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It’s no big secret that Florida is the vacation rental center of the US. From the coasts and the Keys to Cinderella’s castle, the Sunshine State attractions millions of travelers each year. To help you plan your next Florida trip, we’ve rounded up 13 of the most popular Florida vacation spots this year, based on FlipKey rental bookings. Some are Florida stalwarts, delivering precious sunshine to millions of visitors each year, while others are gathering steam as a new wave of popular locales. Which is giving you serious wanderlust? Let us know in the comments below!

#13 | Haines City, Florida

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Pristine golf courses and overflowing orange groves are quintessential Florida, and both can be found in abundance in Haines City. Nicknamed “The Heart of Florida”, Haines City offers a needed break from the action (and cost!) of nearby Orlando.

See all Haines City rentals

#12 | Miramar Beach, Florida

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Romance abounds in Miramar Beach. Book a tandem massage at a world-class spa, or enjoy the peaceful solitude of a hike with your partner in Grayton Beach State Park. And if you feel like some Vitamin Sea? Soak up the rays together on the sugar white sands of Miramar Beach while you apply (and reapply) sunscreen.

See all Miramar Beach rentals

#11 | Four Corners, Florida

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Four Corners, also known as Citrus Ridge, is a residential and short-term rental community located within 15 mins of the Disney parks. This full-service neighborhood has a grocery store, banks, and even restaurants with 24/7 takeout for those late-night cravings.

See all Four Corners rentals

#10 | Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Boasting more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches. Explore the vast number of culinary, arts and cultural must-sees and must-dos including a stroll down chic shopping street Las Olas Boulevard (aka the Style Mile!).

See all Fort Lauderdale rentals

#9 | Miami Beach, Florida

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Miami Beach needs no introduction. High-end shopping, art deco architecture, and of course, sizzling South Beach make Miami one of the top vacation destinations in Florida this year and every year. But you already knew that, right?

See all Miami Beach rentals

#8 | Clermont, Florida

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For those looking to experience the world-famous theme parks and”Old World Florida” (think rolling orange groves and artfully designed communities), visit comfortable, quiet Clermont. For a unique way to see the city, climb the 226-foot Florida Citrus Tower. This attraction offers a 360-degree view of Florida’s beautiful green hills at the top of a glass observation deck.

See all Clermont rentals

#7 | Cape Coral, Florida

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Situated along the banks of southwest Florida, Cape Coral is home to hundreds of miles of turquoise-blue canals that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. For some family fun, play on the beach or at the Sun Splash Family Waterpark. You can also venture further afield, with easy day trips from Cape Coral including Fort Myers (for Red Sox spring training) or the Everglades (for an adrenaline-pumping ride on a fan boat).

See all Cape Coral rentals

#6 | Daytona Beach, Florida

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Have a need for speed? Come to Daytona Beach. With a seating capacity of almost 170,000, Daytona International Speedway hosts some of the biggest auto races in the country throughout the year. After that? It’s Bike Week when everyone in town sits astride their favorite motorcycle.

See all Daytona Beach rentals

#5 | Destin, Florida

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Destin is a world-class beach and fishing resort community located in the Florida panhandle. A classic beach destination, Destin welcomes millions of families every year for summer vacation. Looking for an oceanfront rental in Destin? FlipKey has a rental for every budget and taste.

See all Destin rentals

#4 | Panama City Beach, Florida

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With its trademark white sand and warm Gulf waters, PCB attracts everyone from spring breakers to retirees, singles to families. As a result, Panama City offers a range of activities for all ages and interests. From deep sea fishing excursions to a day out on Shell Island, there’s something for everyone here (and then some!).

See all Panama City Beach rentals

#3 | Orlando, Florida

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If you haven’t been to Orlando to see Disney World, Universal Studios, and the other surrounding parks, what are you waiting for? Many vacation homes in the Orlando area are within a short 15-minute drive to the parks, and offer luxuries for kids and adults. Enjoy space, your own private swimming pool and more with FlipKey.

See all Orlando rentals

#2 | Davenport, Florida

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Just 35 miles south of Orlando, Davenport offers easy access to the theme parks in a more affordable setting. Davenport is known for its golf and its lakes, both of which offer a chance to enjoy the sunshine. This area becomes the star of Central Florida in late winter during the Strawberry Festival (February), and the Wine Festival (March).

