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An affordable beach vacation is within your grasp.

There’s no denying it, summer is the time of the year to go on a vacation, preferably with family. And the number one vacation destination for many families has to be the beach since it has something for all ages. But while everyone is having fun swimming, tanning or digging for buried treasure, it’s easy for your time at the beach to eat into your “treasure” chest of money. Here are some great tips and tricks to help you have an affordable beach vacation.

Book early

Decide when you want to go and book early. If you’re planning a long getaway at a beach destination, plan a couple of months or even a year out. I have already talked to a number of travelers who have booked a vacation home rental on a beach for 2015. Owners may be willing to negotiate a lower price since it is so far in advance and they don’t have to worry about finding someone to rent at the last minute. Some owners also offer a discounted rate during the off-peak season which not only means you are saving money, but also that the nearby beach may not be as crowded.

Walk a bit

If you’re planning a day trip, avoid high parking fees by using cheaper or free lots that are a short walk away from your destination. Unload all your bags, coolers, chairs and toys beachside, then have one person drive and park your car in the nearby affordable lot.

BYOS (Bring Your Own Stuff)

While it might be tempting to rent umbrellas, chairs, boogie boards, toys, etc. at the beach, those expenses can add up. For example, at popular Jones Beach on Long Island, NY, umbrella and chair rentals are $10 each plus a $10 deposit. Multiply that by the number of people in your group, and then add on extra purchases like Frisbees, balls, sand toys and sunscreen from local convenience stores, and your spending can reach triple digits. Plan ahead, bring items from home, and you’ve just freed up that money for other purposes.

BYOF (Bring Your Own Food)

While it’s tempting to get a burger or a hot dog at the concession stand, it’s more affordable to bring your own food, plus you don’t have to wait on line when hunger strikes. Bring lots of fresh fruits and veggies, sandwiches, and water from home. Avoid salty foods, like chips and fries, which can dehydrate you. If you decide to bring some alcoholic drinks for the adults, check the beach’s rules in advance and keep in mind that alcohol and long exposure to the sun’s rays are never a good mix.

Cash rules everything around me

Bringing cash can help make an affordable beach vacation a reality. Not only is cash accepted everywhere, but it will creates a budget for you and your family, and it provides a great opportunity to teach your kids about the value of money and how to spend it. My parents taught me that if they get me an ice cream or a frozen fruit bar, they won’t be buying me something else while we were at the beach, so I would need to choose wisely.

Take advantage of free things

Instead of buying a new book to read, swing by your local library to pick up a book. Are you an avid beach volleyball/frisbee/football/can jam player? Make friends with other players that you meet at the beach and share sports equipment. Use playgrounds/skate parks/water parks that are at the beach as well. There are usually lots of land activities to be had if you do a little searching.

Spending the dog days of summer at a beach with family and friends can be one of the best things about summer, and making it an affordable beach trip puts the icing on the cake. Now that you know some great tips and tricks, you can kick back, soak in the sun and the waves, and not worry about your wallet taking a huge hit! Surf’s up!

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If you own a pet, I don’t need to tell you that planning a vacation can be a challenge. Your pets are members of the family and finding a trustworthy caretaker can be an exhausting process. Even if you know your pet is in good hands, it’s hard not to wonder if all is well with the furry members of the family back home. It’s nice to have the opportunity to bring your pet along on vacation, but what if I told you there were ways for your animals to travel in style?

Best Friends Pet Care – Orlando, FL

Disney World is the quintessential vacation spot for children and children at heart. While the princesses may have their run of the Magical Kingdom, at Best Friends Day Care, Pluto is king. Their staff provides day care during theme park hours and well as luxurious overnight accommodation for cats, dogs and a variety of other small pets.

DogSpa Resort & Wellness Center – Desert Hot Springs, CA

DogSpa Resort is the perfect romantic getaway for spa and dog lovers alike. This unique six room hotel offers an exclusive experience with picturesque mountain views. Better still, there are no additional pet fees or breed restrictions.

Paw House Inn – Rutland, VT

This Vermont Bed & Breakfast was built specifically to cater to dog owners. Their specially designed playhouse is the perfect place for your pets to hang out while you explore the area. If your dog prefers to be a lone wolf, each room comes with its own private dog run. There is even a local vet available 24/7 just in case.

