VRBO Palm Springs

Tips for Finding the Best Palm Springs VRBo Rentals... And Potentially save money When booking

VRBO palm springs imageFor many years, vrbo.com was the most popular listing site for Palm Springs vacation rentals. VRBO (which stands for "Vacation Rentals by Owner") traditionally has had nearly 100% of the roughly 2000 registered Palm Springs vacation rentals listed.


This may be changing somewhat as consumer preferences shift toward competitive VR listing platforms such as Airbnb. Additionally, some owners and vacation renters have become disenchanted with VRBO (and its sister site, HomeAway) since those sites started charging guests a booking fee.


However, you can still find most rental homes—regardless of whether they're owner-operated or managed by a property management company—on VRBO.com.


Using VRBO to find Your Vacation Home Rental in Palm Springs

Since there are so many listings (and, Elrod Villa lists there too, see https://www.vrbo.com/127392), there are a couple of tips that can be very helpful to narrow down your search. While VRBO doesn't support searching by keywords (which is unfortunate if you're looking for "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" checkbox 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 set strict about occupancy limits, which are set as twice the number of bedrooms. If you don't include this info in your search and booking requests, you risk wasting time with places that can't legally host you and your group.

  3. "Instant Book" helpful or not? Searching only for properties with instant booking can limit your choices in an unhelpful way. 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, the majority of VRBOs in Palm Springs don't use the "Instant Book" feature. I recommend making sure this option is OFF.

  4. Use the "More Filters" section to select only those homes with options such as a pool, outdoor grilling, and a lot more.


How to Save Money on Your Palm Springs VRBO

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


I know this sounds ironic. The "by owner" part of "VRBO" makes is sound like you are renting directly. However, now that VRBO is charging a booking fee—and hiding the owner or manager's direct phone number and email until after you book, you're not actually dealing directly with the vacation rental owner.


So here's a tip:


If the home has a "branded name" in its listing, it's likely to be directly bookable. The easiest thing to do is to simply type that name into Google (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. (You might also want to add "Palm Springs" to that name if it's too generic, of course.)


Alternatively, if the VRBO listing shows a "Property Manager" rather than an "Owner"  the property may be part of a portfolio of vacation rental houses managed by a property management company. You may be able to find direct booking information for those homes by Googling the name of the property management company. (Recently, it looks to me like VRBO/HomeAway has been experimenting with hiding property management company names, so I'm not certain that the vacation rental company name is always shown.)


Use the information you find from your Google search 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. VRBO adds on a pretty hefty "booking fee," which can be higher than 10%. Property managers and owners won't charge you a booking fee if you book direct!

  2. Many owners offer reduced prices for direct booking as well. For example, our VRBO rates are usually several dollars higher per night than on our direct booking site.

  3. You may get better payment terms: Some managers on VRBO will collects the entire cost of your reservation up front on listing sites, but give you better terms if you book direct. For example, many Palm Springs vacation rentals 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 VRBO Listings for Vacation Rentals in Palm Springs

If you do rent a home via VRBO (or HomeAway, 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 in Palm Springs:


Vacation Rental Contract Required

The city's rules requires managers to execute a separate, signed rental agreement with you. 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 only one car per bedroom under the current Palm Springs vacation rental ordinance.)


Vacation Renter Minimum Age in Palm Springs

Also, if you're under the age of 25, Palm Springs VRBO homes won't be able to rent to you. The "responsible guest" (the person who signs the vacation 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 events in and around Palm Springs.


More info about Booking Your Palm Springs Vacation Rental Stay

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