Category Archives: Florida Beach Rentals Updates and Info

vacation rental

Vacation Rental Frequently Asked Questions

Ask Questions Before You Book Your Vacation Rental

A vacation destination sets you free to explore a new piece of the world. Unfortunately, it also comes with challenges. In order to know what you are getting into, you have to ask a lot of questions. Here is a short list of questions which we handle often.


Vacation FAQs

vacation rental condoWhere is my vacation rental? Well, that’s important, isn’t it? You need to know not only the town, but where specifically in that town you will be staying. Are you on the beach? Are you near it? That’s matters. In fact, it’s vital information that can make or break your vacation plans. Be sure to nail down exactly where your accommodations will be. Your vacation rental company should provide a map with the exact location marked.

How far ahead should I book? Unfortunately, that question is often asked too late. If you intend to visit a popular vacation destination during its peak season, you had better book ahead a full year. For the less traveled seasons, or less known destinations you will want to book three to six months ahead. If you miss those deadlines, you may wind up booking at higher, last-minute rates.

vacation rental condoHow many does it sleep? Knowing the number that the unit sleeps is key. Be sure your rental will accommodate your party. Some rentals consider an overcrowded unit to be a breach of contract by the renter. If you want to stay cheaper, try to find places that utilize sofa sleepers for extra guests.

What size are the beds? Questions regarding bed size aim at personal taste and type of party. Some couples want king size beds, others are fine with queen size. When bed size can really come into play is when two families travel together, which includes the extended-family vacation. You may want to make sure that the couples each have a king or queen size bed. You can also ask for units that have more than one master bedroom. They are less common, but they do exist.

beachfront accommodationsQuestions about money. Questions about money are perhaps the most important. Aside from the obvious “how much” inquiry, you will want to know how payment is made. Is it all up front? Is there a deposit? Is there a penalty for cancelling? Is the money refundable? Those are all important details. The company you use should be able to answer them easily. Be sure to validate that your company is the real deal, especially if they are asking for a full payment up front.

How do I know my vacation rental company is real? That is a question you will want to answer before you pay. Don’t use non-official, garage-sale style sites to book a vacation rental. A week at a beach condo can cost in the thousands. You should know your company is legitimate before paying. Check the BBB, make sure the rental company has a website, and look online for reviews.

beachfront condoWhere do I check in? Not knowing where to check in can throw a wrench into your first day of vacation. Ask the booking agent where you need to arrive then check it on an online map. If it doesn’t seem right, be sure to call them back for specific directions.

What is the layout of the vacation rental? This is more than one question really. Does it have a kitchen? How many bedrooms does it have? Will the dining table seat your group? Does the unit have a washer and dryer? Does it have a balcony or patio? What floor is it on? What is the view? Where do I park? Those are all very important details that you need to know. Write them down before you call so you don’t forget to ask. A good online directory should tell you all those things. So should a good booking agent.

vacation condoWhat can you expect to find inside your rental unit? Will it have a dishwasher and an icemaker? Can you expect beach towels and beach chairs? What about toilet paper, paper towels, and soap? Those answers vary greatly between rental agencies and even between units rented by the same company. Knowing those answers ahead of time will help you prepare. The agent you contact should be able to tell you what will be waiting for you and what you need to bring.

What activities and attractions are nearby? An agency, even an online one, should have an idea what you will find nearby. That is why you are booking that unit in the first place! Clearwater BeachThe online booking site should answer at least some of those questions. An over-the-phone agent should also have an idea of what you will find outside your door. After all, the things-to-do list is one of the most important features of most vacations. You should be able to receive a short list, at the very least, before booking your vacation rental.


Other posts you might enjoy:

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams

Accommodations or Flight, Which to Book First

pirate ship

Shaking Hands with Pirates

Outlaws of the High Seas

Captain Memo

Captain Memo docked at Clearwater Beach Marina

While the pirates of the Caribbean have become a household name, it is also true that those same pirates roved beyond the Caribbean, to the Carolinas and westward to the Gulf Coast of Florida, and even to New Orleans. While the notion of pirates is romantic, the truth might surprise you. Piracy began long before the Golden Age of Piracy, with which we are most familiar, occuring in the 1700s and 1800s. Men –and women –boarded ships to plunder merchant vessels from the earliest times of shipping history. All parts of the world knew piracy, wherever ships were sailed. The pirates plying the waters of the North American coast, the Bahamas, and the Antilles were the most recent version, existing shortly before the nations of Europe, along with that of the United States, agreed to abolish the practice. But, if piracy is an illegal activity to begin with, how could abolishing it lead to its end? Read on to discover why it worked.


