VRBO or Home Away versus AirBnb

versus   VRBO or Home Away versus AirBnb


VRBO or Home Away versus AirBnb: Which One is Better?

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.

my experience

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:


VRBO or Home Away versus AirBnb

the verdict?

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?

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About genymoney

GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle.

8 comments on “VRBO or Home Away versus AirBnb

  1. Ohh this is interesting! I never realized there were other similar companies to airbnb. In the future, I would like to try out these companies instead of paying crazy money for expensive hotel rooms that will only be used for sleeping. Thanks for sharing! I can add more to my travel resources.

    • @Melanie- Yup, I think VRBO came before Airbnb. You’re welcome! Airbnb has been a game changer for the way I travel.

  2. I have not stayed at any of these rental yet as I have not been traveling to a place where I need to rent recently. I have heard really great feedback from airbnb users and I think I will give these rental a try in th near future.

    For any othe these sites, my number one concern is always the security of the rental and the customer service of the host.
    Leo T. Ly recently posted…What Are You Thankful For This Thanksgiving?My Profile

    • @Leo- Thanks for visiting, yes I agree those two are of utmost priority. The customer service of Airbnb was better. People are pretty honest with their feedback so I usually only look for 5 star ratings (or near 5 stars) and have been super happy with the stays.

    • @Steve- I had no issues with VRBO until I had that issue lol, but yes Airbnb’s platform is easier to navigate and it does have more ‘customer protection’.

  3. I used VRBO for a house down in San Diego a few years back and I had a good experience. The owner of the house was always responding to my emails for any questions I had about the place. He was a great communicator during that whole process. And I met him when we got to the property, he was more than gracious to have us there.
    This was before AirBnb became really popular but I will look into them the next time we want to stay at a rental.
    Kris recently posted…My Financial MistakesMy Profile

    • @Kris- Good to hear you had a responsive owner! I guess there can be hit or miss with both VRBO and Airbnb, there are TONS of Airbnb horror stories (probably more so for the person renting out the Airbnb), like the one where their home turned into a big Orgy party or something like that! Horrible…!

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