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Save Money Renting A Vacation Home

Several months ago I wrote an article about the so-called Craigslist Vacation Rental Scam.  The article highlighted the risk of renting a vacation home long distance.  This year we planned to take our family vacation in Key West Florida and wanted to rent a vacation home instead of a hotel room.  This was my first experience with a vacation home rental.  I have rented timeshare properties but never a private home before.

Keywestpic2 We decided to use the website Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO).  We did some searching and found a wonderful 3 bedroom 3 bath house in Key West for less than the cost of most hotels for the same number of days.  We paid $1,380 for the 7 days at a home located just 10 minutes from Duval Street in Key West. 

Since our children are older, this gave them the ability to have their own rooms with TV’s and their own bathrooms as well.  Although there are just five of us, the house we are renting could have easily accommodated 8 to 10 people.  One of the major savings was having our own kitchen.  We have been eating out only once per day, buying our own groceries, and preparing most of our meals.  The house also has a washer and dryer as well.  The complex that we are staying in is gated with a private swimming pool, clubhouse, and fitness center. 

How To Protect Yourself When Renting A Vacation Home

When renting a vacation home it is imperative that you pay for your rental with a credit card or Pay Pal.  This gives you a layer of protection if the rental turns out to be a scam.  Sites like VRBO are a simply a network connecting renters and owners and do not guarantee your rental.  As a renter, you are required to pay the owner directly.  Using a credit card for your rental is your best protection.  The only exception I would make to this would be if you are paying a licensed Realtor.  If the property is represented by a licensed real estate company (and you can officially verify that) you should be able to count on the legitimacy of the transaction.  Nonetheless, still paying with a credit card would be even more protection.


One of the other features at VRBO is user comments and ratings for each property.  A property with multiple good reviews  is another level of assurance that you have about the legitimacy and quality of the rental.

National Vacation Rental Services

Vacation Home Rentals.Com

Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO)

Vacation Rentals.Com

Home Away.Com

All Star Vacation Homes


Having never used VRBO I can only say that we are thrilled at how our vacation rental worked out in Key West.  Not only did we save money, but we got far more value than we would have renting a hotel.  If you have rented a vacation home and would like to share your experience, please use the comment section below.  The best comment this week will receive a $50 gift certificate for use at my online store.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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