Marauding Pirates

John Levique Pirate Fest

John Levique Pirate Festival at John’s Pass, Madeira Beach, Florida

Piracy is labeled as the act of theft or plunder, by means of violence, committed by the crew of a ship, usually against another ship. Piracy’s heyday came when gold was discovered in the Americas. Attacking a ship laden with gold taken from the Native American tribes offered a hefty reward. Pirates worked on their own, keeping all the booty taken from their attacks to themselves. Numerous pirates became rich, and sometimes famous, based on the success of their exploits. Because of the routes of the American treasure shipments, the Caribbean and the coast of Florida were well-known hideouts for pirates.  You might think that the major countries who sailed the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean worked hard to put an end to piracy.  The truth, is that they did not. They were, in fact, guilty of the very same crime.


Attack of the Privateers

Gasparilla Pirate Invasion Tampa

Gasparilla Pirate Invasion Tampa, Florida

During times of war, it benefited one side to attack the merchant vessels of the other. Interrupting shipments of goods crippled the supply routes of the enemy. In order to entice ship crews to become privateers, countries would commission a privately owned vessel to engage in privateer attacks. Often, the reward for plundering of enemy ships was the cargo itself. With such bounties to choose from, privateer crews attacked with relish. Unfortunately, that also led to violence. More than one privateer gained fame via a reputation for cruelty. If privateers sound a lot like pirates, it’s because they were. By 1908, the countries invovled agreed to a ban, thus ending further commissions for privateer vessels.


Buccaneers of the Caribbean

Treasure Island Florida

Pirate at Treasure Island, Florida

Blurring the line between pirate and privateer were the buccaneers. Buccaneers behaved much like privateers, in that they were well organized. They did not, however, have official permission from governments to “do business.” Their name comes from “smoked meat” which, apparently, they did while in the West Indies Islands. Their ilk was more specific than other pirates of the world, being best known for plundering Spanish ships in the Caribbean and sometimes on the west coast of Africa. Their trade began as meat sellers in the West Indies, but looting ships and attacking coastal towns proved more profitable. Buccaneer ships, it seems, operated much like businesses, the loot being divided equally. They also attacked land targets, which true sea pirates did not often do. Because of the benefit of impeding enemy ships, many governments turned blind eyes to the activities of the buccaneers.


End of the Golden Age of Piracy

Captain Memo

Captain Memo on Clearwater Harbor

The lines between buccaneers and privateers, and their pirate counterparts were often indistinct. Both privateers and buccaneers went outside the guiidelines of the governments that supported them. The violence committed by all three groups became notorious. With an overall disruption of shipping by pirate and pirate-like activities, governments began to turn against the practice. By the 1900s, it had fallen into disfavor. The days of governments shaking hands with privateers were over, a withdrawal of commissions for such ventures ensuing. That left the outlaw pirates alone, with even their home ports eventually turning against them, leading to the end of the so-called Golden Age of Piracy.


Florida Pirates

pirate flagMore pirates, privateers, and buccaneers came to Florida’s shores than you might imagine. Pirate treasure stories abound, and pirate festivals throughout the state are popular. Be sure to keep up with our continuing pirate stories, in which we will tell you who among the world’s most famous pirates visited our area.



Clearwater Beach aerial 2

Accommodations or Flight, Which to Book First

Booking Your Flight First

passenger jetBooking an airline flight first is a good idea. Why? Because if you book your accommodations first you might not find a flight to match it. With airlines running their flights tighter than ever, you need to know that you can get to your destination. Plus, your flight needs to be booked well ahead of time in order to save money.

Does booking a flight first come with risks? Yes it does. You can pay for your flight and wind up not finding the rental you want during the time period allowed for by your round trip tickets. That’s not good. You could wind up far away from the beach or other attraction you intended to enjoy.


