The Ultimate Guide to Flipkey Vacation Rentals in 2020 [Review]

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FlipKey is a website that helps you find a vacation rental or helps you rent out your property. While you may not be that familiar with FlipKey, you’re probably familiar with its parent company, Tripadvisor.

Vacation rentals are a popular option, especially these days when lots of people want to be able to travel but aren’t comfortable staying in a hotel. Renting an apartment, house, or even a villa is a great way to travel while maintaining social distance. It’s also a great option for traveling with a group, such as an extended family.

In this post, we’ll explore FlipKey to see how it works for both renters and owners. Plus we’ll take a look at some of the site’s features and competitors.

What Is FlipKey?

FlipKey is an online marketplace for vacation rentals that’s been around since 2007. In 2008 it became part of Tripadvisor Rentals, a group that also includes companies like Holiday Lettings, Niumba, Vacation Home Rentals, and HouseTrip. When you search for a vacation property on FlipKey, you’ll find over 830,000 options in almost every country in the world.

How to Use FlipKey to Rent a Vacation Home

Most people go to FlipKey to search for a vacation rental, so let’s go through how that process works.

Getting started is simple — all you need to do is enter your destination and travel dates in the main search box on the home page. If you have some flexibility, scroll down the page to see the featured destinations.

How to search for a vacation rental on FlipKey
Image Credit: FlipKey

Your search results will include a list of properties and also a map if you’d rather search by location. You can narrow your search by the number of nights, the number of bedrooms, rental type, and more, with the options right above the list of properties.

You’ll be able to sort your results list by price or number of reviews.

FlipKey vacation rental search
Look for the Tripadvisor Payment Protection logo to ensure you have some protection when renting a property on FlipKey. Image Credit: FlipKey

Each property’s listing will give you lots of information at a glance so you can easily scroll through to find a property that will fit your needs. You’ll be able to easily see these features for each property:

  • Price per night
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Number of guests allowed
  • Tripadvisor reviews
  • Owner’s response time
  • Any awards received
  • Tripadvisor Payment Protection (see below for more information)

What Is the Tripadvisor Payment Protection?

Tripadvisor Payment Protection gives you some extra protection when you pay for your rental online by credit or debit card or PayPal. It does not apply if you pay by wire or bank transfer.

This protection plan will reimburse you up to $10,000 if you are denied access to your rental at check-in or if the property is substantially misrepresented. In order to be covered, your property must display the Tripadvisor Payment Protection logo.

TripAdvisor Payment Protection
Image Credit: FlipKey

The plan doesn’t cover things like the cleanliness of the property, maintenance issues with the property, minor differences in the property’s location, or the availability of local attractions.

To make a claim you need to call 844-558-6015 on the first day of the rental period. Your claim will be denied if you choose to stay overnight at the property.

Bottom Line: The Tripadvisor Protection Plan offers protection if you’re denied access to your rental at check-in or if the property is substantially misrepresented, but it’s not the same as travel insurance. If you’re interested in a comprehensive insurance plan, check out some of these travel insurance companies. Or make sure you book your trip with a credit card that has built-in travel insurance.

The Cooling-Off Period

The cooling-off period allows you to cancel a reservation within 24 hours without penalty. This only applies to reservations that are more than 60 days in the future. The 24 hour period starts when the booking is accepted or when you pay for a reservation (whichever comes first).

So, if you request a booking on October 1 at 10 a.m. and the request is accepted by the owner on October 1 at 9 p.m. you would have until October 2 at 9 p.m. to cancel without penalty (the “cooling-off” period). After 24 hours, the owner’s cancellation policy goes into effect.

FlipKey Pricing and Fees

The prices shown on the search results page are per night and do not include taxes and fees. Once you click on a property’s listing, you’ll be able to clearly see the total cost, deposit amount, and any fees. Properties listed on FlipKey may include booking and owner fees.

The booking fee charged by FlipKey varies but generally ranges from 8% to 16% of the total rental cost. The owner’s fee varies by property.

FlipKey pricing and fees
Any fees associated with your rental will be clearly displayed in the price breakdown before you enter your payment information. Image Credit: FlipKey

Best Credit Card for FlipKey

Purchases from FlipKey will code as travel, so it’s a good idea to use a credit card that earns bonus points on general travel expenses.

Here are some of our favorite travel rewards credit cards that offer bonus points on travel purchases:

List Your Property With FlipKey

If you have a property you’d like to rent out, you can use FlipKey to find renters from around the world. It’s free to list your property, and once you have a booking, you’ll only pay 3% of the rental cost to FlipKey.

FlipKey handles online payments, and you’ll be able to communicate with your guests through your Tripadvisor account. There’s also an option to have a paid, annual listing which has the ability to take direct payments in addition to taking payments online through FlipKey

To get started, just click on List your property in the upper right-hand corner of the FlipKey homepage. You’ll need to set up an account and enter some basic information about the property that’s up for rent.

How to list your property on FlipKey
Image Credit: FlipKey

You’ll need the following information to complete your listing:

  • The property’s address
  • A detailed description of the property
  • A tourist license (if you need one)
  • Rental price
  • Booking and cancellation policies and a rental agreement
  • At least 4 photos
  • Payout and billing information

Tripadvisor is now listing vacation rentals along with hotels for some locations, so some rentals listed on FlipKey will now be appearing in Tripadvisor hotel listings.

In order for your listing to be considered, it needs to be Instant Book enabled and it needs to be located in one of the selected geographical locations. A Tripadvisor algorithm selects which bookings will appear long with hotel listings, so it’s not something you can request or pay for at this time.

Bottom Line: You can use FlipKey to rent out your property to travelers all over the world. It’s free to list but you’ll pay 3% of the rental price for each booking to FlipKey.

FlipKey Competitors

Vacation rental websites are becoming more popular and because of that, more and more of them are popping up. It’s always good to know all of your options, so you may want to check out some of FlipKey’s competitors:

Hot Tip: If you’re looking for some more information about these FlipKey competitors, check out our head to head comparison of Airbnb and VRBO.

Final Thoughts

FlipKey is a website designed to help you find a vacation rental or rent out your property to guests. The site is a subsidiary of Tripadvisor and uses some of its features like guest reviews and Tripadvisor Purchase Protection.

If you’d like something more unique than a hotel for your next vacation, try out FlipKey to search for your accommodation.


Frequently asked questions

Is FlipKey safe to use?

Yes, FlipKey is a legitimate website that’s safe to use. For most listings, you’ll be covered by Tripadvisor Payment Protection (when noted in the listing) when you pay online via a credit/debit card or PayPal. This protects you in the event that you’re denied access to your rental at check-in or if the rental is grossly misrepresented.

How does FlipKey work for owners?

As an owner, you can list your rental property on FlipKey for free. You’ll then pay a 3% fee to FlipKey once your property is rented. There’s also a paid, yearly plan available that gives you the ability to take direct payments in addition to online payments.

Does FlipKey do long term rentals?

No, FlipKey doesn’t do long-term rentals or any rental that requires a lease. The site is set up to facilitate short term and vacation rentals only.

Is FlipKey the same as Tripadvisor?

FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace website that’s owned by Tripadvisor. So while they aren’t the same, you’ll notice many similarities and overlaps. FlipKey displays Tripadvisor ratings and other Tripadvisor branded items like the Tripadvisor Payment Protection.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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