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Airbnb vs Vrbo

Compare fees, amenities, location and more to book the best rental for your next vacation.

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Both Airbnb and Vrbo allow you to book vacation rentals directly with the owner, and both are prolific within the US and abroad — but they’re not the same.

At a glance

  • Vrbo only lists private rentals, while Airbnb also offers cheaper, shared spaces
  • Airbnb is best for extended rentals, because some hosts offer monthly discounts of 15% to 50% off
  • Airbnb tends to have more unique stays, such as treehouses and houseboats
  • Service and cleaning fees are similar and depend on each host

Verdict

Airbnb is usually better for budget stays since you can book a spare room, while Vrbo offers a more curated experience for families in need of a private vacation home.

What is the difference between Airbnb and Vrbo?

Airbnb logoVrbo logo
Airbnb logoRead our full review of Airbnb (Guest)
Vrbo logoGo to Vrbo
Locations
  • 660,000 Airbnb listings in the US
  • Operates in 81,000 cities across 191 countries
  • Nearly 532,000 Vrbo rentals in the US
  • Over 2 million properties in 190 countries
Safety
  • Superhost program indicates hosts with top ratings and a history of satisfied guests
  • All users are vetted and monitored
  • Secure payments
  • Reviews show honest feedback
  • 5-star rating system
  • Premier Partner label indicates hosts with top ratings and a history of satisfied guests
  • All users are vetted and monitored
  • Secure payments
  • Reviews show honest feedback
  • 5-star rating system
Free breakfast
  • Not usually, though some hosts choose to offer breakfast
  • Not usually, though some hosts choose to offer breakfast
Loyalty program
  • No
  • No
Partner sites
  • No
  • Vrbo is part of the HomeAway family brands, which is owned by Expedia
Free Wi-Fi
  • Most properties offer free Wi-Fi
  • Most properties offer free Wi-Fi
Pet-friendly
  • Some listings are pet friendly
  • Select Pets Allowed under House Rules to filter your search.
  • Some listings are pet friendly
  • Select Pets Allowed under House Rules to filter your search.
Family-friendlyRead each property’s description or inquire with host to learn about safety precautions for the kiddos
  • Filter by high chair and crib
Better overall choice for families when it comes to privacy, since all rentals include the entire property
  • Filter by Family Collection, children welcome, high chair and crib
Payment
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • PayPal
  • Credit and debit cards
Service fees
  • Varies — but always less than 14.2%
  • Varies — but usually 6% to 12% of the total cost
Cleaning fees
  • $65 to $105
  • Varies widely depending on the listing
Gift cards
  • Yes
  • No
Age to book
  • Must be 18+
  • Must be 18+
Security deposit
  • Sometimes, depending on the host
  • Sometimes, depending on the host
Long-term rentals
  • Monthly rentals available
  • Discounts of 15% to 50% off for longer stays
  • Monthly rentals available
  • No discounts for longer stays
Towels and shampoo
  • Depends on the host — some include towels and shampoo
  • Depends on the host — some include towels and shampoo
Price match
  • No
  • No
Changes and cancellations
  • Determined by the host — but you can can generally find options with flexible policies
  • Determined by the host — but you can can generally find options with flexible policies
Smoking
  • Smoking is allowed in some properties
  • Smoking is allowed in some properties
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Is Airbnb or Vrbo cheaper?

Airbnb generally has more rentals available under $100 nightly, so budget shoppers should start there. But after you start looking at pricier places, both sites offer comparable rates. The difference? Airbnb hosts can choose to offer discounts on longer stays, so you could save up to 50% by staying for at least a moth.

We compared a two-bedroom rental in Colorado on Airbnb and Vrbo, with a listing price of $100 nightly. Though these two properties offer slightly different amenities, you can get an idea of how the overall fees compare:

AirbnbVrbo
1 night$100
  • Service fee — $21
  • Cleaning fee — $50

Total — $171

$100
  • Service fee — $20
  • Cleaning fee — $60

Total — $180

1 week (6 nights)$600
  • Service fee — $92
  • Cleaning fee — $50

Total — $742

$600
  • Service fee — $73
  • Cleaning fee — $60

Total — $733

1 month$3,000
  • 15% discount
  • Service fee — $324
  • Cleaning fee — $50

Total — $2,924

$3,000
  • Service fee — $291
  • Cleaning fee — $60

Total — $3,351

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Keep in mind that each owner is in charge of setting their own cleaning fee, so this varies between rentals. Also, you may be charged a tax fee, depending on the local policies of each vacation rental.

Are vacation rentals safe during COVID-19?

Vacation rentals are generally safe to stay in during the coronavirus pandemic, as long as you’re following CDC guidelines. For extra precaution, look for rentals that offer self check-in, so you can avoid physical interaction with the host.

Both Airbnb and Vrbo provide hosts with a set of enhanced cleaning protocols with step-by-step instructions for sanitizing between guests. However, Airbnb goes a step further by inviting hosts to take a quiz confirming their understanding of this protocol. If they pass, their listing will get an Enhanced Clean indicator — offering further peace of mind that the property has undergone rigorous cleaning prior to your arrival.

Cancellation policies

Both sites are encouraging hosts to offer more flexible cancellation policies during the pandemic. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before checking out, to understand the risk upfront. Vrbo will refund the service fee if you need to cancel due to COVID-19, while Airbnb doesn’t state this explicitly.

Any other differences worth noting?

Airbnb has a wider range of rental types available, from campsites to boats, treehouses and tiny houses, in addition to more traditional options like homes, cabins and condos. Vrbo typically sticks to traditional vacation rentals, though you may be able to find some hidden gems.

On Airbnb, make sure you read the listing carefully before booking so that you know what you’re getting in terms of sleeping arrangements, space sharing and amenities.

Another difference is Airbnb Experiences, which are unique activities and tours that you can book with a local, both online and in person. Vrbo doesn’t offer an equivalent.

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