Booking Your Accommodations First

beach accommodationsBooking accommodations first is also a plan that can work. If you book far enough ahead, it will be easier to get a flight to match. Since popular destinations often take reservations a year or more in advance, you might find airfare tickets with greater ease, given a long enough lead time.

Does booking accommodations first carry a risk? Of course it does. You might wind up with reservations and no flight to go with them. If you get a flight that doesn’t match your reservations, your vacation can be thrown out of sync, forcing you to purchase extra nights where you didn’t intend to stay. Worse still, you might have a shorter flight than your paid accommodations, forcing you to pay for nights you don’t get to enjoy.


Make Vacation Flight Plans and Accommodations Match

beach vacationThe solution to synchronizing your flight plan with your accommodations might be easier than you think. You see, popular destinations often set availability on a Saturday to Saturday schedule. During high season especially, vacation rentals in our personal favorite destination, Clearwater Beach, will often only book beach cottages, homes, or condos on a one week, Saturday to Saturday, basis. The majority of problems with booking during peak seasons comes when travelers do not know about the one week restrictions. While you can book hotels for any nights you want, vacation rental homes and condos stick rather rigidly to their weekly schedules, at least during peak times. In case you don’t know, booking a vacation rental for a week is much less expensive than staying at a hotel for seven nights. That means staying in a hotel that was not part of your plans can take a heavy toll on your expenses. As with any hotel or vacation rental, check ins are in the afternoon and check outs are in the morning, so plan your flight accordingly. Put this all together and you might find making your flight and accommodations match much easier.

  • Plan ahead
  • Book your accommodations at least six months to one year before your vacation
  • Have in mind that your vacation accommodations might need to be Saturday to Saturday
  • Book your flight on a Saturday to Saturday schedule
  • Have a plan to fill the hours where flight schedule doesn’t match check in and check out times, especially for families with young children

Clearwater Beach accommodationsIf you schedule your flight and accommodations to match a standard one week stay, and you book far enough into the future, your job becomes easier. Even here in our vacation rental office, we had to agree that booking a flight first is probably the best plan of action, due to the sometimes-volatile nature of flight reservations. Understanding the vacation rental field before you book is advantageous. Call ahead or use the Internet to get a feel for the accommodations at your destination. We suggest Clearwater Beach!

Study your destination, understand booking dates, and plan ahead. With your research done, you can book your flight and accommodations like a pro.


Other posts you might enjoy;

To Drive or Not to Drive on your Clearwater Beach Vacation

9 Need to Know Differences between Hotels and Vacation Rentals

Where the Heck is Pinellas County and Why Should I Care?


Fun Florida Facts

Fun Florida Facts

Clearwater BeachVacation Paradise

We enjoy welcoming people to Clearwater Beach and the other beautiful white sand shores of our home, Pinellas County, Florida. While investigating what makes our vacation paradise so interesting, we came across various collections of facts about Florida and our home county that were unique. We’ve distilled a few of the more relevant ones to share with you here on our Florida Beach Rentals blog.


Fun Florida Facts

Florida oranges

Seven Mile Bridge: Florida is home to the nation’s longest bridge, Seven Mile Bridge, which spans the Florida Keys. Instead of building the spans over the open waters, they constructed it elsewhere and shipped the completed pieces to the Keys to be connected.

Florida Oranges: Florida produces about 70% of the Unites States’ oranges and roughly 40% of the world’s oranges.

frown face

Longest Coastline: Florida does not have the longest coastline in the United States! Alaska has more coastline, we come in second.

Oldest City in the US: Saint Augustine, on Florida’s east coast, is the oldest city in the United States, settled by the Spanish in 1565

frown faceFlorida bald eaglesMost Southern State in the U.S.: Florida is not the southernmost state in the United States! Hawaii is farther south, we come in second.

Longest River Sailboat Race: The Annual Mug Race is held in Jacksonville, Florida, on the Saint Johns River. The race spans 42 miles.

Florida Bald Eagles: The second largest breeding population of bald eagles in the United States is in Florida. That comes as no surprise to those who live in Florida, as our state is a birdwatcher’s paradise.


Fun Facts about Clearwater Beach Region

Honeymoon Island slash pinePines VS Palms: The name of our county comes from the Spanish “Punta Pinal,” or “Pine Point.” You can see some of these beautiful and abundant pine trees today by visiting Honeymoon Island State Park. The nature trail at this fantastic park is shaded by the pines that gave Pinellas County its name.