See all Davenport rentals

#1 | Kissimmee, Florida

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Go-kart racing, miniature golf, water parks and adventure sports… Kissimmee offers family-oriented activities you’re sure to love. Kissimmee Lakefront Park features a playground and splash park for kids, BBQ grills for a cookout, and fishing piers. Plus,in Old Town Kissimmee you’ll find a classic car cruise through the city streets, accompanied by a live band every Saturday night.

See all Kissimmee rentals

The Millennial Generation—a group of people between the ages of 18 and 34, also known as Gen Y, many of whom really love their cell phones and social media pages—makes up 31% of the leisure-travel market. Boom. Now that this generation is becoming gainfully employed, the millennials are the group that vacation rental owners and managers really ought to attract.

When determining a particular type of lodging—whether traditional forms like hotels and resorts, or something new like a vacation rental—millennials are considering factors such security, rewards, and cost. But millennials are also considering more alternative, private accommodations that provide a local and culturally satisfying experience. Promoting certain amenities will be a large part of the effort to attract millennial travelers.

So here is a list of a few amenities you might want to consider if you haven’t added them to your page already.

  1. Free Wi-Fi

I don’t want to be Captain Obvious, but the internet does everything now. Wi-Fi is among the most desired amenities for travelers of nearly any age (right up there with clean linens). However it is especially useful for the younger traveller who has switched from guidebooks to internet bloggers and forums to learn about an area and what to do. Families stream movies and TV from the internet. Business travelers need to get online easily.

And yet it isn’t just for the benefit of the guest. Switching to a more mobile-forward generation can help you out too: Check-ins and –outs can be done online; you can initiate wi-fi operated locking systems; and listing free wi-fi as an amenity could seriously help your chances of getting booked.

  1. Some grab-and-go breakfast items:

Hotels have continental breakfast and boutique lodgings often include some sort of breakfast. There’s no need to overthink this one, but providing a couple granola bars could be a good idea if only to make one less thing for the guest to worry about as they begin the day of adventures.

  1. A Book Shelf to Browse

A bookshelf demonstrates a respect for the mind and shows what’s interesting about the person who owns them. If you’re not a big reader, there’s no need to go out and buy a bunch of books. But if you do have a bookshelf that you’re okay with guests browsing, try promoting it on your listing page and website and see what results come about.

  1. Basic Toiletries

When booking cheap flights, the difference between just a carry on versus a checked bag can be some significant cash. For guests traveling to you on airplanes, providing some shampoo and body wash can make a big difference for them at a fairly low cost for you.

  1. Pet-friendly

Until the Silicon Valley disrupts Doggie Daycare, young travelers have the problem of not knowing what to do with their furry friends. Statistics show that millennials are adding pets to their families and putting a hold on having children. Of course, whether you allow cats and dogs may have more to do with your building’s restrictions. But if your building doesn’t bar the “fur children,” you might want to consider allowing pets to stay with your guests.

  1. Rethinking the Kitchen

Access to a kitchen might very well be the greatest amenity for any leisure traveller, but if you’re just renting out a room in an otherwise full house—make sure there is room for your guests to store some groceries. It can be really awkward to ask for help from a stranger to store food without feeling like a burden.

Another amenity you may want to consider adding to your kitchen: the classic, brown paper lunch bags. Picnics are coming back in style from the days of middle school field trips and eating out can be so expensive these days. But why would a traveller buy 80-some brown paper lunch bags if they’re just in town for a weekend? According to a report in Visit Milwaukee, millennials are 62% more likely to add a vacation day to a business trip. What can we learn from this? It would seem the guests hope to go do some site-seeing, but most likely are no longer spending on their company’s dollar. Having the option to pack a lunch could allow for a day to roam the city and have a picnic someplace without the cost of eating out. Paper bags are a good idea for families too who’d like to get outside for a hike or hang out at the beach.

With these 6 revisions to your amenities list, expect to get more inquiries from the younger generation of travelers who are bound to become the next major players for the travel industry.

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Matt Potter is a marketing specialist for WebChalet.com. WebChalet is bringing a hotel-like booking experience to the vacation rental industry by empowering small businesses. Vacation rental owners and managers benefit from our dedicated reservation team answering inquiries 7 days per week, a powerful booking engine, and a unique marketing platform.

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What better resource than Twitter to help you and your family or friends plan an unforgettable vacation or trip? With trillions of travel photos, videos and tweets on Twitter, it might seem like a daunting task to narrow all of that information down. Up to that task, I have provided some of the best accounts that you might not be aware of from people, news organizations and locations that you MUST follow!

