What are the best websites for booking a flight? With the world wide web, you can be your own travel agent. The big question is where do you start with so many choices? Typically, when planning a holiday, the first order of business is picking a destination. Once you know your destination the next step is booking your flight. We say typically because sometimes my husband and I will take a last-minute holiday and we choose our destination based on airfare prices.
So, what are the best sites? The answer can vary depending on your preferences and desires. Do you want the best price, do you want to see prices over 3 days, do you want flexibility to pick times and alternative airports, do you want to combine airfare with accommodations, car rental, or activities to create a vacation package?
Travel websites are very robust with most offering: The ability to choose airline, stops, flight duration, and time of day; fare alerts; Multiple Destination search; Student fares; comparison against other sites; and sorting options such as price and duration. We choose most flights based on trip length (how long to get to destination), layover length, number of stops, and price. We will pay a little extra for fewer stops. More stops will put you at a higher risk for cancellations or delays. If one of your flights is delayed, you could miss a connecting flight.
So, what are our favorite websites?
Momondo – we normally find some of the lowest prices on Momondo. Some of the things we love about their website are:
- A graph located at the top shows 20 days of flight prices
- Ability to choose price based on Cheapest, Quickest, or Best
- Take me anywhere option which shows best destinations for your dates. NOTE: Skyscanner offers an Everywhere option
- Good mobile app
Airline Websites – We normally use Momondo first to see which airlines are offering the cheapest flights. Then we go directly to the airlines website to look for flights. I would say about 90% of the time we book direct with the airline. If you are only saving $20 by booking with a search engine then DON’T! Make sure the savings are substantial. TIP: Most airlines will offer better customer service in the event of a delay, cancellation, or missed flight when you book directly with them. Plus, you can earn miles for future trips. Not all airlines will issue miles for travel booked through a travel website.
Hipmunk – We just love the chipmunk. Like Momondo we feel we find better deals on Hipmunk. Here are a few other things we like about their website:
- See the times of the flights on a graph at the top
- Displays the flight in a bar that shows you the layover city
- You can select one leg at a time instead of an entire flight option
- Displays the price if you depart 1 day earlier / also option to show flexible dates which displays 3 days prior or post.
- Good mobile app
Because the travel industry giants keep buying or merging, you could be searching 4 or more different websites that are all owned by the same company:
Interesting fact: Expedia, Inc. owns Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, trivago, Venere, Travelocity, Orbitz, and HomeAway. The Priceline Group owns Priceline, Kayak, and Booking.com, Momondo Group, and Agoda. (Rumer has it that Priceline Group wants to purchase TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor Group operates TripAdvisor, Airfarewatchdog, BookingBuddy, FlipKey, GateGuru, SeatGuru, Tingo, Tripbod, VacationHomeRentals, and Viator.
If you would love stopovers on your outbound or inbound flight then check out Airwander.
TIP: Not all airlines show up in flight search engines. Checkout how to use Wikipedia to know what airlines service your desired airports. Wiki-it
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