Longest Sidewalk is in Tampa: Tampa lays claim to having the longest continuous sidewalk in the country, weighing in at 4.5 miles. The waterfront sidewalk is popular for walking, biking, and skating for good reason. It winds along the bay, with views of beautiful old homes, the active waters of Tampa Bay, and the Tampa skyline. It is also the location of the yearly Tampa Gasparilla Pirate parade.

Fountain of Youth: The waters of Espiritu Santo Springs rise to the surface at Safety Harbor, Florida. The springs were discovered by explorer Hernando De Soto, the namesake of breathtaking Fort DeSoto Park at the southern reaches of Pinellas County. Some legends suggest that he was looking for the Fountain of Youth. Local Native American Tribes knew of the springs, and, as time went by, so did the world, the location becoming a renowned destination for those seeking its touted curative powers. A resort now rests over the site, where visitors can still enjoy the famous spring waters.

First in Commercial Aviation: While the Wright brothers hailed from Ohio, creating the state motto, “First in Flight,” Florida’s Tampa and Saint Petersburg earned the accolade for the first commercial passenger flight. A scheduled service for passengers wishing to cross Tampa Bay was run by aviator Tony Jannus, beginning on January 1, 1914.

Ybor_Cigar_workersCigar Capital of the World: Ybor City, named after cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor, was once touted to be the Cigar Capital of the World. Ybor created remarkably good conditions for his cigar workers and many of the buildings in which they resided are still standing. It is estimated that Ybor City created 700 million cigars a year. Located north of the City of Tampa, Ybor City is a fascinating destination for history buffs.

Sunshine Skyway BridgeSunshine Skyway Bridge: The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is another example of the modern style of bridge building in the Tampa Bay area. The new style replaces drawbridges with spans built high enough to accommodate passing boats, including the tall masts of sailing vessels. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is 4 miles long, including the causeway, and is built to accommodate not only sailboats, but rather full size ships, crossing the waters at 190 feet. Stopping is allowed on the causeway but not the bridge span. However, the views while driving, even from a vehicle of ordinary height, are spectacular.

The Pinellas Trail: Built upon a former train route, the Pinellas Trail runs from the north end of the county to the bottom, then curving to cross the width of the county, arriving at last at the St Petersburg waterfront. It has apparently earned the accolade of being the longest linear urban trail in the eastern United States.

Florida ParksPeople and Parks of Pinellas County: Pinellas County is a fun place to live. The small peninsular county has loads of shoreline, residents never being more than 15 miles from the coast. The western shore is lined with beautiful white sand beaches and the eastern side faces sparkling Tampa Bay, with a scenic drive along the mangrove coastline. Because of those facts, it has become one of the most popular places to live in Florida. In addition to the remarkable coastlines, Pinellas County offers 4,242 acres of parkland and 15,525 acres of preserves, all of which are found in the second smallest county in the state.


Other posts you might enjoy:

How Big is your Vacation Activity Zone?

Weird Florida News Right Here in Clearwater

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path


beach road

To Drive or Not to Drive on your Clearwater Beach Vacation

Facts Travelers Need to Know

Clearwater Beach entranceOne of the most important facts that travelers need to know is how they will get to their destination. We are centrally located on the Florida Gulf Coast, at the heart of Clearwater Beach.  A fair number of visitors who use our vacation rental office drive here from other cities in the United States. A large number also fly in, primarily using Tampa International Airport. Those visitors arrive from both the U.S. and foreign cities. It probably will come as no surprise that our beach is known worldwide as a vacation destination. Clearwater Beach is here to welcome you regardless of where your journey began.


Tampa International Airport

The airport, as the name suggests, is located in the neighboring city of Tampa, one of the big three of Tampa, St Petersburg, and Clearwater. The drive from the airport to Clearwater Beach is 21 miles and can take 35 minutes on days when traffic is light. During rush hours or other heavy traffic periods, it is a good idea to plan for a 40 to 60 minute drive. The route takes you across one of the most beautiful stretches of road in our area, known as the Courtney Campbell Causeway. It is a low-lying, man-made land bridge, reaching across the upper portion of Tampa Bay. Visitors arriving via this route are treated to sweeping views of the sparkling blue waters of the famous bay. It is the perfect introduction to our beautiful coastal area.


