Is Vrbo Safer Than Airbnb and HomeAway?

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One of your primary concerns when traveling is your safety while you are outside and far away from the confines of your home. If you are in a foreign city or country, it is perfectly understandable for you to worry about your security and wellbeing.

Choosing your lodging carefully is of utmost importance if going back home in one piece is a goal. This is why if you are about to embark on a grand vacation soon, you may be wondering right now which of your various options is the safest: Vrbo, Airbnb or HomeAway.

Making the right choice can help make your trip become memorable and also go as smoothly as possible. On the other hand, making the wrong choice can make your holiday a nightmare!

So, is Vrbo safer than Airbnb and HomeAway? Generally, Vrbo is safer than Airbnb. It’s because of the fact that the entire house is yours. Airbnb, on the other hand, involves sharing the house with other guests whose character or background you have absolutely don’t know. HomeAway has the same safety level as Vrbo because both of them belong to the same management.

This does not mean, however, that you should avoid Airbnb at all costs and adhere to Vrbo and HomeAway each time you step foot outside your hometown to explore the beautiful and expansive world around you.

Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb require their respective hosts to follow certain rules, including most especially those that ensure the safety and protection of their guests.

Later on in this article, we will discuss some of the rules of these different lodging companies, thus allowing you to realize that each one of them is doing its best to keep guests out of harm’s way.

Don’t stop reading now if you are about to take the trip of a lifetime anytime soon and want to have a much better idea if it’s Vrbo or HomeAway that you should pick over Airbnb or vice versa.

Reasons Why More People Choose Vrbo, HomeAway and Airbnb

When traveling, you can always book at a hotel. Before Vrbo, HomeAway and Airbnb came into being, staying at hotels is the primary step taken by travelers so that they have rooms that they can step foot inside between adventures and after the sun has set.

Other than being easily available, hotels also offer sheer convenience. Just about everything that a tourist will need while having a vacation can be provided by a hotel — from ice cubes to a treadmill.

Especially if you are someone who wants a vacation like no other, you may find that staying at a hotel can be a bore. It’s because every stay there is just like the other, making your trip monotonous.

Fortunately, there are companies such as Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb that offer you lodging options aside from a hotel room. Because they allow you to rent an entire home or a room in a house, you can make your time away from home more exciting.

It allows you to immerse yourself so much better in the culture and people of the place you are visiting. And if you choose to rent a room instead of a house, you get to spend time with local and international tourists.

Airbnb, in particular, is an excellent lodging option for those who are traveling on a budget. That’s because they can choose from a wide variety of hosts offering rooms in their respective homes that can cost a fraction of a hotel room.

On the other hand, renting an entire house by means of Vrbo or HomeAway is also a pocket-friendly option for those who are traveling with the entire family or friends.

Because of the perks that we just talked about, it’s no wonder why these days, more and more travelers are choosing Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb over hotels.

Let’s Get to Know These Different Lodging Options First

Just before we discuss some of the reasons why Vrbo or HomeAway may provide you with a much safer lodging option than Airbnb, let us first get to know these different online providers of lodging.

Knowing some important matters about them is a great idea, especially if this is your first time to consider getting their services.

Perhaps you hear or read about Airbnb more than Vrbo or HomeAway. This doesn’t really come as a surprise because of the fact that the company operates in over 81,000 cities and 191 countries across the planet.

At any given time, Airbnb provides more than 5 million spaces that travelers may rent. The company first came into being back in 2008, and it was initially called Air Bed and Breakfast.

However, the following year it was renamed Airbnb. The goal of the company is to connect homeowners or hosts to customers or guests who are looking for budget and short-term accommodation.

If Airbnb allows you to look for a room to rent during your trip easily, Vrbo allows you to search for a house that you can rent. Actually, it’s not just a house that you can find on Vrbo. You can also come across tree houses, barns, yurts, chateaus, and castles!

