How To Navigate Through The Hundreds Of Travel Comparison And Booking Websites
Deciding where to travel is usually a mixture between excitement, anguish, and confusion. Perhaps you employ the help of a travel comparison website, trying to optimise between cheap enough and not too cheap. Once we’ve figured that bit out, it’s time to actually book your trip. After the emotional and psychological turmoil brought on by deciding on a destination, booking feels like a piece of cake!
When you actually start doing the booking though, and slowly realise the impossibility of knowing where the best place to book is, that piece of cake feels more like ten (very large) cakes. Should you book directly with the hotel or airline? Is a travel comparison site the way to go? Perhaps booking the flight and hotel as a package deal is best? All these questions and more will be answered – to as large an extent as possible – hereunder!
What is a travel comparison site?
The site is exactly what its name says it is: a site where you can compare different travel transportation methods and/or accommodation in terms of location, price, popularity and customer ratings. Many travel comparison sites also offer the opportunity for users to directly purchase via their site as well. The ones which don’t usually provide a link redirecting you to the booking page. In the past five years, there has been a boom in travel comparison sites, resulting in a multitude of places which serve very similar functions.
Which sites are currently available?
The following are the most common travel comparison and booking sites, all available worldwide.
Do I have to go on every single site?
The general concept of a comparison site for travel transportation and accomodation is to make it easier for travellers to compare their options. Unfortunately, when the number of comparison sites becomes almost as many as the number of travel options, the concept slightly caves in on itself. Which of the comparison sites offers the best comparison and deals, and if the site allows for direct purchasing, which site offers the lowest price? As expected, the same transportation and accommodation alternatives exist on several of the comparison and booking sites at the same time. Is there then a master comparison site which compares all of the comparison sites? Unfortunately, once again the answer is a negative one.
On a more positive note, you do not have to go on every single site when booking a trip! The big players (Expedia, Kayak and Travelocity) offer very similar deals, rarely differing by more than a few dollars. As all of them have a rewards system – meaning the more you purchase the better the deals become – it might be a good idea to choose one which you like and then stick to that one.
If you’re looking for the cheapest possible, aim for the sites which only offer comparison, and not a direct booking feature. These sites generally provide the most comprehensive information and find the cheapest alternatives. Once again, most of them will provide the same prices. Worth noting is that Hipmunk and Momondo have been praised for the ease and simplicity of each website’s graphical interface.
Tips and Tricks
- Booking an entire trip in one place – on a site such as Expedia or Kayak – may allow you to take part in package deals, whereby the total sum of the trip is reduced.
- Go to the airline’s own website after finding a flight route which you like. This can only be done if all legs of the route are with the same airline. It is often both easier and cheaper to book via the airline directly!
- When trying to decide between flights, jump on over to Hopper.com, a site which compares the extra airline fees – for example for overweight luggage or meals.
- We all know that prices go up and down in a matter of hours, and knowing exactly the right time to buy is practically impossible. That’s where FareCast.com comes in to save the day! This site lets you input a deal from another website, and then advises you to either “wait” or “buy now”!
- Seatguru.com gives a comparison of how comfortable the seats and general atmosphere of different airlines are. Pretty neat!
- Hipmunk.com, other than being a regular compare & booking site, also allows you to sort the results based on “agony”. This takes into account only the negative customers reviews, giving a completely different perspective!
- Skyscanner.com has a function where you can set the end destination as “Everywhere”; therefore, you can easily see which price categories a range of destinations fall into for a certain period of time!
Don’t forget this often-forgotten essential: Travel Insurance
Like the majority of us, I often go ahead booking flights, hotels, car rental, and restaurants without giving a second thought to one of the most important bookings of all: travel insurance. It’s only human to find booking a table at a restaurant with a mouth-watering menu more exciting than purchasing a travel insurance policy. However, the benefits of purchasing that travel insurance policy far exceed those of eating a yummy meal. In fact, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance before you make any other bookings for your trip. Some clauses in travel insurance policies actually require that the policy be purchased before the booking in order for the policy to cover the said booking. The best part is that purchasing travel insurance can be 100% hassle-free!
Visit our website and download the PolicyPal app today! You can purchase and compare policies from multiple insurers directly in the app. Once you’ve made a purchase, the policy details will automatically be stored in the app so that you can view them anytime, anywhere!
What’s more, you can get 5% cashback from your purchase, so get your trip covered at affordable price with PolicyPal this summer!