To Walk or Drive on your Clearwater Beach Vacation

Clearwater Beach roadsThe island of Clearwater Beach is only three and a half miles long. The tourist district of Clearwater Beach is even smaller, making it a perfect place for a no-car vacation. You can walk to the beach, restaurants, and gift shops, as well as some of the great attractions, like Pier 60 or the marina to catch a dolphin watching boat tour. While a walking-only vacation is an option, there might be some nearby sites that are just too far for walking. Those include neighboring tourist towns like John’s Pass, Dunedin, and Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, or regional theme parks like Busch Gardens, Lowry Park Zoo, and Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. For those options, a car is a handy item to have. However, if you do not want to bring your car, or you simply live too far away to drive to Clearwater beach, there are other options for getting around on your beach vacation.


Jolly Trolley

Jolly TrolleyThe Jolly Trolley is a great way to get around the coastal communities of our county. It runs from the town of Tarpon Springs in the north, to Sand Key, which is the southern end of the beaches that are part of the City of Clearwater. The Jolly Trolley also heads east, to the town of Safety Harbor, where you can find some fun tourist shops. The trolley is all about tourism, with a fun look and an open air design that allows you to view the sights as you travel. For beach transportation from Belleair Beach down to St Pete Beach, a trolley-style bus will take you using the same pass you purchased for the Jolly Trolley.


Day Tripper

daytripper autosDay Tripper provides charter transportation for groups up to twenty to key locations around Tampa Bay. Some of the stops include Tarpons Springs, Dunedin, Downtown St Petersburg, John’s Pass, and Busch Gardens. Day Tripper is familiar with the normal length of stay at the sites visited and is ready to transport you back to where you boarded at the end of your visit.


Beach Taxi Services

Taxi services at the beach range from the expected to the unexpected. While you will find normal automobile taxi services, you will also find more unique forms of transportation. Many of the bars, such as Shephards, Brown Boxer, Toucans, Pier 60 House, Shipwreck, and others will give you a ride in a golf cart style taxi. Naturally these services are aimed at clientele. While this might seem limiting, some of them will give you a free drink when you arrive at your destination. Aside from the golf carts, you will also find bicycle taxis during peak times at locations like Clearwater Beach.


Getting around your Beach Town

Whether you bring a car on your beach vacation can be matter of choice or circumstances. Having a car for sightseeing is a great idea. However, if you wind up at Clearwater Beach without a car, you can still get around to a surprisingly large variety of tourist destinations.

Clearwater Beach


Other posts you might enjoy:

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

Top Clearwater Beach Day Trip Destinations

Top 7 Walks at Clearwater Beach

Perfect vacation rental

9 Need to Know Differences between Hotels and Vacation Rentals

Towels and Linens at a Vacation Rental VS a Hotel

Vacation rental king size bedHotels and vacation rentals handle linens and towels very differently. In a hotel, you can get new towels and linens either every day or on the schedule you request. At a vacation rental, your towels and linens are there for the duration of your stay. The perk you will usually get at a vacation rental is an in-unit washer and dryer for your laundry. That is great for week long stays where you are visiting the beach often. It also means, however, that you will be washing the sheets and towels on your own. While an on-call towel service is nice, so is having your own washer and dryer for your one week to one month vacation accommodations.


Daily Cleaning at a Hotel Vs a Vacation Rental

Clearwater Beach hotelsHotels will clean your room each day if you let them, while vacation rentals leave that task up to you. The pros and cons are pretty easy to imagine. With a hotel, you get the cleaning done for you. In a vacation rental, you do the cleanup, but, in exchange, the space is yours without interruptions. That means leaving your personal belongings lying around in a vacation rental might feel more comfortable.


Staffing at a Hotel VS a Vacation Rental

vacation hotelYour vacation rental staff is always willing to help you out but they are not onsite like a hotel. Help in a hotel is usually right downstairs in the lobby. For a vacation rental, the staff is in an office somewhere in town. While vacation rental offices (like ours) will respond to your call 24hrs a day, it might require a longer period of time to arrive than a hotel, based simply on distance. You might want to choose your vacation rental office based on office location, by the way. A remote office will be less capable of helping you than one closer by.


