The Complete Guide to FlipKey

FlipKey connects travelers and vacation rental owners, backed by Tripadvisor.
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Written by Anya Kartashova
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Edited by Meghan Coyle
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As travelers, we match our accommodation to our travel styles. Solo travelers might opt for a shared dorm at a hostel. Couples or small families might find more comfort in a hotel room. However, large families or groups of friends might prefer sharing the space of a vacation rental.

Several vacation rental marketplaces have popped up on the internet in the last two decades beyond Airbnb and Vrbo, and FlipKey is one of them. If you need to book a vacation home, here’s everything you need to know about FlipKey rentals.

What is FlipKey?

FlipKey is an online vacation rental marketplace offering more than 830,000 properties for rent all over the world. It was founded in 2007 and is now part of the Tripadvisor Rentals network.

No matter what kind of a vacation you have in mind, FlipKey rentals include options for city dwellers, beach bums and mountain enthusiasts alike.

How does FlipKey work?

FlipKey is quite similar to other short-term vacation rental websites you might be familiar with, such as Airbnb, Vacasa and Vrbo. FlipKey is not a travel agency and doesn’t own any of the vacation rentals listed on its platform.

It’s simply a venue that allows property owners to list their home for potential renters. When you book FlipKey vacation rentals, you’re dealing directly with a host.

How to search for vacation rentals on FlipKey

To search for a property, begin on the website’s homepage and enter your travel destination and dates.

Once the search results are displayed, you can view them as a list or on a map. Say you want to visit Maine’s Acadia National Park in August and you want to stay on Mount Desert Island. You can zoom in on the map to include that specific area only and view the results that way.

For travelers with a specific budget in mind, there’s an option to limit the nightly cost.

If you’re looking for a specific rental type, such as a cottage, lodge, condo or log cabin, you can set your filters to narrow your search to those types of properties only. It’s also possible to filter results to include the following:

  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms if you have a large group.

  • Amenities, such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning or a swimming pool.

  • Suitability, such as pets allowed, parking or smoking/nonsmoking.

  • Activities.

Once you filter out the rentals that don’t fit your parameters, you can sort the list of shown properties by relevance, price and number of guest reviews.

It’s also possible to change your currency from U.S. dollars to euros, British pounds sterling, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars and several other options.

FlipKey fees

While browsing available listings, the prices you’ll see are the nightly rental costs. Once you click on a FlipKey vacation rental you like, you’ll be shown the total price, including tax as well as booking and owner fees.

The owner fees can include cleaning fees and equipment use fees, like bike or kayak rentals, and go directly to the owner.

The booking fee generally ranges from 8% to 16% of the total booking value (excluding taxes) and goes directly to FlipKey. The property managers or owners also pay 3% of the booking cost to the platform, and that’s another way FlipKey makes money.

What is FlipKey’s cancellation policy?

The cooling-off period

Similar to airlines, FlipKey allows you to cancel a booking within 24 hours of the host accepting a booking request, or of you sending a payment, and get 100% of your money back.

The cooling-off period doesn’t apply to stays within 60 days of booking. Once your booking is confirmed and the 24-hour cooling-off period passes, the rental’s standard cancellation policy applies.

Beyond 24 hours

Aside from the 24-hour cooling-off period, FlipKey itself doesn’t apply any cancellation policies to the listings on its website; the hosts do. The cancellation policies range from relaxed to super strict and vary in terms.

In some cases, you’ll be charged nothing as long as you cancel up to two weeks before arrival. In other cases, you’ll be charged 100% even if you cancel in advance.

What is Tripadvisor Payment Protection?

Some listings will display the green Tripadvisor Payment Protection logo. It means that FlipKey will offer a full refund if you’re denied access to a booked and paid-for rental or if the property is misrepresented.

Other covered circumstances include fraudulent advertisement, in which case the host doesn’t actually own or manage the property that you booked, or compromised owner, in which case the host’s personal information, such as email address, has been compromised.

The maximum coverage limit is $10,000, 7,000 euros or 7,000 pounds sterling, depending on the currency in which you paid for the booking. You must send the payment through the FlipKey platform for the payment protection to apply.

To make a claim, you must call 1-844-558-6015 no later than the first day of your rental period and then submit a claim by email at [email protected] within 14 days.

If a listing doesn’t display the Tripadvisor Payment Protection, it isn’t covered by this benefit.

FlipKey vacation rentals recapped

FlipKey is a short-term vacation rental platform that connects travelers and vacation home owners.

As a subsidiary of Tripadvisor, it’s a legitimate site that offers a payment protection feature to guests and charges hosts a small fee to list their rental. If you’re looking to rent a vacation home, FlipKey is worth considering.

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