Think back to the last time you booked a flight. It was listed at one price the first time you searched, and then double the amount the very next day. Prices for travel can be volatile, but don’t let that discourage you. Planning a getaway doesn’t have to break the bank!
We have compiled the leading travel websites for flights and accommodations - saving you not only time and money, but your sanity as well.
KAYAK is the most comprehensive and user-friendly travel search engine out there. Simply enter your destination and desired dates and then sit back as KAYAK checks multiple websites to compare all available airfares.
After entering your desired search, a new window will pop up with a list of top results. They will be sorted by Recommended flights, but you can adjust this setting to sort by Cheapest, Quickest, Earliest Takeoff, Latest Takeoff, Earliest Landing, or Latest Landing. You can also narrow down your results on the left side of the window by filtering by Number of Stops, Times, Duration, Airlines, Length of Layover and Price.
If you are flexible in your travel dates, the “Flexible 3-day, Weekend or Month” search tool can help stack on the savings. This feature is found in the left side of the calendar drop-down box. On the homepage, KAYAK also gives “Recommendations” and “Popular Destinations” based on your current location. These are typically for last minute deals and specific locations so you have to be adaptable in your plans.
The “Fee Assistant” is another useful feature which adds any baggage fees in your search results, since they can vary between airlines. The “Our Advice” feature analyzes past and current prices. It recommends if you should “buy now” or “watch” airfares based on if they are predicted to rise or fall over the next week. You can choose to get price alerts by email to keep you informed about the prime time to buy.
If you see the label “Hacker Fare” on a listing, this means that KAYAK has found a deal based on round-trip options made up of one-way flights from two different airlines. This is a great way to save on your flight, but be aware that you have less protection if there is a cancellation in one of your flights.
If you don’t have a specific destination in mind, KAYAK Explore will narrow down all the places in the world to your specific criteria. Search by departure airport and set a range you are willing to spend then pick a month or season and out pops a map with pins showing a where to fly. You can also choose a theme that interest you such as Romantic Escapes, Amazing Beaches, Family Friendly Cities, Natural Wonders, and more.
If you want to organize all your trip plans in one spot, KAYAK trips does just that. Use this tool to track prices, create itineraries for upcoming trips and share your plans with friends and family. You can add your trip manually or connect your inbox to import booking receipts and this feature will work its magic. Once your flights are added, you will get real-time updates for check-in, flight status, airport security wait times and gate changes. This is all available on the app for easy access on-the-go.
KAYAK is truly a one-stop travel deals shop!
Also try: SkyScanner to get a “Whole Month” graph to quickly and visually find the best days and months to fly.
Skiplagged claims: “We’re better at finding cheap flights than anyone else – so good, United Airlines actually sued us for it.” They won this battle and continue to offer a unique service that uncovers loopholes in airfare.
Skiplagged takes advantage of "hidden city" fares. These are instances when it is cheaper to book a flight with a connection, and then never actually take the second leg of the trip. You instead stay in the “layover” city.
Although a great resource for finding deals, Skiplagged does come with its limitations. You should only use this site to book one-way trips because if you skip a leg of a round-trip, the airline cancels the rest of your trip (Meaning you will also often miss out on frequent flyer points for an invalidated trip). You can’t check bags or they will end up in the final destination. You also can't book the flight through Skiplagged itself and will have to go directly to the airlines website when you uncover the deal.
Note: Proceed with caution. Although completely legal, it may be against an airline’s rules and regulations and the “contract of carriage,” which states that you shouldn’t miss a flight on purpose.
Also try: Air Wander is a great tool to add cheap stopovers to any flight (to spend over 24 hours in the city - longer than a layover)
Scott’s Cheap Flights
Scott's Cheap Flights helps uncover the airline’s mistakes to find the cheapest international flights out there.
It’s super simple. Enter your email address and Scott’s sends a regular newsletter when they uncover great deals. You receive them quickly - before they disappear.
