Travel Site Reviews
The Best Travel Sites
A vacation is something you want to make sure you’re paying for exactly what you get, and that means booking through a website you trust. There are 15 standout companies, especially Booking.com with perks like secret deals, a smooth booking process, and discounts on places like vacation rentals and hostels.
Best Overall Site
Booking.com By providing robust tools that greatly simplify user experience, customer favorite Booking.com offers easy access to one of the widest selections of both traditional hotels and harder-to-find lodging options.
We award Booking.com with our pick for best travel site for their usabilty, variety of accomodations and secret deals like half-off hotels for short windows of time. You are able to search for a vacation by theme and can search deals and trips for all types of accommodation, not just hotels. Their highly rated mobile app falls just shy of 5 stars, and these feelings are also true of customer opinion, scoring the best in overall customer satisfaction across the board.
Best last-minute travel deal site
Priceline’s Name Your Own Price tool allows you to bid on flights, properties, rental cars and more, giving you the chance to score some serious last minute deals. If this isn’t your cup of tea, Priceline also has limited time extremely discounted specials that you can snag before they’re gone. Their partners get rid of unsold inventory so it’s likely you can find a great vacation or rental car for a lot less than you’d think.
Choosing the right travel site for you
While all of the travel sites we reviewed assist individuals with booking a vacation, certain companies have made a name for themselves by standing out in one particular area. The lists below highlight these companies and may be a good place to begin for travelers interested in a specific service.
Best Travel Sites: Summed Up
How we chose the best travel sites
We gathered a list of 31 travel websites and chose 15 of the best to review based on 73 of the most important features.
What travel site features matter and why
Flight describes the different search and filtering tools the travel site provides to help customers choose a flight. Many of these work in a similar fashion, allowing individuals to select their travel dates, type of flight, number of passengers, and cabin class. The best travel websites also give consumers the chance to further narrow down their options by price, airline, and more. This category is very important because flights can be very expensive and are often a core component of most vacation itineraries.
Best flight search options
- Airline – You can search or filter results for the airline of your choice.
- Cabin Class – You can specify whether you want to fly economy/coach, first class, or business.
- Flexible Dates – You can search flexible dates.
- Flight Price – You can search or filter for airfare in a certain price range.
- Flight Time – You can specify the flight times.
- Multi-Destination – You can search for multiple destinations.
- Non-Stop Flights – You can search or filter results for non-stop flights only.
- Number of Travelers – You can specify the number of travelers.
- One-Way – You can search for one-way flights.
- Round-Trip – You can search for round-trip flights.
- Specific Dates – You can search specific dates.
Help and Support
Help and Support refers to how customers can contact the travel website and get answers to any questions. Email and phone support are common offerings, as is social media support on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. FAQs are better suited to individuals looking to find a quick answer to a question while a knowledge base provides more detailed information on how to use the travel site. Travel blogs are another great source of useful travel-related information and most travel sites have one of these. This category is worth paying attention to because if any troubles come up while booking a travel package, quality customer support will make all the difference in how quickly the situation gets solved.
Most important help and support features
- Blog – A blog with travel advice, tips, or other travel-related content is available.
- Email – The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
- FAQs – The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
- Phone – You can contact the company by phone to get support.
- Social Media – You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.
Hotel covers the search and filtering tools used to find deals on hotels. All of the websites reviewed enable prospective customers to search for available hotels in a specific city or town during a designated time frame. Searches can be refined by choosing the proximity to major landmarks or airports or by selecting the hotel chain, rating, price, or amenities desired. Hotels are another critical part of most vacation itineraries, so this is one category that is worth paying attention to when selecting the best travel website.
Most important hotel search features
- Airport – You can search for hotels only near a specified airport.
- Amentities – You can search or filter results for hotels with certain amenities (like free Internet or pool access, etc.)
- City – You can search for hotels in a specified city.
- Exact Dates – You can search for specific check-in and check-out dates.
- Hotel Chain – You can search or filter results for a specific hotel chain.
- Hotel Price – You can search or filter for hotel rooms in a certain price range.
- Number of Rooms – You can specify the number of rooms you need.
- Rating – You can limit your search or filter results to hotels that meet certain rating criteria.
Mobile is a category dedicated to the travel website’s mobile apps. Android and Apple apps are common, and some companies have a Windows Phone app as well. These mobile tools can be used to search for and book travel deals and view the itinerary of upcoming or past trips. In addition, the top travel sites have exclusive deals available only on their mobile app, which is great for customers who are working with a smaller budget. This is a fairly important category because it allows individuals to make and change travel itineraries on the fly, but it may not be something everyone is looking for in the travel company they choose.
Most important mobile features
- Android App – An app is available for devices on the Android platform.
- Bookings – You can book flights, hotels, car rentals, or cruises using the mobile app.
- iOS – An app is available for iPhone or iPad.
- Itinerary – You can view your itinerary using the mobile app.
- Itinerary Updates – You can receive real-time updates to your travel itinerary.
- Mobile Deals – You can receive special deals exclusive to the mobile app.
