If it was possible for me financially, I would spend most of my life traveling the world. There is something in my soul that connects with traveling that makes me feel alive and exhilarated about life.
If you are someone who loves to travel, than you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Traveling gives you that excitement in your soul that few other things in life match.
I am also a person who lives on a budget and attempts to live prudently with my money. I look continuously for ways to decrease my living expenses, increase my savings, and increase my opportunities to give. (Giving is Awesome!)
This dual desire of living frugal and enjoying the activity of traveling creates a continuous conflict within me. There is always this continuous tension that causes a battle against the two wills. On some days, the frugal side will win out and I will resist the desire to spend money on traveling. On other days, the traveling side will win and I’ll be booking a trip that stretches me financially.
However, there are solutions to this problem. The solution usually involves traveling for as little money as possible by using my credit card reward points, or searching online for great travel deals.
When you have a family, this problem gets even more difficult. You have to figure out ways to either travel independently of your kids, or bring them along for as little as possible. One of the best ways to achieve this goal of traveling with your family, and still have an amazing place to stay is Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO).
I want to use this post to talk about all the great advantages of using VRBO for your next trip. I think the advantages are numerous and just talking about them gets me stir crazy about traveling… so, as you can probably tell, even writing this post is exciting.
Why I love Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO)
Great for Family Trips:
If you travel as a family, than you know already that it can be really difficult to rent hotel rooms and be comfortable. Hotel rooms are generally not conducive to a lot of people and make it difficult when you have young children – especially when they need to take a two hour afternoon nap. (I hope you’re a reader!)
VRBO is perfect for this scenario, because you can easily rent a vacation home or condominium instead of a small hotel room and still many times pay less. Now that I have two little girls myself, I am always checking VRBO as my primary choice of lodging when taking a vacation. The space alone is well worth the switch, but as I mentioned above the costs are almost always less or the same as a comparable hotel room.
Rocking Great Prices:
If one thing is certain, VRBO is almost always cheaper than renting a hotel room. I’ve experienced this first hand when doing some “window shopping” for a place to stay in Maui. (I love Hawaii!)
But VRBO’s website also points out that many times they average $30-$150 less per night less on locations such as New York City, Miami, and Rome. As a personal finance enthusiast and a lover of travel, this suits me just fine and keeps me coming back to VRBO as my first choice for saving money.
This item is usually overlooked if you don’t have kids. But VRBO locations are almost “always” fully stocked with amenities to assist any family. For example, if you’re traveling to a beach location, you can be certain they will normally have all the beach equipment you need such as chairs, umbrellas, surf boards, and towels to make your trip easier and that much more enjoyable.
Even if you don’t have kids, most locations have fully stocked kitchens with all the necessary items you need to live comfortably. For me, this is a huge plus if I’m visiting a location I will be in for a long period of time. (…such as Hawaii – did I say I love Hawaii?)
Pets are Usually Welcome:
In our family, the only pet we have is my daughter’s fish named “pancake”. (Yes, my daughter loves pancakes…) Now Pancake doesn’t travel with us, but if we did have a giant golden retriever, I would certain love to take him on our family vacations.
In this scenario, you are usually up a creek with finding a nice lodging location. With VRBO, this is not the case as they have over 25,000 “pet friendly” locations so that you can bring “man’s best friend”.
No Hidden Fees (like parking!):
One thing that really gets me is when I pay an ‘arm and a leg’ for a hotel room and then they tap on $50 a night for parking. The last time I did this in Chicago, the hotel valet also smashed my new SUV into a pole and claimed the scratch and dent was already there. (Hmm… I must have missed that pole in my own garage!)
Anyhow, my point is not to complain about lying valet parking companies, but to point out that with VRBO, hidden fees are almost non-existent. Each is represented by individual owners who advertise on VRBO and are required to communicate all costs upfront. This lets you know what you are paying before you arrive which is always a nice plus for us budgeters.
They’re Everywhere! (over 100 countries & counting)
Vacation Rentals by Owner is not just a US thing… They exist in over 100 countries and have nearly 200,000 properties for rent. To me this means that if you plan ahead, you will always have an option to use VRBO for your travel lodging, no matter where in the world you are visiting.
That being said, the “great locations” are always booked if you’re heading out last minute, so be sure to plan ahead in order to have a low budget vacation.
Note to Readers
Have you used VRBO in the past for your travels? Do you own a rental property that you advertise for on VRBO? What do you love (or hate) about Vacation Rentals by Owner?