We went on our first family vacation last summer. Our son was almost 3-years-old, I knew I wanted to do a beach trip, and we needed to be within driving distance. I had a lot of criteria for where we would stay, and I wanted to try a new-to-us beach. A few people had mentioned VRBO to me, so I took a chance and booked a condo through them.
My first selection sounded idea. We were staying a partial week and the description said they allowed for partial week rentals, and it was available in the timeframe we wanted. I even reached out to the homeowner and he confirmed it was available. In the end, he turned us down because he said he “felt confident” he could rent the place for the entire week to someone else, but if we were still interested in the whole week he’d rent it to us. (I checked the week before our trip, and the place was still available for the week. I guess he shouldn’t have had all that confidence?)
Our second selection was the right price and I asked about the partial week rental. All sounded great. I booked it, and wound up going through a realty company for the rental. They called me to arrange the payment, invoices were sent, credit cards were charged and apparently the homeowner didn’t agree with the price the realty company charged me. They called me back to make an additional payment. I was annoyed. I was the first renter that this homeowner had, and they didn’t have their ducks in a row.
Fast forward 6 weeks and we found ourselves on Edisto Island in South Carolina. We checked in with the realty company, and then drove to the condos, which happened to be a Wyndham resort. Our son’s favorite space was the pool – and the main pool was closed for an entire day of our short trip.
The condo itself was great. The resort was fine. We did have access to a free shuttle to take us to and from the beach (during certain hours) and since my son had developed a fear of the ocean, this was ok with us.
I’m not sure I’ll go through VRBO again. The two inquiries I made were a hassle, and not getting the correct rental prices on the place we did book was annoying. I would almost rather ONLY deal with a realty company versus a homeowner and that company.
My tips for booking through VRBO, if you choose to do so (and if I decide to do it again):
1. Book early.
2. Google reviews of the surrounding area.
3. Check the reviews of the home you’re wanting to rent. Try to avoid being someone’s first renter.
4. Agree on the price with the owner…and once that price has been agreed upon, don’t allow them to up the price later because they messed up. Not cool.
Have you used VRBO before? What were your experiences?