To preface this post, I’m not a $300/night hotel kind of traveler (it would be nice to be but I like having a kitchen to access and save money while traveling and I could be a $300/night hotel kind of traveler if I didn’t have to pay that kind of price). I don’t need to luxuriate in 1000 thread count linens or need hand pressed orange juice with room service. In fact, the only time I ever ordered room service in my life was a few years ago and I felt guilty after the fact because it seemed so excessive. I was staying at a hotel with a few girlfriends who ordered room service regularly.
Since vacation rental websites cropped up, it has changed the way I travel because I like to have access to a kitchen to save money on food (well, family has also changed the way I travel too as my husband doesn’t like to stay in hostels and now that we have a family, hostels are not really appropriate at this point in time).
It might be difficult to decide between renting a vacation rental with AirBnb and VRBO or Home Away, although I find that there is often overlap, and listings sometimes are listed on both sites.
I have used both VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) and Home Away (they are owned by the same company) and AirBnb. I stayed at a VRBO in Hawaii, in Seattle, and on a small island near Vancouver and have used Airbnb throughout the southern coast of Iceland for our weeklong trip. We also stayed at an Airbnb in Omaha for our trip at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting and in Palm Springs when we went to see the BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament at Indian Wells.
When I used VRBO, I had an issue with one of the accommodations. That being said, not all of the experiences were like that, in the other experiences, they were actually great. In this particular accommodation, there were ants all over the kitchen, and when I arrived to check in there was someone in the accommodation (the previous person who was staying). I also couldn’t reach the owner to check in and I was in a panic. In addition, the lock to the door wasn’t very secure and we didn’t feel safe putting out belongings inside. Obviously there were a few issues to deal with.
When I called VRBO I was able to speak to someone relatively quickly but they encouraged me to contact the owner and offered to call the owner for me to relay the information. They were not able to help with much else.
Although this scenario is different, my friend who stayed at an AirBnb in Japan had the fire alarm go off and she had to vacate the premises. It was an inconvenience and if I recall AirBnb found another place for her to stay and also gave her a monetary voucher for the inconvenience (I can’t remember the value, it might have been $100?).
Here’s an infographic comparing
the pros and cons of
vrbo/ home away and airbnb:
Although the forced currency conversion is annoying, in my opinion the service and attention to your satisfaction that AirBnb offers is second to none. There is more protection against trip cancellation (for example, if the owner of the rental cancels on you), AirBnb has more ‘tools’ (e.g. money) to make sure you are satisfied with your stay.
Readers, have you stayed at a VRBO or AirBnb before? What did you think of it?