People

Anthony Bourdain – @Bourdain

The KING of travel. After spanning the globe many times, Anthony Bourdain has seen it all and traveled everywhere.

Rick Steves – @RickSteves

Not only is he an author, TV host and blog writer, Rick Steves is the “unofficial” expert on European trips.

Heather Poole – @Heather_Poole

Check out this flight attendant and author’s twitter for tales from the sky. No shortage of crew drama, flying frustrations and crazy passengers here!

Chris & Tawny – @CaptainandClark

A couple who met on Mount Killmanjaro and topped that by getting engaged at the Taj Mahal, they show that love makes traveling a bit more special.

Jeannie Mark – @nomadicchick

When you travel, the most important thing to do is to share photos, tips and videos, which Jeannie shines at!

Brett Snyder – @crankyflier

With more and more airplane drama showing up in the news, follow this Twitter account for great flying tips, tricks and flying deals.

Chris Owen – @OrlandoChris

Chris provides great insight to any cruise related vacation or journey you are planning.

Rick and Sandi – @MidlifeRoadTrip

What better way to have a mid-life crisis than by traveling? Also, join them every Tuesday for their Twitter chat about travel, food and adventures!

Lee Abbamonte – @LeeAbbamonte

Dubbed as “youngest American to visit every country”, Lee’s experiences and travels never seem to end.

Johnny Jet – @JohnnyJet

With the last name of Jet, it is no surprise that this guy visits about 20 countries (on average) each year. Also, he shares some great travel deals!

Photos, News & Deals

Earth Pics – @Earth_Pics

Visiting a popular tourist destination? Going off the beaten bath? Check out, or tweet your own, photos from around the world.

JD Andrews – @earthXplorer

Award winning photographer and videographer JD shares some amazing photos and videos he has taken during his travels.

The Localist – @LocalistTravel

Get up to date news and culture information from locals. There is no better information that when it comes from the people who know the area best.

Independent Traveler – @TravelEditor

Tweeting out informative tips, tricks and photos, Independent Traveler is a must follow on Twitter!

Budget Travel – @BudgetTravel

Believing that amazing vacations are accessible to all, Budget Travel provides great tips, photos and deals to help you plan an amazing journey.

A Luxury Travel Blog – @luxury__travel

Want to live in the lap of luxury? Get some amazing location, food and places to stay tips here.

WorldHum – @worldhum

Hosting a great collection of tweets ranging from beautiful travelers in China to a “not usually seen” side to the Mexico’s nightlife, this Twitter account really pulls back the curtains on travel.

Lastminute.com – @lastminute_com

Suddenly have a nice long weekend on your hands? Get some very last minute deals from this account.

Travelbite Team – @Travelbite

Need a great travel idea and are serious about travel? This Twitter account is perfect for you.

NY Times Travel – @nytimestravel

Leading the way with travel news and features from all over.

Locations

Rio 2016 – @Rio2016_en

Even though the 2016 Summer Games are over a year away, you can get all the updates for the games right here!

WhyGo – @WhyGo

With great travel guides for a number of cities, you can’t go wrong with any tweets from this account.

Goteborg/Gothenburg – @goteborgcom

This amazing Swedish city on the west coast is where I spent my year abroad while in Sweden. With a great culture, plenty of places to see and things to eat, Gothenburg is a city that no one should pass up.

Lake Placid – @LakePlacidADK

Located in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York, Lake Placid boasts not only a fascinating history, but tons of fun activities and places to visit.

Foliage Central – @foliagecentral

The essential fall foliage one-stop account for coverage of fall in New England.

The Good Pub Guide – @GoodPubGuide

If you live in the UK or are planning a trip there, follow this account for daily recommendations of the best pubs and beers in the UK.

Best Bars – @BestBarsESQ

Similar to our UK travelers, but for American travelers! Check out their recommendations.

Abandoned – @abandonedpics

May it be on a local, national or international scale, everyone is interested in abandoned places. Use the photos as inspiration for your next trip!

50 Shades of Travel – @50travel

Documenting photos, recipes, stories and experiences from traveling across Asia.

 

Save up to 45% by Visiting Vacation Destinations this September, October, and November

We’re happy to announce the top five destinations to visit during the fall 2014 shoulder season – the time between high and low travel seasons – when travelers can save money on a vacation rental.  Basing our findings on the nightly price for properties on our website, we uncovered that travelers can save tons by visiting during the months of September, October, and November while also experiencing less crowds.

