Jan 6th, 2007, 10:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 59

I stumbled across this website while exploring the forum, and it seems a smart alternative to hotels. Has anyone used it before, and how was it? I realize that since it is renting by owner you will have differing results, but for a first timer to Europe should this be embraced or avoided?
sbmarti2 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,333
VRBO is very well established and there are lots of Fodorites who use them. But as you know - each property/owner is unique so quality/value will vary from place to place.

There are also MANY threads on here about renting flats/cottages from other sources - VRBO isn't the only one.
janisj is online now  
Jan 7th, 2007, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 793
We really enjoyed our VRBO rental in the 16th Arrondisement in Paris. All dealings were above board and the apartment was just as described.
I can highly recommend this apartment.

I think for a first time traveler it's a good option if you don't need travel assistance or concierge service.
Danna is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I prefer hotels myself, especially if you are new to travel, I find it handy to have front desk staff to help you figure things out. In an apartment you are on your own.
suze is online now  
Jan 7th, 2007, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 71
I've used VRBO in the U.S. to my complete satisfaction - - never a problem.
Rudy is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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I am new to apartment rental but I have learned a lot in the past couple months while trying to arrange a rental for Paris.
VRBO seems to be a vehicle rather than an agency - It is a web site where owners place their privately owned apartments for rent. I presume that they use a formula site and features to do so. When you respond to VRBO regarding a particular place they send your email to the appropriate owner. As janisj has pointed out "each property/owner is unique so quality/value will vary from place to place."
I have found that many of these owners are negligent in keeping up the availability calendar on their site. Often you email and find the apartment not available for rent. Perhaps it is rented, maybe they are holding out for a longer term rental, or they are negotiating with another client.
If the owner/apartment is a good one, recommended on this or other forums, it will be booked quickly - check out some of the availability calendars of the popular ones on this forum. In my experience, if the calendar is wide open there is a reason.
As to whether it is worth the hassle, I posted a thread regarding this. Many think it is, many don't. Perhaps a hotel for a first timer is smart.
robjame is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 201
we rented vrbo in montreal and it added so much to our enjoyment of our stay there. the apartment was beautifully furnished, the owner was helpful. we're renting a vrbo in munich and hope for the same satisfaction.
willis is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 05:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
I rented an apartment through vrbo my first time in Paris (and I was alone) and I really loved the experience. I wasn't an experienced traveler and my French fluency is minimal.

I don't have a large budget so I can't afford really nice hotels but I'm also really turned off by 2-3 star hotels. In fact, I don't even like a lot of 4* hotels I've stayed in the States -- the Fairmont, Hiltons, Sheratons, etc -- with the except of their bathrooms, I have a strong aversion to all their multi-colored carpets and bedspreads that are designed to disguise how dirty they are.

I'm basically pretty cheap but I have relatively high standards about where I'm staying. An apartment ends up being perfect for me since budget hotels depress me -- staying at the Hotel Europa, for instance, significantly impacted the quality of my trip to Florence. For some people, they don't care about accomodations at all and it doesn't matter so much.
For 70-90 Euro/night you can rent a sunny studio with hardwood floors, wood beams, French doors, and a small balcony, etc. I wouldn't want to stay in most hotels at that price range.

Food is also a big part of my trips, so I really like having a kitchen/full fridge so I can shop at open markets.
fishee is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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Well, I actually have not been there yet, but my experience with it has been very rewarding--for Rome. I started out by communicating directly with some of the owners whose apartments looked lovely in the pictures and were in a neighborhood where I wanted to be--but couldn't afford. So, one owner put me in touch with a friend whose apartment is pretty much unused while she spends most of her time in her country home. She and I communicated, and the outcome is that she has rented me her beautiful apartment for an incredible monthly fee. My point is this: at least look around and contact some owners. Networking is still a great tool, and not just in finding a job.
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