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Depending on your travel style, family size and destination, you might opt in for a vacation rental property instead of a hotel. More often than not, you’ll have access to a kitchen, more shared space and possibly a lower price.
Vrbo (pronounced VER-bo) is an online marketplace leading you to vacation homes available for short-term rent. If you’re wondering whether Vrbo is a safe site to book a vacation home rental, it is.
Here’s what you should know about the website and how to find the best deals on Vrbo.
How Vrbo works
Is Vrbo legitimate? Yes, the website acts as a go-between connecting homeowners and travelers looking for vacation space, offering houses, condos, cabins and cottages for family vacations anywhere in the world.
All you have to do is search for Vrbo properties in your desired destination. Type in where you want to travel, dates and number of guests. Click “Search.”
Once options are displayed on your screen, you can filter results by a multitude of factors. Examples include:
Whether pets are allowed.
Type of property (cabin, house or cottage).
Hot tub or pool availability.
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
The length of a property’s free cancellation period (ranging from 14 to 60 days before check-in).
Amenities, such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning or stove.
Safety and accessibility.
Discounts on weeklong and monthlong stays.
You can also sort results by price, reviews, location or access to nearby activities. Filtering with the “instant confirmation” booking option removes the delay in securing your rental.
You can also view a two-month calendar of availability with blacked-out dates and prices for the open dates. This view can help you score deals if you’re flexible with your trip timing.
Sift through the properties available for rent and pick one that fits your preferences. Fill out guest information, book and pay.
» Learn more: The traveler's guide to Vrbo
Is Vrbo a safe site?
Vrbo is a reliable vacation rental site; however, wise travelers often do their own research to improve the odds that they’ll have an enjoyable stay in someone else’s home.
Make sure to pay attention to the amenities mentioned in the listing, read reviews and the details of the cancellation policy. Make note of any additional fees, such as cleaning and service fees charged by Vrbo itself.
If you’re not sure whether this particular property will suit you, feel free to contact the host and ask additional questions about the accommodation.
Notice how quickly you receive a response and whether your questions have been answered.
When it comes time to settle the bill for the vacation home, always send a secure payment through Vrbo and avoid sending a direct PayPal payment or a personal check. This way you’re protected against fraud or scams.
» Learn more: Airbnb vs. Vrbo — which is better for travelers?
Ways to get a good deal on Vrbo
Although Vrbo doesn’t publish coupon codes and you can’t get a discount in a traditional way as you would with an online travel agency or a travel search aggregator, consider the following ideas to score a deal on your vacation rental.
Book recently added properties
It might sound scary to reserve a vacation home with no reviews. You don’t know what to expect from the accommodation, the area or the property manager. However, you can get a 20% discount off your nightly rate by booking a stay via a new Vrbo listing.
This newcomer discount is offered during the property’s first 90 days on the website, and you can be one of the guests helping a host establish a star rating. Everyone has to start out somewhere, and you might as well get a good deal out of a newly listed property.
If you’re not afraid of less-than-ideal weather, travel to a destination during either shoulder season or off-season. Depending on your destination, you might be able to score a 25% to 30% discount on travel during shoulder season and a 70% to 75% discount on travel during off-season vs. peak season. Likewise, avoid traveling during popular vacation times or holidays because your nightly rate is going to skyrocket.
» Learn more: Why ‘shoulder season’ is the best time to travel
If vacation time is non-negotiable and you are, indeed, traveling in peak season, search for a rental home early, especially in a trendy destination. With more listings on the site that haven’t been nabbed yet, you’re more likely to find a place to stay in your budget range.
Contact the host and ask for a discount
Whether you’re looking to book a last-minute rental or a long-term stay, some travelers have had success scoring a deal by contacting the property manager through the platform and politely asking whether they’d come down on a price. Unless the host can risk having a vacant unit, they might be willing to offer a stay discount or a free night, or to waive a cleaning fee instead.
This isn’t a foolproof plan of getting a good deal on Vrbo, but it can’t hurt to try. For a higher chance of success, tell the homeowner a little about yourself and be cordial.
Redeem travel statement credits for Vrbo rentals
Some credit cards offer travel statement credits, and those that do often cover certain Vrbo stays. In fact, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a $300 annual statement credit that can be used to offset Vrbo purchases.
Check cash back shopping portals
There are a few ways to earn additional cash back for your Vrbo bookings if you know where to look. For instance:
» Learn more: The best alternatives to Airbnb
So, is Vrbo legit?
If you’re considering booking a home on the vacation rental website Vrbo for your next stay, it's 100% legit. Make sure to read reviews so you know what to expect and pay through the website to avoid any problems in the future.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card