes. Like Vacasa, it is an excellent choice for travelers looking for entire properties for short-term or long-term rent. But for low-budget travelers looking for shared spaces, not so much. Ultimately, it depends on your budget and preferences. 

Aside from Vrbo's pricer listings and mediocre cancellation policies, you should definitely consider using Vrbo to find and book the accommodation of your choice! 

Our Rating: 4.3 / 5


  • Variety of customizations available
  • Great privacy
  • Lots of choices 
  • Great customer service


  • No shared spaces 
  • Higher costs
  • Cancellation policy 

Plan your trip with Pilot

Finding the perfect place to stay for your vacation or travels is important, but making sure everything goes to plan during your trip is equally important. Have you heard of Pilot?

Pilot is our brand new travel planner with an in-built chat function and many other handy features to help you plan trips conveniently. You can plan with your family members or friends in real-time, avoiding so much hassle and wait time! 

It's also currently free, but not for long. Sign up for early access today! 

Originally published on:  
March 9, 2022

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