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5 Tips to Choose the Best VRBO Rentals for your Next Vacation

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September 24, 2019

There’s definitely some major strategy required to choose the best VRBO rentals.

Let’s face it, modern photography and filters can make just about any photo look good these days. Likewise, all of the pictures and descriptions start feeling the same after a few hours of trying to choose the best VRBO rentals.

Last, without having the physical address of the rental property, it takes work to gauge its actual location.

In this article, you’ll discover the 5 best tips to help you choose the best VRBO rentals! After multiple experiences using VRBO, we have figured out an epic selection strategy that works. Follow along for our ultimate tips in ensuring that your VRBO rental experience is a total success!

Before starting the search

Before starting the search for the best VRBO rental, narrow down the general itinerary of your vacation. Decide on a convenient city and/or part of the city that will be centrally located to the majority of things that you plan to see and do.

Next, enter the actual dates that you plan on staying before trying to choose the best VRBO. Prices vary per season. Unless you’re looking at the actual dates of your vacation, you may be misled.

Likewise, your selection will be based on timespecific availability versus performing a general search.

Finally, consider how solid your vacation plans are.

Then, pay close attention to a listing’s cancellation policy before selecting the best VRBO. Cancellation policies vary per property, so determine what you are willing to risk in terms of potentially or unexpectedly needing to cancel.

Additional planning tip: The same strategies should be utilized when choosing AirBnb vs. VRBO.

1. Find the best VRBO rentals: Map the location

My first tip for choosing the best VRBO rentals is to study the listing details enough to help narrow down its physical location.

Understand that VRBO property addresses are not released to guests until 30 days prior to check-in on any and all confirmed bookings. This means that you have you must reserve the listing and pay in full before ever finding out its actual location.

Determining the most accurate approximate physical location of the listing is of the utmost importance when choosing the best VRBO rentals.

No matter if the intended purpose of your trips is for business or pleasure, a convenient rental location is necessary for a hassle-free trip.

Look for keywords in the listing title, description, and guest reviews. Use these to help narrow down your Google Map search as to where the rental is located. Start your Google Map search by entering the city that the property is listed in.

Next, add in any close landmarks that are mentioned.

Finally, zoom in on the map to look for places, stores, and restaurants that are mentioned in the listing’s description and guest reviews.

By now, you should have a very good idea as to the general location, if not the actual block that the VRBO rental is located on.

Ensure that the property’s location is near your desired conveniences such as attractions, restaurants, beach access, and so on.

Reallife example

When searching for a VRBO rental for our 6-night San Diego family vacation, we fell in love with the photos of a property that is listed as being in Encinatas, CA.

Using the techniques described above, I was able to pinpoint within a 4 block radius of where the rental is located. (The dark pink map markers indicate the keywords/places that I used when mapping its location.)

  • Listing title: Luxurious Home | Sleeps 6 | Balcony & Ocean view |1 block to beach
  • Property description: “A family-friendly neighborhood with restaurants, ice cream, and pizza. Steps away from Moonlight State Beach. Perfect location with quick access to a gas station and Interstate 5.”
  • Guest reviews: “1 block from morning coffee at Lofty Coffee.” “Two choices of coffee at either Better Buzz or Lofty Coffee, both a short walk away.”
Best VRBO rentals, map

As expected, this VRBO rental ended up being located in Encinatas, CA between A and B Street (see map below).

It is located 1 block from Moonlight State Beach as the description states.

2. Find the best VRBO rentals: Inspect the photos

best VRBO rentals, living room

With VRBO being an online marketplace, it is essential to pay close attention to the listings’ photos.

There are so many details that you can learn about a property through the photos alone. Do the beds look comfortable? Are the furnishings old and worn, or new and functional? Further, analyze the photos for unnecessary clutter and the presence of the homeowner’s personal items and belongings.

Determine if the cleanliness and style match where you want to spend your ‘vacation’?

When selecting the best VRBO rentals, beware of photos that are taken with a wide-angle lens. A wide-angle lens will make a room appear bigger than it actually is, which can be misleading.

Also, be on the look-out for photos with an unnatural amount of flattering light. High dynamic photos can be an indication that a homeowner is trying to make the property better than it actually is.

By immersing yourself in the photos, you will be well on your way to selecting the best VRBO.

3. Find the best VRBO rentals: Analyze the amenities

If you’re opting for a VRBO rental vs. a standard hotel, chances are that you have certain amenities in mind. Analyzing a listing’s available amenities is essential in choosing the best VRBO rental so that these expectations are met.

