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VRBO - Renting Maui Condo Fears

Old Feb 21st, 2006, 09:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27
VRBO - Renting Maui Condo Fears


I've seen this topic touched on here, but haven't read lots of experiences with VRBO.

I guess I need reassurances.

In May, my DH and I will be heading to Maui, our first time, for our 10 year wedding anniversary.

I'm on the cusp of sending off a check for our deposit of $685 to a VRBO Whaler condo owner. A month prior to our trip, I'll need to send the final balance of $685. So, total will be $1,370, essentially cash, to a person I've never met.

Most of the VRBO's only accept checks/money orders (cash).

I have 2 fears. A) The person runs off with our money and we are featured on 60 Minutes for being so foolish. B) One of our kids gets really sick, so we have to cancel our trip (meaning, we lose about $700).

Anyone have GREAT VRBO experiences to share? How about HORROR VRBO stories?


picklepeach is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 09:46 AM
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Get trip insurance if you are worried about your kid getting sick.

Ask the owner for a list of references/satisfied renters.

Most importantly, go with your gut. If you feel something is amiss, it probably is.
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 09:52 AM
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THANKS GoTravel ~ your tips help.

Can anyone recommend a place where I can buy trip insurance?

picklepeach is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,044
Used VRBO for accomodations on our trip to Maui last May and everthing was fine.

One thing you can do is look at this site:

You can enter the address and the website will tell you who the owner is, so you can at least check that the person is indeed the owner of the place you are renting.

LordBalfor is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 287
We had an excellent experience using vrbo for a rental last November in Santa Fe. The place was even better than expected. The owner was also very eager to tell us about her place, give references, send more pictures.

We ended up having a lovely time and the rental was better than I expected.
kangamom is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 10:13 AM
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Ken ~ that link was VERY helpful. Thank you! I was able to plug in the owner's name in and confirm ownership for the Whaler address. Phew!

Kangamom ~ thanks for sharing your positive VRBO experience
picklepeach is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I always rent with VRBO. I have rented 1 home in Orlando, South Dakota, three in Breckenridge, 1 in Winter Park CO, 1 in Denver. I have had amazing experiences, these homes were far better than my house! We had our own pool in Florida, amazing master suites, luxury bedding and hot tubs. It is cheaper than hotel rooms and they have everything you need. I tell everyone I know about VRBO!

Kangamom- which property did you rent in Santa Fe? We are going there in May and I have been perusing vrbo. Thanks!
BellaD is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Glad you asked. As I responded to this email, I went back to vrbo to post comments about our past stay.

It is It looks even better than the pictures and the people really knew what they were doing. You don't need to bring a thing in terms of soap, shampoo, etc.

It is not located downtown, but about a mile outside of town, which was fine for us.
kangamom is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Your experiences really are not with VRBO the website, they are with individual owners. Many of the owners also list their condos on other sites too.
Barbara is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I have had wonderful experiences too (three of them in Hawaii, but not condos, they were single family homes).

For trip insurance, a great site is:
There is a comparison feature showing price and conditions. I rarely use trip insurance, but when booking a cruise with five couples (some elderly) this site saved me hundreds of dollars over buying from the cruise agent or the cruiseline.
joan is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 01:54 PM
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Barbara - YES, I should have been clearer. I don't have concerns over the actual VRBO website ... it seems to be a fantastic resource. My concern lies within the individual owner(s)/sending money far in advance, etc.

Joan - Excellent! Thanks for the link. We made a big mistake in not purchasing trip insurance for a cruise that we took with Princess. Our luggage was either stolen or lost (it never turned up). We had purchased the baggage pick-up/delivery to our room with Princess - our bags never arrived. Throughout our entire 10 day trip, we had no clothes except the ones that we were wearing on the flight. I was 6 months pregnant to boot. Princess was horrible and gave us run around after run around. We did receive homeowners insurance and some money from the airline. We received some measely vouchers from Princess worth $250. I will always buy trip insurance now ...
picklepeach is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 01:57 PM
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I just read a post from on this very topic of renting directly from owners ...

"...I would recommend booking through the on-site management company ResortQuest. ( Many times you are still surprised with unknowns like her elevator noise issue if you book a particular unit before arriving. If you book through a reputable company like ResortQuest, and are unhappy with your particular unit, they will usually gladly move you to another to make you happy. Many owners who rent directly are doing so because they choose not to have their unit upgraded enough to meet the strict standards set by the on-site management company. There are exceptions to that, but difficult to find. I have never had an unhappy experience with resortquest over the years. The other big difference is you get daily maid service Vs. weekly with most direct owner bookings. If something is wrong in your unit, they will send their maintenance guy right up, just like a resort would. They also charge a check-in fee if you book direct through an owner ..."

The tips mention make sense ... I am really scratching my head now.
picklepeach is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You took the question right out of my mouth.

For the past five years, I've used VRBO to rent in Myrtle Beach, SC. In every case, the rental was *better* than advertised. I'm sure there are some dumps out there, but I've found asking questions of the owner (how current are the pictures, what other fees are there, how will I get the key) works best. After all, they've never met you (me) either and they are taking a chance with us.

Thanks for asking my questions.
Mike Honeycutt
mahoneycutt is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 722
We have had good luck with VRBO but I would definitely consider travel insurance. I will second Joan's recommendation on - it's a great place to get quotes and purchase travel insurance.
luvtravl is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 94
Thanks Kangamom for the link. In the past, we have taken 4 teens with us so the house would have been perfect. That is why we started looking at houses to begin with. Hotel rooms were just too small and expensive. This year, it is just my husband and me so we found a smaller 2 bedroom on VRBO last night. We called her directly and she was wonderful. Thanks for the link though, the house looks wonderful! I think vrbo does attract some of the "better" properties around.
BellaD is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Who wrote that glowing review of resort quest? A resort quest employee by chance. Sounds way too advertorial to me.

One experience with VRBO and it was fine. Towels, linens, tp supplied, along with pantry items like salt and pepper. But it wasn't Hawaii.

ncgrrl is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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There was just a big thread about VRBO over on the European board. Check there. Everyone there has had good experiences. I had a great experience with it in Ft. Lauderdale. I'm never going back to hotel rooms again.
kelliebellie is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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chuckled when i read this. i've been a little nervous about this same issue. renting a home this summer and sent off my $700 deposit. as you said, it's sending "cash" to a stranger. a little unnervy. chuckled at the comment of being featured on 60 minutes for being foolish. i could just hear some people in my life yelling at me for sending a cheque to a stranger. BUT, i got a decent gut feeling from her over the phone and i just decided to trust that MOST people in this world are good and honest and went with that. good luck.
ltt is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 09:10 AM
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Hey there ~ Thanks for all of the responses. I kept refreshing the page yesterday and, for some reason, it didn't show the newer posts.

Well, I landed up booking through ResortQuest. It came down to nerves ... we were able to leave a deposit on our credit card (as opposed to cash) and will have the ability to cancel up until 3 days prior to reservation, without penalty.

Trade offs.

I booked a Whaler studio with "Deluxe Ocean View" for $280/night.

For about the same price, we could have booked directly with an owner in a 1 bd/2 ba, oceanfront with huge lanai. BUT, would not have the security of a credit card payment and cancellation terms.

I'll keep you posted with our experience ...
picklepeach is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 05:25 PM
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Would you mind sharing the VRBO property #'s you used. We would like to us VRBO on a trip to Hawaii.

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