Maui is, no doubt, one of the most popular destinations in Hawaii for a holiday. The island offers a wealth of beautiful attractions and exciting things for visitors to do. And when it comes to the best places to stay in Maui, a vacation rental is definitely the way to go. When you stay at a Maui vacation rental, you can enjoy affordability while being able to spend your holiday in comfort and luxury. These vacation rentals are perfect for families and large groups traveling together since they offer extra space, multiple bedrooms, and bathrooms, not to mention the option to cook your meals, making you feel right at home.

When booking a Hawaii vacation rental, most people would head to Vrbo and Airbnb. These are the two most popular platforms for booking vacation rentals in various places around the world. While these platforms can offer great choices, they tend to charge a lot of extra fees. So instead of saving money, you could end up paying more for your vacation rental in Maui. Thankfully, there are some ways to avoid paying the Vrbo and Airbnb service fees and help you save money for your holiday.

What Are Vrbo and Airbnb Service Fees?

Vrbo and Airbnb offer services to both the vacation rental owners and the guests. These websites serve as a platform for vacation rental owners to list their property for rent. Most travelers looking to stay at a vacation rental in Maui will use these websites to book their accommodations.

To provide continued services to the property owners and guests, Vrbo and Airbnb need to earn some money, and this is why they charge a service fee. The service fees that these big companies charge will go directly to them. Both the property owners and guests who are using these websites will pay the service fees.

So how are these services fees calculated? According to Vrbo, the service fee is a percentage of the total cost of reservation without taxes and other added fees. Generally, the higher the reservation cost, the lower the percentage of the service fee. In addition, a value-added tax may be charged on the service fee depending on the local laws and regulations.

Airbnb calculates the service fees based on the subtotal of the reservation, which includes the nightly rate, cleaning fees, and other additional guest fees. Just like with Vrbo, they do not factor in the taxes in computing these fees. Property owners have to pay one of the two service fees that Airbnb charges. But most hosts will share the cost with their guests. For larger hosts that qualify as hospitality businesses, Airbnb will only charge a “host-only” fee. Either way, the company collects the fees automatically, so hosts need not pay them separately.

How To Avoid Paying the Service Fees?

The service fees that Vrbo and Airbnb are charging to guests could cost a lot of money. For a Maui vacation rental that’s worth $1,000, you can expect to pay almost $200 for the service fees. Not only that, but guests also need to pay the cleaning fees and occupancy taxes and fees. As a result, you could end up paying almost $1,500 to book a vacation rental that’s supposed to cost only $1,000. Because of this, a lot of guests are wondering how they can avoid paying such exorbitant fees.

The best way to avoid the service fees of Vrbo and Airbnb is not to use the platform when booking your vacation rental in Maui. There are plenty of other platforms out there with much lower fees.  If you book directly from, you could save as much as 14% for service fees. Not only that, but you can also avail of their exclusive offers and special rental discounts and deals, something that Vrbo and Airbnb do not offer. When you make a booking, you only pay for the housekeeping fee and the tax on top of the overall reservation cost. You will not be paying any other fees. Thus, you could save more money, unlike when you book through Vrbo and Airbnb.

Other Ways to Save Money on Your Maui Vacation Rentals

The cost of accommodations could eat up a big part of your travel budget. If you want to lower your travel expenses, you should find ways to save money in booking your vacation rentals in Maui. Aside from not using Vrbo and Airbnb to avoid the expensive service fees, try to book your rentals as early as possible. On average, vacation rentals are much cheaper when booked as early as 90 days ahead of your trip. Also, the earlier you book, the more options you will have. Remember, Maui is a popular holiday destination, and vacation rental properties are always in high demand. If you don’t book early, you will have no choice but to pay for the higher cost.

Another way you can save money is to take advantage of last-minute deals. Although booking earlier will give you plenty of options, sometimes, you can get lucky by waiting until the last minute. That’s because some property owners would be more willing to negotiate on the cost of their rental home so it will not be unoccupied.

If your travel date is flexible, another way you can save money is to travel during off-peak season. The off-season on Maui is from September to November, right before Thanksgiving. During this time, summer crowds start to dissolve as the island prepares to welcome a new season. One of the benefits of traveling to Maui during the off-season is that everything comes at lower prices, from airfare to vacation rentals. Since the demand for vacation rentals during this time is pretty low, property owners would lure travelers by offering vacation rental deals, so take advantage of these.

Vrbo and Airbnb are great platforms to use in booking your vacation rental in Maui. But the convenience that it offers comes at an extra cost. If you’re trying to save money on your holiday, you have several other options. You can book directly from to avoid paying the service fees and take advantage of the special deals.