VRBO/HomeAway

time icon 4 min read update icon Oct. 23, 2019
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9.3
Grand Score
8
User Score
9.3
Grand Score
8
User Score
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Many people wait their whole lives to travel. When a senior retires, it is finally their golden opportunity to visit the places they have been dreaming about. One of the best ways to truly soak up the regional culture is through home-sharing. You can rent a vacation home for a couple of days or months. HomeAway/VRBO are leaders in vacation rentals. 

HomeAway and VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) are the same; many people mistakenly believe they are two different companies. Founded in 1996, VRBO is one of the first vacation rental sites. HomeAway emerged in 2005 and quickly acquired VRBO and another site known as VacationRentals.com. Today, the company is made up of 12 websites. 

Both HomeAway and VRBO share many similarities and even feature the exact same house rentals. The sites are huge and feature over a million listings in 190 countries. Many consider the search functions on the sites the best in the industry because they are easy for anyone to using (including seniors who might not be tech-savvy). 

Grandfolk Scoring
Price 10/10
Features 8/10
Ease 8/10
Customer Service 10/10
Price
Price
A service fee of 4% to 9% formulated on a sliding fee scale.
Features
Features
Provides houses, apartments, and condos around the world for affordable rental fees
Ease
Ease
The website is easy to operate. You can pick the features that matter to you so you can find the exact home to fit your requirements.
Customer Service
Customer Service
24-hour customer service via their toll-free phone number. Email is also available
Age Score:
9
50-64 Years
10
65-74 Years
10
75-84 Years
9
85-Older

Many seniors are not tech-savvy so searching an online site and booking lodging is often difficult with complicated sites. However, with HomeAway/VRBO things have never been simpler. The site is easy to operate and if a senior becomes confused then they can call customer service for a more personal experience. 

Health Score:
10
Great
10
Good
9
Fair
8
Poor

Health-related score

Pros:

The bevy of affordable choices is immense. Many seniors also find it reassuring to know that their payment method is secure. Instant booking is a nice perk and even the wait on other listings is 24 hours or less. The site contains numerous photos of the listings (most around 35 pics) and is easy to maneuver. Seniors can even peruse listings using their mobile. The option of being able to purchase trip insurance policies is a nice perk that most seniors appreciate. 

  • Seniors can easily choose between millions of available properties 
  • The payment method is highly secure  
  • Indulge in instant booking with many homeowners. 
  • Very data-friendly for seniors who might struggle with other sites
  • Site contains ample photos of each listing
  • Rental insurance such as damage and cancellation are available on the site
  • Site is mobile-friendly 
  • 24-hr customer service
  • Over a million listings in 190 countries

Cons:

Many seniors might expect maid-service that is comparable to that of five-star hotels, but they may be sadly disappointed with some of the listings on the site. They frequently offer very limited or no services. Advertisements might boast impressive photos, but the reality is less than ideal. Seniors tend to like to stay in safe areas with security systems and some of the listings lack such measures which can be risky for elderly and feeble seniors who do not want to stand up to a mugging or robbery. 

  • They charge for the paperwork for damage and cancellation insurance 
  • Service fees such as cleaning are added on for many listing
  • Advertisements may be misleading
  • Users must create an online ID that has to go through verification processes to guarantee that the user is who they claim to be. 
  • Some places listed on the service have no security systems and might be in areas that are known to be high crime
  • Many listings lack maid-service or other amenities that are common in hotels

Bottom Line:

The home-sharing/vacation rental services of VRBO/HomeAway have been around for a long time and have fine-tuned the process. You won’t find another online service with over a million listings. The site is easy to use for seniors and the customer service is superb. Most people have a very positive experience and become repeat customers. Without a doubt, VRBO/HomeAway opens travel doors for seniors on a budget. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I search for a rental? 

The site is easy to maneuver for young and old alike. You simply enter your desired destination, check-in date, and check-out date. You will also be asked the number of people at your party and if they are minors then the ages (many seniors travel with their grandkids). This info helps you search for rentals in your desired location. YOU can also narrow your search down to preferences such as price per night or location. 

How do I cancel a reservation?  

Canceling a reservation is easy. You log into your account on the site and then pick, ‘My Trips.’ You will see your current reservations. Pick on and then click on the table that says, ‘Manage your booking.’  At this point, you can review the property owner’s cancelation policy and then click cancel.

How do I request a refund?  

While you are canceling your reservation, you will see a tab that says, ‘request a cancellation. Please, prior to making any reservations, first check their refund protocol. 

More Information:

Product Information

Grandfolk - Editorial Staff

Grandfolk® editorial staff provides in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.