Vrbo is short for Vacation Rental By Owner, and it came into being many years before Airbnb was born — it was established way back in 1995. The company specializes in rentals of large spaces that can accommodate several people all at once who are usually looking for long-term lodging.

HomeAway, on the other hand, was established in the middle of 2006. It is a vacation rental marketplace. Currently, on its website, it mentions more than 2,000,000 properties in 190 countries that travelers may rent.


Earlier, we mentioned that Vrbo and HomeAway are basically one and the same. That’s because they are under the same management — in 2006, HomeAway acquired Vrbo, thus causing it to be a part of the HomeAway network.

Other companies that belong to the same network include VacationRentals in the US, OwnersDirect in the UK, AlugueTemporada in Brazil, Stayz in Australia, and Bookabach in New Zealand.

Your Safety and Security During Your Stay is a Primary Concern

If you have never rented a house by means of either Vrbo or HomeAway or a room via Airbnb, thinking about giving it a try may leave you wondering about your safety.

When staying at a hotel during your trip, it’s less likely for you to be concerned about your safety and protection throughout your stay there.

That’s because hotels have security guards that ensure that customers are out of harm’s way. Hotels usually have various certain measures, too, such as fire alarms, fire exits, emergency power, security cameras, key card locks, and in-room safes.

Various types of lodgings being offered by hosts via Vrbo, HomeAway and Airbnb, on the other hand, may not have all of the security measures that hotels, especially top-notch ones, have.

This is why no one can really blame you for wondering if you are safe and protected during your stay at a house or room that is available via an online marketplace for arranging accommodation.

If you are staying in a room that you found on Airbnb, chances are the closest to a security guard that you may be able to approach is the host himself or herself. Then there’s also the fact that you will be sharing the house with other guests, some of whom could be sketchy people.

If you are staying at a house that you came across on Vrbo or HomeAway, you are on your own. Except, of course, if what you have rented is a house that comes with its own security guard and various high-tech security devices. You are in trouble if none of those are around, and if the house is located in a bad neighborhood.

There are pros to choosing accommodation via Vrbo, HomeAway, or Airbnb over a hotel room. But then there are also some cons, such as your safety and security.

This is why it’s a good idea for you to read reviews as well as research very well before you decide to opt for lodging that you can find on Vrbo, HomeAway, or Airbnb.

Hosts are Doing Their Share in Keeping Their Guests Out of Harm’s Way

Luckily, Vrbo, HomeAway and Airbnb know for a fact that the protection, as well as the wellbeing of the guests, could be in peril.

It’s for this reason exactly why these companies are enforcing all kinds of rules that hosts should follow. Many of them have something to do with upholding the safety and security of their respective guests.

Here are some of the rules that Vrbo and HomeAway hosts need to follow:

  • Exteriors should have ample lighting to help guests find their way at night. The presence of motion sensor lights outside the home is a plus.
  • Installation of deadbolts or smart locks to ensure that there will be no access to the home except by the guests.
  • A first aid kit has to be available, and the guests should be informed of where it is. If the home is relatively large, it’s a good idea to place two or more first aid kits in various locations.
  • Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers have to be around, especially in high fire risk areas such as the kitchen, around the fireplace, and the spot designated for BBQ.
  • Other than smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors should be around as well.

Let’s check out some of the rules that Airbnb hosts have to abide by:

  • They should inform their guests about local emergency numbers and the nearest medical facility. It’s also a must that they provide their contact details as well as how the guests could communicate with them.
  • First aid kits have to be available and easily accessible, too.
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have to be present.
  • A fully-functioning fire extinguisher should be available. What’s more, there has to be a fire escape route — posted on the home should be a map of where it is.
  • The home should be child-friendly. Informing the parents is a must if there are hazards around.

As you can see, companies such as Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb are doing their part in making sure that the guests are as far away from harm as possible.

Hosts are doing the same by making additional house rules. After all, receiving terrible reviews from guests as a result of compromised safety and security during their stay is bad for the business, and both online lodging marketplaces and their respective hosts are affected.