PetTravel.com

PetTravel.com offers a number of resources for those looking to take to the air with their pets. Their pet travel experts will provide you with all the information you need to help you and your pet travel safely and comfortably.They also can help you to find a pet friendly hotel when you have selected your vacation destination!

If you prefer a vacation rental, FlipKey.com has you covered. Many of the property owners on our site welcome pets and indicate that their homes are pet-friendly in the suitability section of their listing. You can also adjust your search criteria on FlipKey to only return homes that are pet friendly. After all, if a vacation rental is truly your home away from home, why not bring the entire family?

bicycle fall

As the summer rental season heats up, so do the crowds, temperature, and potential for health risk and injury. Travel safety is definitely on the forefront of many people’s minds, and unfortunately, no matter how carefully you prepare, emergencies can happen. No one ever wants to be in a bad situation while traveling, especially abroad, but it happens.

The best defense when traveling is equipping yourself with ample knowledge of your destination (including the potential risks and solutions should those situations occur. )

Below are a few of the best tools , apps, and programs  that may help if you find yourself seriously injured or in a precarious situation while attempting some serious adventures this summer.

First, WIFI is your best ally. When leaving the USA or even traveling domestically; ensuring you have a readily available internet connection can really save you a lot of headache should you require medical or other emergency assistance.

Boingo is an American company that provides global Wi-Fi services to your Phone and/or Tablet anywhere in the world. Global Traveler’s magazine recognized it as the four time winner of “Best WiFI service”. They also have 24/7 phone support available, so if you have an upcoming trip this is definitely a product to consider.

Once you have that basic connection (think of it as maintaining a link to the rest of the world) it will be much easier to contact people who can actually help you out in emergencies. Having the internet as a tool also enables you to download and use popular Emergency and Travel Apps to your phone. These Apps are simple, widely downloaded, and have excellent product reviews.

The Real Alert App is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. In emergency situations, it uses your GPS location to direct you to the closest hospital. It also provides quick access to emergency services/ ambulances and can help ward off potential attackers with its quick tap ‘ALARM’ feature.

The Help Call App is another great option to download before traveling. It will automatically detect your location, and then you can press one button to be connected to the local police, fire or ambulance service. This can be especially useful if you require medical assistance in a foreign country where you are unsure of the local emergency contact numbers.

If you are just sick, and do not necessarily need a hospital; even pharmacies can be overwhelming if you do not speak the language. The mPassport app will find the local brand equivalent of a medicine that you’re looking for, translate medical terms and phrases, and help you find a doctor, dentist, hospital or pharmacy nearby. You can even use the app to schedule a doctor’s appointment.

It is also be worth getting in touch with your credit card provider and finding out about any specific Traveler Insurance plans, policies or benefits that they may provide to their members. American Express, actually has fantastic traveler benefits that it offers its platinum members including but not limited to emergency medical evacuation up to $100,000 at no additional charge! (Mastercard also offers a similar program via their MasterAssist plan.)

Though these tools can’t directly remedy an injury incurred while traveling. Having the best tools at your disposal definitely make that broken leg, spider bite, or common cold way less of a bummer to deal with!

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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Matt from the FlipKey marketing team along with the Vice President of Marketing, Eric Horndahl, have put together a handy guide for those travelers interested in trying a vacation rental for the first-time vacation. These short videos should help answer any questions you have, but if you need more info, please leave a question in the comments and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

What is a vacation rental? Where are they located?

Why would a traveler choose a vacation rental over a hotel? What are the benefits?

Who should book a vacation rental – solo travelers, couples, families, or large groups?

How far in advance should you book a vacation rental? What’s the process of booking on FlipKey & check in/check out?

What’s your #1 tip for travelers to protect themselves from owner fraud?

Have you ever stayed in a vacation rental? What was the experience like?

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See Boston – the home of the original tea party, a baseball cathedral, and more important historical sites than you could shake a Bobby Orr hockey stick at – like you’ve never seen it before. We here at FlipKey wanted to give travelers a special look at our hometown (and the first of a series of interactive tours) so we built this virtual walking tour & guide to create a unique experience by giving them an on-the-ground feel for a destination before they actually visit to better assist them in planning their vacation. Scroll through at your leisure, or click a specific title to speed ahead. When stopping at a specific location, use the 360 degree view button to really see what it would be like at that spot. Lastly, read up on the history of each stop on the tour so you have a basic understanding about what makes each location special. We hope this gives you some insight into Boston, and pushes you over the edge to add our urban locale to your “must-visit” list.

