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vrbo vs air bnb

Toronto, Canada
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vrbo vs air bnb

Plannning a trip to Paris and have never booked with vrbo or air bnb and needs to work within budget about 70/80 euros for two. Any suggestions, advice or ideas most welcome. Been reading a lot of negativity about scams. Thanks

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
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21,261 posts
25 reviews
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1. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

Your budget is very low, so you may have better luck on Airbnb. So, do pay attention to flights of stairs and beyond cozy properties.

There is no comparison. With either, everything turns on the owner/manager as to whether the property is as pictured/described, how well maintained, how things are handled if anything is or goes amiss during your visit.

"Scams" can be easily avoided by noticing any "red flags" in the listing or booking process. If you read the excellent FAQ's on both websites, you'll know how to recognize them.

The better bet is to read the advice of those who have had excellent experiences with one or the other or both.

Burlington, Canada
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2. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

I agree with DJK...it really comes down to the owner/manager for the property. The websites themselves are fine to use, but you should be aware of the requested/required methods of payment. For starters, don't book anywhere that requires you to pay the full amount at time of booking or to pay only in cash in person. Those are two red flags for me. Usually, the rental is split with a downpayment and the balance due upon check-in or check-out. In many cases, a refundable deposit will also be required.

As DJK said, be sure to check reviews on whichever properties interest you, as well as look for the details that matter to you (too many stairs/no elevator, no air/con - quite common, location/neighbourhood, amenities, etc.).

I've used Friendly Rentals for Barcelona and for Miami Beach (if I recall correctly). I was very happy with the Barcelona experience, but the Miami one was just okay. Another good site for searching for rentals is Booking.com; they cover hotels, apartments and apart-hotels.

This time, we booked our Paris apartment via VRBO and the property owner has been a delight to correspond with, to say the least. The apartment had great reviews and was actually recommended to me by another member on TA. We have yet to go but I feel very confident in this booking.

Use common sense, keep doing your research and, most importantly, trust your instincts!

Edited: 23 April 2014, 18:47
Ottawa, Ontario
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1,652 posts
23 reviews
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3. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

Actually, I believe airbnb will require full payment up front. They then hold it until a few days after you arrive at the apartment before they forward it on to the renter.

Basking Ridge, New...
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248 posts
167 reviews
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4. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

I used Vbro and homeaway before, and had good experiences. During my search for apartment in Paris just a month ago few of the owners required cash security deposit payable on arrival for 6 nights stay (400-500 EUR) refundable on the last day of the stay. I didn't feel comfortable with this arrangement.

I found apartment from rentParis.com (there were TA reviews for few of rentParis apartments). The first payment was made by credit card; no security deposits of any kind. Also I paid the balance by credit card on arrival. I traveled first week of April and booked at the last minute, the prices on the website are higher now.

My sister rented budget apartment from http://www.paris-flats.fr and directly from Trip Advisor, and also was happy with both.

Look for the extra fees added to the rental. Some add the cleaning fees; one owner told me I need to rent sheets and towels at 15EUR per person, and pay for the electricity charges.

Edited: 23 April 2014, 19:24
Paris, France
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5. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

I'm a huge fan of Airbnb, but I always make sure to choose an apartment with several positive reviews and no prior owner cancellations. I also prefer to choose apartments with Airbnb verified photos, and I look for owners with high response rates. I like that all payments are made by credit card and handled by Airbnb. I also like that you can only leave a review if you have actually stayed there.

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
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21,261 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

Note that rates displayed on Airbnb are "as low as" and may skyrocket when you choose your dates and two people for a quote, so be sure to test your dates. (One of the many things I do not care for on Airbnb...)

For budget apartments, CentreParis is a resource - I am not saying a good one since there have been no positive reports for quite some time and there were many reports of cleanliness and maintenance problems. It's possible that one or a few owners neglect gave them a bad reputation since, prior to that, they were highly recommended for economical rentals.

7. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

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Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

The advantage of AIRBNB is that they hold the deposit and payment until you arrive so if there is no apartment your money is not gone. As far as I can tell, VRBO offers no security at all -- they don't vet the apartments and even say on their site that you should contact the landlord by phone to make sure it isn't a scam -- in other words if you lose your money, they don't take responsibility for the apartments they advertised. It is pretty much 'Craigs List' i.e. the classifieds. I have used AIRBNB in the US and VRBO in both the US and Europe and have had good experiences with both; I am careful to vet the owners and have been lucky; there are people who have posted experiences where they talked with owners and did all sensible things and still got stung. Apartment rentals are always risky. For your money you could get a budget double in one of the chains like Mr. Bed or Ibis; there are a bunch of those at Gallieni at the end of metro line 3 and I am sure elsewhere in the city. If you are nervous about scams then a hotel is a safer bet. 80 a night is on the low end for a short term apartment, you may have to look at a budget site like Centre Paris.

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9. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

I just used airbnb for my trip to Paris, and I had a mostly positive experience. Navigating the actual site and approaching the hosts is tricky and they don't really break down the steps of the process. It's a little too easy to skip a step and scare people away. Once I got past that and found a host willing to accept my booking request, it was fine. Airbnb charged me the full amount up front and then held it until 24 hours after I checked in. I didn't have any issues with my apartment on arrival, so the money was released and that was it. No last minute charges or unplanned expenses, and I didn't have to do anything but make myself comfortable.

My advice would be to pay attention to four things when you search the listings: response time of the hosts, any additional fees for things like security deposit or cleaning, how recently the listing was updated, and the reviews. The place I rented had good reviews with frequent updates and no immediate red flags, and the response time was reasonable. They turned out to be great hosts and the apartment matched the listing photos almost exactly.

For what I wanted, it was a good fit and I would recommend airbnb based on that. Just be careful and aware of what to look for.

Gold coast
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106 posts
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10. Re: vrbo vs air bnb

I used airbnb for five different apartment bookings for our Italy- Paris trip.

All the apartments were exactly as they were described by the hosts.

The owners were all lovely people, Rita from Rome picked us up from the airport for a small fee and her cosy apartment was full of antipasta and treats for us as well as a lovely bottle of wine.

Patrick from Paris also had a lovely bottle of wine for us and could not have been more helpful.

We loved the extra space, the washing machine and appliances to cook when we wanted and the price was quite a bit cheaper.

Important info I feel is to read the reviews , check how many flights of stairs if this is a problem, research the area the unit is in, the really popular units tend to book out fairly quickly so don't leave it too late to book.

Make sure to keep in contact with the owner and advice on time arrivals ect.

Read carefully cancellation policies as each vary.