This service is free, but you can upgrade to a premium newsletter for $39 a year. This gives you access to 70% more deals and the ability to customize your subscription to only be sent flights from specific airports. Scott’s Cheap Flights has saved subscribers a whopping $1,188,752 to date!
If you ever find yourself thinking… “Where should I go in June?,” Fareness is your solution. This site is a great option to help you make a decision in a vast world of travel possibilities!
Fareness looks at trip planning from a different perspective. If you are unsure when and where you want to go, you can input wide range of destinations and time frames, and instantly find the lowest fares.
Choose a general region or theme plus a month and then Fareness will provide results which you can then narrow down to specifics like dates, airlines, etc. This helps provide insight into what might be the best trip at the best time based on flight pricing. Clicking on a deal brings up a scrollable calendar that allows you to compare prices across dates and months.
Also try: Deal Ray for instant text alerts on the best airfare deals - to grab them before anyone else. Members save an average of $428 per deal!
Booking.com features over 600,000 properties worldwide. It is recognized for its wide range of accommodation options from hotels and hostels to apartments, 5-star resorts and vacation homes.
The perks of Booking.com over other accommodation search engines are numerous. They eliminate booking fees, allow free cancellation on most rooms, offer a best price guarantee, and you can “book now, pay later” at check in.
Booking.com is said to return twice the results of other online booking agencies and consistently shows the lowest price options. If you become a member, you can unlock even more exclusive deals.
You can also see unbiased reviews from guests that have stayed at the properties to make the most informed booking decisions.
Also try: Hotels Combined which searches up to 30 booking engines at once and displays competing prices for each property.
Jetsetter provides insider access, expert knowledge, and exclusive deals on the world’s highest quality hotels and travel experiences.
This site allows you to book with ease and confidence. Accommodations are labeled in tiers to fit your needs. “Royal” properties are luxury and high service. “Posh” are a middle range option. “Brilliant” are accessible properties at a great value. You can uncover limited-time sales on hotels and tours at up to 40%.for 5 to 10 days out.
The “Wanderlists” feature can inspire your next adventure. With a collection of over 150,000 travel photos, you are able to save photos you love and then create and share your Wanderlist with friends.
Also try: Hotel Tonight helps to find hot last minute deals. Unsold rooms are aggregated on the app at a discounted rate and you can choose to stay tonight, tomorrow or next week.
Airbnb offers all the comforts of home at a fraction of the price.
Airbnb was built on a community of sharing - both of physical space and of local knowledge. You will get a much more personalized experience from your stay, since you are typically renting a private place, rather than a hotel room. You can start your search by location and price, then then further refine results by Room type (entire place, private room or shared room), Size (number of bedrooms, bathrooms and/or beds), Amenities, Property type, and more.
Short-term lodging options on AirBnb include holiday cottages, studio apartments, homestays and sometimes even houseboats, castles or treehouses!
The site now also offers “Experiences” which are excursions or other activities designed and led by local hosts. These can be one day experiences or immersions over multiple days. You can also make reservations at popular restaurants in the area.
More Money Saving Tips
- Always search for flights in a private or incognito browser so the site isn’t tracking any information (cookies). Prices will increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched. To enable incognito in Google Chrome or Safari, hit Command or Control + Shift + “N”. For Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, hit Command or Control + Shift + “P”.
- Consider budget airlines. They offer significantly cheaper tickets but you will need to compromise on added baggage fees, less leg room and no “free” food/drink on-board. And always read the fine print on the airline's requirements & restrictions. Examples in the USA include: Allegiant Air, Frontier, Spirit Airlines, WOW Air and Jetblue.
- Use those awards - practically free money. Award Wallet keeps track of all your frequent-flier miles, hotel and credit points in one place.
Now that we have equipped you with the tools you need to effectively plan that next getaway, join our Facebook Community, For the Love of Travel to swap more tips and tricks. Promise we’re a good time!