Standard amenities to look for include TV, satellite/cable, Internet, parking, and air conditioning. Additional amenities may include a washer/dryer, swimming pool, hot tub, and/or fireplace.

If searching for the best VRBO rental for a family vacation, keep your eye out for unique amenities that will amp up the fun during your stay.

Some rentals offer amenities such as video gaming systems, surround sound, backyard fire pits, and outdoor grills. Other perks may include the use of bicycles, beach chairs, boogie boards, and coolers.

Traveling with a baby or toddler? Look for child-friendly amenities such as cribs/bassinets, safety gates, high chairs, and toys.

Regardless of the type of vacation that you are planning, be sure that the VRBO amenities meet your minimum requirements.

4. Find the best VRBO rentals: Study the reviews

Let personal reviews be a gold standard in discovering the best VRBO rentals! You can learn so much by reading about what other guests write about their stay. Pay attention to both the star-rating, the number of reviews, and the actual wording of the review.

I recommend selecting a VRBO that is consistently rated at least 4 out of 5 stars.

Further, the more reviews available on a listing, the better. The presence of more reviews means that the listing has been on the market longer, and the owners are more likely to have worked out the kinks.

Filter the reviews to read both the best, and the worst reviews.

Though some people are very difficult to please, reading bad reviews will give you a glimpse on potential upsets.

Likewise, with VRBO’s unique feature of allowing homeowners to respond to reviews, you may be able to see how the homeowner remedied the problem. Or perhaps the homeowner will disclose that the negative review was given by a disrespectful house guest.

All of this information is invaluable!

Don’t stop after reading a few reviews, instead read as many as you possibly can. After analyzing photos and reading a majority of the reviews, you should be able to imagine being in the space.

Loads of valuable information found in this review

5. Find the best VRBO rentals: Look for a Premier Partner badge

One of the amazing features of VRBO is its Premier Partner badge recognition program!

Premier Partner is a term awarded to owners and property managers who have a low cancellation rates and consistently high reviews. This invite-only program recognizes those who go above and beyond for their guests.

To receive Premier Partner recognition properties must meet and maintain strict selection criteria for a 365-day period. Once achieved, travelers can then understand and trust the value of the Premier Partner brand name.

Premier Partner badge status is listed on the main listing page, above the star rating (as seen below). Premier Partner status is also listed in the property description and can be determined by using the Premier Partner search filter.

5 Tips to Choose the Best VRBO Rentals for your Next Vacation featured by top US family travel blog, Travel with a Plan: best VRBO rentals, premier partner

By using the above tips, you will be well on you way to finding the best VRBO rentals! Please comment below if you want any additional tips.

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

If you like our tips on How to Choose the Best VRBO Rentals, click here to read our Related Posts:

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Top U.S. travel blog Travel With A Plan shares their insider tips how to to select and book the best VRBO rentals! Click here for their exclusive tips when choosing a vacation rental! #VRBO #VRBOtipsrentals #VRBOtips #VRBOrentaltips #tipsforVRBO
Top U.S. travel blog Travel With A Plan shares their insider tips how to to select and book the best VRBO rentals! Click here for their exclusive tips when choosing a vacation rental! #VRBO #VRBOtipsrentals #VRBOtips #VRBOrentaltips #tipsforVRBO
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6 Comments
  1. Reply

    Sage Scott

    October 1, 2019

    Intuitively, I *think* I do something sort of like this when I book a rental property, but I appreciate the very logical step-by-step approach you’ve outlined here to help me be sure I don’t miss any detail and can successfully find the PERFECT place!

    • Reply

      Jen

      October 2, 2019

      Yes, it was fun to put into words the things that most of us do, and the things that truly make a difference!

  2. Reply

    Jenna Stensland

    September 29, 2019

    Great tips! We travel with Airbnb often and these are applicable to both. Thank you!

    • Reply

      Jen

      October 1, 2019

      You’re welcome! Yes, these tips can definitely be applied to both AirBnb and VRBO!

  3. Reply

    Jacs

    September 27, 2019

    These are great tips Jen. In Europe we tend to use Homeaway more, and although essentially the same company, there are some differences. I’m going to check out VRBO more.

    • Reply

      Jen

      September 27, 2019

      Hi! Yes, Homeaway and VRBO are owned by the same company and have the same listings. I wonder if you’ll be able to detect any differences once checking into VRBO?

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