“Prices begin to plummet after Labor Day and not only can you find great deals during the shoulder season, but the amount of vacationers is substantially less. You might end up having the beach all to yourself”, said Eric Horndahl, FlipKey’s Vice President of Marketing. “Myrtle Beach is our number one pick for shoulder season travel this fall, where you’re still looking at temperatures in the low 80s during September, which is plenty warm for sun, sand and beach activities.”

According to our data, the following five destinations are the best spots to visit during the 2014 fall shoulder season to save money on a vacation rental:

  1. Myrtle Beach, SC: Save up to 43% (Shoulder season average is $104 per night compared to $182 during high season).
  2. Hamptons, NY (the South Fork of Long Island): Save nearly 30% (Shoulder season average is $584 per night compared to $809 during high season).
  3. Charleston, SC: Save up to 20%. (Shoulder season average is $250 per night compared to $311 during high season).
  4. Hilton Head, SC: Save up to 15%. (Shoulder season average is $230 per night compared to $270 during high season).
  5. Catskills, NY (Southeast New York State): Save up to 11%. (Shoulder season average is $297 compared to $334 during high season).

In addition to savings, the less-crowded shoulder season means more access to popular restaurants, shorter lines to local attractions, and less-packed beaches.

Between the annoying hidden fees, exorbitant food costs, and suspect cleanliness (not to mention the scarce availability in remote locations) staying in a hotel can be a real pain. Instead, choose a vacation rental to ease some of that heartache. Take a look below at some key areas where a vacation rental would be a smart, preferred alternative to a hotel.

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As the World Cup kicked off in Rio last week we’ve seen a major spike in both demand and supply in Brazilian host cities for vacation rentals.

Here’s a gallery of some incredible properties in Brazilian host cities available on FlipKey for the World Cup:

Despite the tragic events last year (and in spite of those same events), the Boston Marathon is more popular than ever in 2014, and this is leading to a huge demand for rentals in Boston proper and the surrounding towns as hotel availability has been full for months. Loews Hotel in the Back Bay (right near the marathon finish line) has been full since November 2013. An estimate of 36,000 runners, along with their friends and family, are looking for affordable (and available) places to stay for the race, which is why they are turning to rentals in full force.

Now that the calendar has turned into 2014, you should really be thinking about your summer vacation plans. Everyone else is. There’s no reason to wait until some “later” in the future to book your vacation. Vacation rentals are filling up now. Don’t miss out! Your ideal place might not be available if you continue to put off the booking process. We pulled some data from our site to look into the actual volume of bookings for June, July, and August to date. Here’s what we found…

Updated 1/29/14

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Super Bowl XLVIII seems to be stirring up breaking news and unfortunate controversy nearly every week. This week was no different either. Three new stories emerged that showed the opportunities, and the possible issues, that face the year’s biggest sporting event in the United States.

Story #1 – There will be no tailgating at the Super Bowl. Also, no black cars or taxis to the Super Bowl (aka no drop offs), if you have a car, it needs to be parked there the entire game.

In a recent interview with USA TODAY, renowned travel publishers Arthur and Pauline Frommer called vacation rentals the “single strongest trend in recent years.” Here’s what they told travel writer Candyce H. Stapen:

What are some travel trends?

Arthur: The single strongest trend in recent years that people are substituting apartment rentals and vacation home rentals for hotel rooms. Travelers are contacting local rental agencies, and sites like FlipKey and Airbnb.

Pauline: Staying in a home instead of a hotel gives you a more authentic experience and it’s often cheaper than a hotel stay.

Arthur and Pauline are both exactly right. According to Skift, U.S. travelers spent $23 billion on vacation rentals in 2012 alone. That is equal to 7% of the U.S. travel market and 20% of the lodging market. It may seem like a small number, but it is growing each year.

Even more notable is that vacation rentals are becoming easier and more popular to book online. In the past, finding a vacation rental involved the time-consuming process of calling property managers or driving around until a traveler found a sign for a vacation rental. But now, the percentage of vacation rentals that are completely bookable online has doubled — up from 24% in 2012 compared to a mere 12% in 2007.  This is revolutionizing the industry, making it just as easy to book a vacation rental online as it is to book a hotel room or airfare.

Here at FlipKey, more than 90,000 of our listings are online bookable, so go check them out and start booking your next vacation!

Happy Travels!