What You Can Do to Ensure That Nothing Will Happen to You

Just because Vrbo, HomeAway and Airbnb are enforcing rules for the benefit of the guests doesn’t mean that you should not do anything at all when trying to look for affordable or unique accommodation on the web.

Because you are not going to stay at a hotel where just about everything you will need to ensure your utmost protection is available, you should be smart enough to avoid making mistakes that could endanger your safety and security.

Perhaps you have already come across a bunch of online horror stories of Vrbo, HomeAway and Airbnb guests. Well, some of them may have actually happened, while others may just be made up stories for entertainment purposes.

No matter the case, those horror stories that you have read on the internet could happen in real life. More importantly, it could happen to you! This is why you should do everything that you can to ensure that you are going to be out of harm’s way.

The following are some of the things that you should do when trying to look for accommodation via Vrbo, HomeAway, or Airbnb to considerably lower the risk of something bad happening to you while having a vacation:

Make sure that you read as many guest reviews as possible

The more positive reviews the host has, the better. Refrain from being in a hurry when checking out reviews. After all, your safety and security are the ones on the line.

It is also a great idea for you to check out guest reviews that host posts on the website. This will give you an idea of the character and personality of the host.

Read reviews outside the website of Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb

Some guests do not like hurting the feelings of hosts and harming their business, too. This is why some refuse to write negative reviews on their hosts. They do so by not mentioning the unfavorable experiences they had during their stay, or simply by not leaving any review.

There are those who share their bad experiences on their blogs as well as online forums. Consider taking a look at those posts, but do take them with a grain of salt.

Check out as many listings on the web as you possibly can

Shopping around allows you to come across not only the best accommodation that suits your preference and budget, but also lets you find one that is as safe as possible.

Don’t feel too embarrassed to ask the host a lot of questions

As a customer, it is perfectly understandable for you to be inquisitive. Look for a different host if the one you are talking to isn’t friendly, or he or she appears to dodge some of the most important questions that you have.

Read the house rules carefully to have an idea of how safe you are going to be

Earlier, we discussed the rules that Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb have that their respective hosts need to follow. Well, the hosts themselves also have house rules.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to opt for a home whose host has a lot of reasonable house rules. That’s because it is usually for the benefit of all the guests.

Spend some time researching the location

In some instances, the home, host, and other guests are not the ones that can put you in some form of danger while traveling. There are times in which it is the neighborhood itself that can put you in peril.

This is why you should use Google to learn more about the area. Make sure that you look into the local news and crime rate.

Get the recommendations of your family members and friends

Perhaps you have aunts, cousins, or best friends who like to travel and obtain accommodation via Vrbo, HomeAway, or Airbnb. It’s a good idea for you to get in touch with some of them and see if there are those who have already vacationed in the city or country you are about to visit.

If so, ask them which guests in the area they put their trust in. They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Just Before You Go and Book on Vrbo, HomeAway or Airbnb

Yes, it’s true that earlier in this article, we mentioned that compared to Airbnb, Vrbo — and HomeAway, too, because it’s the same company as Vrbo — is a safer choice.

That’s because you have the house all to yourself, unlike when renting a room in a house where there are other guests.

We can safely assume this not because of statistical evidence because there is none, but according to circumstantial possibilities — your risk of being in some form of danger is higher if you’re with strangers whose characters or backgrounds you don’t know.

This does not mean, however, that Airbnb is not safe. Just like what we’ve discussed above, Airbnb has rules that their hosts should follow to ensure the safety and protection of the guests.

What you need to do in order to enjoy accommodation that won’t put you in danger is follow the tips above on how to ensure that nothing bad will happen to you when obtaining lodging by means of Vrbo, HomeAway or Airbnb.

Happy and safe travel!

Reed Harris

Reed is a traveler and blogger. He's planning to visit all states in the USA. He's been in 31 states so far.

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