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Old 02-17-2022, 01:06 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by WhenIsItTime View Post
I use VRBO and AirBNB to find properties. I then try to find a direct property website to avoid the VRBO/AirBnb fees...........
This is a great idea. I was checking out a place we rented in the past and I could have saved a considerable amount by either renting through AirBnB vs VRBO or going directly to the rental agency.

The fees are ridiculous. For 2 nights the rent was $400 and $200 of that was fees above and beyond taxes.
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Old 02-17-2022, 01:19 PM   #22
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I use VRBO to "find" the place, but a little googling afterwards helps me contact the owner directly and it's always cheaper that way. Staying in Cabo in June and saved over a thousand using that method.
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Old 02-17-2022, 01:28 PM   #23
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My wife and I travel a lot both domestically and internationally and, depending on our needs and where we're going have used a bit of everything for booking!

We've used both Airbnb and VRBO for longer term rentals in the U.S. and abroad...this has included three 1-2 month stays in Paris, a month in Santa Fe, three or four 1-2 month stays in Charleston, a week or two several times in Seattle, etc. Generally we've liked what we got, though a couple of the apartments in Paris (which were well located and relatively spacious) were a bit more threadbare then we expected. I will say that many of the rentals in larger cities (particularly NY and Paris) seem to be run by pretty hard nosed management companies out to make a profit. We were also lucky to get all our money back (from an accommodating individual owner) for a two-month reservation in Nice for spring 2020 that we had to cancel due to COVID and which VRBO wouldn't automatically refund.

When we're traveling for shorter stays, particularly to places like NY or Philadelphia or Chicago, and particularly when we want to stay right downtown, we'll usually book hotels. We'll often book directly with the hotels (which sometimes gets you perks like free wifi, etc., particularly if you're a member), unless the rates are significantly lower on search engines. That said, on a three week trip to Rome, Florence and the Amalfi coast a few years ago, we booked almost everything on or or Expedia or Travelocity (because it was cheaper and easier and because the package wholesalers (like Vacations on Foot) couldn't meet our needs) and didn't have a problem. We also did have a one week stay in Florence that we booked directly with the owner, I think through Airbnb, and that also worked out fine.

We do try to stay away from some of the smaller, foreign booking engines, since we don't fully trust them and find the bigger players like Expedia hard enough to deal with when you have a problem (which has happened once or twice).

For short term stays on the road, we'll often just check on google maps and call ahead to particular properties or to central booking numbers for the larger chains...

When we're staying in a resort area, we're more likely to book with a local real estate or rental agent. We've done this three or four times in the last few years, for example, renting in Canaan Valley, West Virginia. We've also stayed two or three times for a couple of weeks at the YMCA of the Rockies near Estes park. And when we're car touring with 2-4 days stops, we'll look for local bed and breakfast or small hotels that we check out on TripAdvisor (a great source for assessing properties anywhere). Trip advisor was how we located a wonderful resort property in Bariloche, Argentina for a one week stay and a two week condo rental in Buenos Aires a few years ago.

In general, all of these sources are good. But you really have to check out the reviews and ratings carefully (lots of games are played) and should err on the side of caution when dealing with unknown booking engines or for deals that seem to good to be true!
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Old 02-17-2022, 02:02 PM   #24
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I start by looking at VRBO and airbnb... I'll also sometimes google "Vacations rental < insert city name here >" Once I've identified the place I want (or a short list) I look at the listings for descriptions - putting in the description text to a search engine often turns up the owners direct website - or other sites the property is listed on. I shop for overall prices (inclusive of fees and taxes). Usually it's cheaper if I can contact the owner directly.

I've had conversations about this with one of my husband's cousins in Sicily. She manages a family vacation house for the 48ish weeks they don't use it. She has her own website, but also uses, expedia, tripadvisor, etc... She said VRBO was too hard to work with. It was funny because on that same trip we were, totally coincidentally, renting a week at one of her good friend's homes in Modica for the week after we visited her and her family. We'd booked through VRBO... so it had worked for him. LOL.
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
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