Travelling offers many unique opportunities and lifelong memories, but the costs can be sky-high! Nowadays, it’s often best to use a booking site to find the best deals. Because there are so many options, the sites you choose should fit your preferred method for searching/filtering deals and should also frequently offer the best prices. Here are some lesser-known sites to try next time you’re looking for a cheaper flight or hotel room.
Like everything else Google-related, Google Flights delivers lots of detailed information without many frills. Booking airfare through this site allows you to quickly see how different routes, days, and times will impact the price of your flights. If you’re a bit flexible in your travel dates and specific route (especially for longer distances), Google Flights will help you find the perfect combination for the lowest price.
Kayak is a travel deal aggregator that covers both hotels and flights (along with cruises, vacation packages, car rentals, and more). It’s your best one-stop-shop bet for finding good deals. After inputting your travel information, Kayak searches hundreds of other travel websites (including other discount booking sites) to return the best deals. Their published average discount rate relies on consistently displaying the best option, even if that comes from a competitor’s site.
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Another deal aggregator, Travelzoo operates like Kayak and displays deals from various booking sites, including competitors. Travelzoo’s weekly Top 20 email is a great way to scan for the best upcoming deals if your travel plans are flexible. So, this site is an excellent option for various trips, both scheduled and spontaneous!
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
If you’re looking for boutique hotels and unique travel experiences—but at a discount—Mr. & Mrs. Smith is your booking best friend. This site won’t display deals for the major hotel chains or motels/hostels/etc. Still, it does return results for some of the best-hidden gems in any given destination. Hotels must be invited to join the database here and only get included once they’re reviewed by “secret shoppers” for the site. That means you can have confidence that you’re getting a high-quality stay.
Word of Caution
While these booking sites are often the best choice, be aware of a few pitfalls. First, discount booking sites may not display all available options at a given hotel or on an airline. For example, they may not display some available seat options on a flight or all package deals from a hotel. If you’d like to truly view all available options, compare what you find on a booking site with the direct company before making a choice.
Second, make sure you include all of the booking fees into your final price calculation; some sites don’t show these fees on the price they display and only sneak it into the last line before you click “confirm.” These booking fees could make your final price higher than a different service.
Finally, become familiar with cancellation and change policies related to the site, hotel, and airline. For example, some hotels won’t let you change your reservation for free if you’ve booked through a third-party site. So, if there’s a good chance you’ll need to adjust plans, booking directly through the hotel might be your best bet.
With a bit of work, you can snag a great deal on hotels and airfare using these sites, so don’t forget to check them for your next trip!