Click here to take the virtual walking tour of Boston.

 

FlipKey employees (who are also Boston residents) discuss Boston, MA and the top attractions.

00:00 – Introductions
01:50 – Q1: Favorite secret spot in Boston?
04:30 – Q2: Top historic sites in Boston.
07:24 – Q3: Best restaurants and bars in Boston.
11:38 – Q4: What is the best season to visit Boston in and why?
15:20 – Q5: Boston on a budget.
19:45 – Q6: Is Fenway Park really a must-see attraction?
21:38 – Q7: Top attractions just outside downtown Boston.
23:15 – Q8: Things to do on date night in Boston.
23:55 – Q9: Best Boston neighborhoods to stay in a vacation rental
25:50 – Q10: Things to do in Boston with kids.
27:02 – Q11: What to do if you only have 24 hours in Boston.
30:15 – Q12: Top tourist traps in Boston.
32:40 – Q13: Events to visit Boston for.
37:00 – Q14: Boston elevator pitch.

FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 300,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.

 

Thaksin Supporters Stage Demonstration In Bangkok

Everyone knows soccer fans are the most passionate in the entire world. Sometimes that passion spills over, especially when the stakes are at their highest. In just two weeks the biggest tournament on planet Earth, the World Cup, starts in earnest in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. If you’re in attendance, you may want to brush up on these phrases below, so if a massive soccer riot breaks out, you’ll know just enough to get out of there safely. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

PortugueseEnglish
Cuidado!Be careful!
Atenção!Watch out!
Por favor ajude-mePlease help me
Houve um acidenteThere’s been an accident
Roubaram-me a carteiraMy wallet has been stolen
Pára ladrão!Stop thief!
Fogo!Fire!
Está bem?Are you OK?
Estou perdido/aI’m lost.
Pode parar aqui.You can stop here. (Taxi)
Onde e? o banheiro?Where is the bathroom?
Quanto custa?How much?
Chame um medico!Call a doctor!
Chame uma ambulância!Call an ambulance!
Chame a policia!Call the police!
Onde é o hospital mais próximo?Where’s the nearest hospital?
Voce? fala Ingles?Do you speak English?
Socorro!Help!
Me DesculpaI’m sorry.
Com licença.Excuse me.
Obrigado/aThank you.

 

A few bonus phrases, roughly translated, for if things get REALLY out of hand…

PortugueseEnglish
Esse homem me mordeu.That man just bit me.
Seu time de futebol é terrível.Your soccer team is terrible.
Ajuda! Ele tem um tubo de chumbo!Help! He has a lead pipe!
Eu era uma vítima de uma debandada.I was a victim of a stampede.
Alguém deixou todos os animais de zoológico.Someone let all the animals out of the zoo.
Perdi um litro de sangue. Isso é muito?I’ve lost a liter of blood. Is that too much?
Onde é o aeroporto mais próximo?Where is the nearest airport?
Sua equipe é agora a minha equipa favorita também.Your team is now my favorite team too.

Best of luck!

Soccer_WorldCup

So you’re ready to propose. Once it’s done, no matter what you do, chances are that family and friends will ask you – repeatedly – to tell the story of how it all went down. Since you’ll undoubtedly be forced to share the story so frequently, you might as well make it one for the boo ks! Romance doesn’t always come easy to some, but having the perfect backdrop for your proposal can help do a lot of the work and add to your own charm. When thinking about your proposal plans, look to your partner’s character for the answer. Is your perfect match adventurous or relaxed? More inclined to enjoy this event in public or in private? Although the options are endless, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help you get creative with some prime places for a destination based proposal.

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It’s easy to get the essentials down when traveling abroad, like making sure your passport is current and remembering to exchange some money into the local currency. Perhaps what’s harder to grasp are the local customs, which might be different from your own but matter a lot to the people in whose country you’ve just arrived. Although none of these will set off an international incident if you forget to follow them, you’ll do yourself a favor in making new friends if you try to remember these customs during your journey.