Hotel Check in VS Vacation Rental Deposit

Check in for vacation rentalVacation rentals and hotels operate differently regarding check in. Hotels will take your credit card number to secure your reservation and you pay for your room when you arrive. Vacation rentals most often take a deposit at the time of booking and the remainder upon arrival. This is where researching your vacation rental company becomes a good idea. Are they members of BBB? Are there reviews of at least some of their properties? See our blog on vacation rental scams for more information on how you might protect yourself.


Hotel Common Spaces VS Vacation Rental Properties

vacation rental with poolHotel and vacation rental grounds differ considerably. A hotel will always have common areas such as the lobby, rec rooms, restaurants, pools, and so on. A vacation home or vacation cottage, on the other hand, will often have yards that are yours to use. Rather than a balcony, many vacation homes will have patios. If you enjoy luxury accommodations and settings, a hotel is probably your style. If you are looking for spaces to call your own, a vacation home or vacation cottage might be the way to go.


Noise and Privacy in a Hotel VS a Vacation Rental

vacation rental spacesIt is easy to guess who comes out on top when comparing noise and privacy between hotels and vacation rentals. Despite the numerous pleasures of a hotel, they are meeting places for larger numbers of people than you will encounter at private residences. This is true even with beach vacation condos. The choice here is between a more dynamic hotel atmosphere and the quieter spaces of a vacation rental.


Hotel and Vacation Rental Age Requirements

Clearwater BeachThe difference in age requirements between vacation rentals and hotels is slight, but very important. While most hotels will allow 21 and up to book, the age is higher in most vacation rentals. Our requirement is 25 and up. Anyone who has gone to Florida during Spring Break will understand why that rule is in place. We do apologize to our college friends.


Hotel Dining VS Vacation Rental Dining

vacation diningMealtime at a vacation rental is a very different affair than at a hotel. Hotels rooms without kitchenettes offer very few options outside of ordering a pizza or going out on the town. At a vacation rental, how you eat your meals is completely up to you. Vacation rental properties will always have some sort of kitchen, even if it is a kitchenette. Vacation homes and vacation condos will usually have full kitchens, just like at home. Leave the pots and pans at home as these kitchens are stocked with at least the standard complement of kitchenware. If you want a kitchen, look for hotels with condo-style suites, or book your vacation in a vacation home, cottage, or condo.


Length of Stay at a Hotel VS a Vacation Rental

Clearwater Beach sunsetHotels will accept accommodations for one night while vacation rentals are intended for longer stays. Ordinarily, a vacation rental will limit the minimum stay to seven days, while some condominium associations will hold vacation rentals to one month minimums only. The plus side to this, of course, is that longer-term vacation rentals will often prove to be the better value for per night costs.


Other blog posts you might enjoy:

What Is a Beach Villa?


How to Prepare for Florida Gulf Coast Beaches



Florida Gulf Coast of Pinellas County

Where the Heck is Pinellas County and Why Should I Care?

Pinellas County Is the Florida Central Gulf Coast

Clearwater BeachPinellas County is home to some of the best tourist destinations in the United States. We are pointing out Pinellas County in this blog for that very good reason. According to, a general understanding a location is one of a traveler’s top concerns. Vacationers want to know where they are going!

A term has recently appeared labeling our coastline the Florida Central Gulf Coast. The area has become famous for its white sand beaches and growing number of tourist attractions. Within this region you will find Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Treasure Island, St Pete Beach, Fort Desoto State Park, Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island, Tarpon Springs, Lake Tarpon,  and St Petersburg.

The area boasts such attractions as Pier 60 Sunset Festivals, Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies, the Dali Museum, and John’s Pass. The on-the-water attractions in the area are truly endless. They include dolphin sighting tours, dinner cruises, sunset cruises, pirate ship cruises, deep sea fishing, and more.


Where is Pinellas County?

We could write a thousand words explaining the location of Pinellas County, Florida but why not just show you some maps?

Pinellas County Florida

Pinellas County Florida Map


Pinellas County is for Everyone

WClearwater Beach, Oct 1, 2013 (5)hy is Pinellas County a premier vacation destination? The answer is that Pinellas County has beaches that fit every taste.

If you like a beachfront resort hotel with fine dining, beachfront bar and grill, a swimming pool, sun deck, and umbrellas on the beach, you will find them here in Pinellas County, Florida.