- Search – You can search for flights, hotels, car rentals, or cruises using the mobile app.
- Windows Phone – An app is available for Windows Phones.
Rental Car encompasses all the search and filtering tools related to getting a deal on a rental car through the travel site. Start by selecting the city or airport where the car is needed and the pickup and drop-off dates. From there, most of the travel websites allow individuals to select the type of car desired and what car rental company they’d like to use. The best companies also help their customers save by letting them filter their results by price or entering in a discount code. This category will be very important to individuals looking to add a rental car to their travel itineraries.
Most important rental car features
- Airport – You can search for car rentals near a specified airport.
- Car Type – You can select the type of car you are interested in renting.
- City – You can search for car rentals near a specified city.
- Discount Codes – You can enter a discount code.
- Rental Company – You can limit your search to a specified rental company.
- Rental Price – You can search or filter for rental cars in a certain price range.
- Reservation Dates – You can specify the pickup and drop-off dates in your search.
Trip Selection refers to what kinds of travel deals are available on the website and the different ways consumers can search for them. Most companies enable individuals to search for flights, hotels, and rental cars. The best travel sites also have deals on cruises, vacation homes, and popular activities. Often, a targeted search is the best way to track down the right deal, but some sites have a way to browse through available trips to a particular location as well. This is a relatively important category because it gives a good overview of what kinds of services the travel website offers.
Most important trip selection features
- Advanced Search – You can narrow your search using additional characteristics not included as part of the basic search.
- Browse – The site provides a way for you to browse available trips.
- Targeted Search – You can conduct a search based on your departure location, destination, and time and date of your trip.
Vacation Packages encompasses the pre-packaged trips available for purchase on the travel website. Often, there are several complete itineraries that can be easily adjusted to suit individual needs. Companies that offer multiple types of travel deals also give customers the option to bundle services and create their own vacation package. This is a good way to save money when booking a trip. The best companies save their customers time by enabling them to browse through various destination packages or by categorizing their travel packages by theme. Some potential trip themes include family vacations, romantic getaways, and adventure travel. This category is also relatively important because, more often than not, people using travel sites are looking to get a great deal on an entire vacation package rather than just a flight or hotel.
Most important vacation package features
- Bundles – You can bundle airfare, hotel, car rental, or other bookings, often for a discounted price.
- Destinations – You can browse beach, mountain, or other types of destination packages.
- Themes – You can browse family trips, romantic getaways, casino packages, or other theme vacations.
- Travel Packages – You can browse all-inclusive packages or trips designed for families, seniors, groups, or other similar itineraries.
Account explains the special benefits and privileges of becoming a member of the travel site. In most cases, this means unlimited access to trip itineraries and emails of any price alerts or last-minute deals. The best companies also have members-only promotions, such as coupons or special discounts on travel. A few travel sites have rewards programs as well, where customers can earn free travel discounts or benefits over time. As a whole, though, this category isn’t as important because most companies are very similar in terms of how their online accounts work.
Most important account features
- Create Account – You can create a user account.
- Email Price Alerts – You can sign up to receive emails with special travel deals or other alerts.
- Itinerary – You can view your itinerary through your online account.
- Member Promotions – You receive access to special promotions available only to those with an account.
- Rewards – You can accumulate rewards that can be redeemed for travel discounts or other benefits.
Cruise contains information about the search and filtering options the travel website offers to help customers find deals on cruises. It’s common to be able to narrow down a search by destination, cruise length, and even cruise line. Most sites also give consumers the option to choose a month of travel and departure port. Ship ratings are available on some travel websites and are another thing that can be used to help narrow down the remaining options. This category won’t matter to individuals who aren’t taking a cruise, but consumers interested in this type of vacation will want to pay close attention to the Cruise category.
Most important cruise search features
- Cruise Dates – You can search or filter results based on the date.
- Cruise Length – You can search or filter results based on the length of the cruise.
- Cruise Line – You can search or filter results based on the cruise line.
- Cruise Rating – You can search or filter results for cruises that meet certain rating criteria.
- Departure Port – You can search or filter results for the departure port.
- Destination – You can search or filter results for a specific destination.
Savings explains the different ways individuals can save money when booking a vacation through the travel website. Special promotions are common and a good place to start for customers trying to find the best deal. Spontaneous travelers will want to check out the last-minute deals as well. Coupons are another way to save, though these aren’t available with every company. Most travel booking sites have a best-price guarantee, though this isn’t always true of travel search engines. In addition, some companies, particularly travel search engines, let customers compare rates with other popular travel sites in order to be sure they’re getting the best price. While these deals and discounts are always welcome, they’re not crucial to booking a trip, so they probably won’t be a deciding factor when choosing a travel site.
Most common savings
- Bidding – You can bid on airfare, hotels, car rentals, or other bookings.
- Coupons – The site offers coupons for discounts on travel-related purchases.
- Last-Minute Deals – The site provides access to last-minute deals.
- Low-Price Guarantee – The site offers a low-price guarantee.
- Rate Comparison – You can compare rates with other travel websites.
- Special Promotions – The site offers special promotions or one-time deals.