Airbnb for Palm Springs Vacation Rentals

Helpful Hints for Finding the Best Palm Springs Airbnbs... And Possibly saving money on your booking

airbnb palm springs imageUpdated October 24, 2017


As of October 2017, there are about 2000 vacation rental houses in Palm Springs... and nearly all of them can be found on Airbnb.


While Airbnb certainly didn't invent vacation rentals and "homesharing" as a class of tourist accommodations, the service has definitely helped popularize the idea of renting a house for a short-term stay, rather than staying in a traditional hotel.


The vast majority of VRs in Palm Springs—regardless of whether they're owner-operated or managed by a property management company—now have listings on This didn't used to be the case, but the incredible popularity of Airbnb has made it an extremely important place for vacation rentals to be found.


Using Airbnb to find Your Home-Away-from-Home in Palm Springs

Since there are so many listings there (and, of course, Elrod Villa is among them, see, there are a couple of tips that can be very helpful to narrow down your search. While Airbnb doesn't let you search listings by keywords (which is a bummer if you're looking for, say, "midcentury modern" properties or "historic" homes), you can customize your search in several helpful ways:


  1. You can use the map view and "search as I move the map" feature to zoom in on your desired part of Palm Springs. For example, many of the mid-century modern homes (Alexanders, Wexlers and the like) are found in the Racquet Club neighborhood at the north end of town.

  2. Enter an accurate number of guests: Palm Springs vacation rental rules are very strict about occupancy limits, which are set as 2x the number of bedrooms. If you don't include this info in your search and booking requests, you risk wasting time with places that literally can't host you and your group.

  3. Of course you can also narrow things down by price range, but be aware that, due to the way that Airbnb handles taxes in Palm Springs, you may wind up comparing apples and oranges (read on for why this is).

  4. Searching only for "Instant Book" properties may unduly limit your options. Note that vacation rentals in Palm Springs are subject to very strict rules and these include executing a signed rental agreement with the guest. As a result, many Palm Springs properties don't use features like "Instant Book."

    Additionally, the City of Palm Springs Vacation Rental Ordinance now requires managers to submit a "contract summary" prior to a guest's check-in date. Some Palm Springs Airbnb hosts have disabled Instant Booking for their properties in order to ensure they can meet this requirement.

  5. Use the "More Filters" section to select only those homes with "private pool," Superhost status, and a lot more.


Here's a Trick for Saving Money on Your Booking if You're Using Airbnb

Airbnb is great for finding Palm Springs vacation houses, and it can be easy to use for booking, but here's something to consider: Lots of Palm Springs rentals can be booked directly—either via the property manager's website/phone number, or the home's dedicated direct booking website (like the one you're on right now)!


If the home has a "branded name" in its listing, it's very likely to be directly bookable. The easiest thing to do is to simply Google that name (here's an example using Elrod Villa). You will likely find the home's direct booking site in the search results (which won't necessarily be the first search result), or in the Google Business listing that will also appear.


Alternatively, if the "Host" (see the "The Host" section of the listing) is a branded name, that means the property is part of a portfolio of vacation rental houses managed by a property management company. You can find direct booking information for those homes by Googling the name of the property management company.


Use the information you find there to contact the host or manager directly! This can save you a substantial amount of money on your vacation rental booking. Here's how:


  1. Airbnb tacks on a pretty hefty "booking fee," which can be on the order of 10%. Property managers and owners won't charge you a booking fee if you book direct!

  2. Some owners offer even slightly reduced prices for direct booking as well. For example, our Airbnb rates are usually a few dollars higher per night than on our direct booking site.

  3. You may get better payment terms: Airbnb collects the entire fee for your reservation up front. But many Palm Springs vacation rentals don't require that! Many of them require only 50% paid up front to reserve and then the balance due about 30 days before your check-in.

Other Things to Know About Airbnb Listings for Vacation Rentals in Palm Springs

If you do book a place via Airbnb (or another similar listing site) you're typically not-quite-done. Regardless of whether you  choose to book direct or via a listing site, there's another step you'll typically have to go through to complete your reservation:


Signed Rental Agreement Required

In Palm Springs, the city to requires hosts to execute a separate, signed rental agreement. That agreement will usually require your contact information, the names (and possibly ages) of all guests and will likely also ask for information about the vehicles you are bringing. (Because parking is limited to one car per bedroom under the current Palm Springs vacation rental ordinance.)


Palm Springs Transient Occupancy Tax and Airbnb

Additionally, Airbnb (due to technical limitations in their vacation rental platform at present) does not properly compute City of Palm Springs Transient Occupancy Tax (at 11.5% of rent and required fees, such as cleaning fees). Different Airbnb hosts handle this in different ways. Some hosts include an 11.5% tax markup in their rental rates, others will note that you'll be billed separately for tax (which they are required to collect in Palm Springs) separately. See the details or "House Rules" section of their Airbnb listings for details.


As it is currently, Airbnb does not automatically collect and remit transient occupancy taxes for the City of Palm Springs—hosts do this on their own on a monthly basis. (So, just don't be surprised by this!)


Minimum Age for Palm Springs Vacation Renters

Also, if you're under the age of 25, Palm Springs Airbnb hosts won't be able to rent to you. The "responsible guest" (the person who signs the rental agreement) must be at least 25 years of age. This doesn't mean that all guests have to be 25 or older, just that the primary renter must be. This is sometimes an issue for festival season bookings around Coachella, Stagecoach, Splash House and other popular festival season events in and around Palm Springs.


More info about Booking Your Palm Springs Vacation Rental Stay

For more information on finding and booking a vacation rental in Palm Springs, see our article, "Vacation Rentals in Palm Springs: Helpful Information for the Savvy Traveler."