If you want a vacation home or vacation cottage on or near the beach, you will find them for rent throughout our beach communities. If you like natural beaches with miles of untouched coastline that you can walk at your leisure, we have those too.

IMG_4918The turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico are ready to explore regardless of your tastes. You can take a dinner cruise across Clearwater Harbor, or take in the sunset on a fun-loving pirate ship. Booze cruises and dolphin sighting excursions are available as well. If you want a less structured way to get out on the water, you can rent jet skis, stand up paddle boards, power boats, or a kayaks.

You will find developed beaches or areas where Ma and Pa rentals are king. State and county parks deliver wildlife experiences as well as looks into Florida’s History.

Pier 60 Clearwater BeachYou can dive into dynamic beachfront activities or just disappear into a calm beach paradise. The choice of vacation types is endless but all of them include the white sand beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. You might want to add this vacation destination to your wish list. Pinellas County has it all!


Other posts you might enjoy:

Treasure Island Kite Festival 2014

Wildest Islands on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

The Best Beaches in America


vacation rental scams

How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation Rental Scams Are Out There

Vacation rental scams are terrible to hear about. People look at beautiful pictures online of a perfect vacation rental; it’s on the beach, it has enough rooms for the family, it has a pool, and all the amenities they wanted. When they email the owner, the price is perfect, comparable but just a little lower than the others. They hand over their credit card information and the charge for the deposit goes through. Or perhaps it is worse. Maybe the person puts down the whole amount in advance. Vacation rentals can cost thousands of dollars. When you try to contact the person again just before it’s time to go on vacation, they are not there to answer. Another, more gruesome situation, is when the prospective tenants arrive for their vacation to find the unit does not exist or is occupied by permanent residents who know nothing about the rental. Both legitimate vacation rental companies and scammers take money upfront at the time of booking, either a deposit or the full amount. The length of time between booking and the actual vacation can span from a few weeks to over a year ahead of time. It is horrifying to discover that the money you paid so long ago has been stolen. The trail is cold and the vacation rental scammer is long gone.


Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation rental scammers take advantage of your trust. To fight back against them, unfortunately, you need to be a little suspicious. Or, taking a higher road, let’s say you need to be vigilant. Every time you book a vacation rental, you should check into the person or company before you pay. Consider it a matter of routine. With the Internet, this is easier than ever. Do you know the name of the company? The name of the person? Enter the name in a search and see what you get. Known scammers will light up the screen with alerts and warnings. Once you have gotten over that hurdle, it’s time to see who they really are. Do they have a website? Are they listed on Yelp, Urban Spoon, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, or other similar web directories? Are they members of the Better Business Bureau? It is difficult for scammers to be listed for any length of time on websites like those. Betrayed consumers will readily report abusive businesses to those websites –and so should you! The reports of fraud will cause their ratings to drop or, more likely, get them banned, or create a scam alert, depending on the site.


Vacation Rental Scam Checklist

  • Do they have a website?
  • Do they have a blog, Facebook page, or other social media outreach?
  • Do their online vacation rental listings appear realistic?
  • Does the rental address check out as a real address on Google Maps or Map Quest?
  • Are they listed with online business directories?
  • Are they members of the BBB?
  • Do they have a phone number where they can be reached?
  • Do they answer their phone or return your calls?
  • Do their email responses include company info such as name and address?
  • Do they have online reviews from previous vacation rental customers?
  • Do they send receipts?
  • Do the receipts include company name and address?


Leave Vacation Rental Scams Behind

Remember that most of the vacation rental companies out there are not scammers. While some companies are better versed in good service than others, for the most part, they are all operating legitimate businesses. Don’t let the scammers spoil all the fun. It is wise to do your research first, then call the company afterward. Why would you want to do it the other way around anyway! Doing research first lends to two good results. One, you will not waste time talking to a company you have not checked out yet. Two, you will have a greater chance of securing the exact rental you want. When you call up already knowing you can trust the vacation rental office, your only concern is which rental you will choose. You can make your decision faster than someone who has doubts. You might also avoid losing that perfect vacation rental to the person on the other line who made their decision first.

Other posts you might enjoy:

The Best Beaches in America

Clearwater Beach voted Best Sunset Location

Dinner and Coffee at Clearwater Beach