Many travel websites advertise cheap tickets, but too many options can be overwhelming. GOBankingRates reviewed some of the top travel deals sites to learn what sets them apart — and explored how to use them to get the best deals. Check out the results and pick the best site to help you save money on travel.
Airfare Deals From Travel Websites
Deciding which is the best site for flights is often a matter of personal preference, so it makes sense to conduct some research. Check out these sites and decide if any might work for you when you’re ready to book a vacation.
You can also employ some tricks to maximize savings: Use your web browser’s privacy mode — like Google Chrome’s Incognito — to prevent the site’s algorithm from recording your interest and raising prices. Many of the best travel sites also have social media accounts — following them can enable you to access special offers and flight deals.
Key feature: Explore feature lets you search trips by budget
Kayak Explore lets you set your travel budget and your departure city and view available destinations that come in at or under budget, thanks to cheap flights. Kayak enables you to learn about affordable, fascinating places to visit that you might never have considered otherwise.
Key features: Personalized recommendations, agony score
Professional travel agents sometimes still give advice about where to travel as well as the best way to get there, but nowadays, even the best airfare sites typically can’t — or won’t — give that kind of advice. Hipmunk not only offers information on flight deals, it provides personalized recommendations via email, Facebook Messenger, Skype and Slack.
Hipmunk’s agony score can also be helpful if you’re concerned about issues beyond the cost of a ticket. The metric takes into consideration the flight’s length, its cost and how many stops you must endure along the way, all of which contribute to travel agony.
Key feature: Ability to scan entire month to find the best fares
If you want to use the best website for flights within a specific month, check out SkyScanner. Pick your month, designate your departure city and you’ll see a map that shows you available destinations — and available cheap tickets. The online map alone is enough to provide inspiration and the deals are often excellent if you can adjust your dates accordingly.
Key features: Option to name your own price, package deals
It’s hard to decide which is the best site for cheap flights because they’re all so different — and some are so new. Priceline, however, has been around since 1997, and you can still find great travel deals through it. You can still “name your price” and bid on hotel rooms, or you can check out “Express Deals” for straightforward discounts on accommodations. You can also search for cars, flights, cruises and package deals.
Key feature: Search travel products from multiple sites, airlines and travel providers
You’ll find listings from most of the major travel discount sites as well those operated by travel vendors, like airlines. The listings enable you to compare prices and make your choice, and the site also offers an app so you can check out offers while you’re on the go.
Key feature: Free cancellation within 12 hours
If you prefer to book travel by phone, SmartFares offers live support 24/7. In fact, its reservation agents are privy to unpublished fares, so it might make sense to call even after you’ve searched the site.
Key features: Multiple destinations search, bundle deals, loyalty program
You can search Expedia flights for multiple destinations, and you can also get information about baggage fees, which can be fierce these days. The site’s loyalty program, Expedia+, lets you earn points on booked travel you can redeem as credit toward future travel. Higher tiers in the program entitle guests to special perks, including free drinks, spa credits and breakfasts at select hotels.
Key feature: Unpublished fare information, travel credit card analysis, personal touch
AirfareWatchdog is different from many discount travel sites because it has human analysts reviewing travel deals and providing information about things like an unpublished flight sale, the best credit card for earning miles, and travel-related issues. Although this is definitely an e-commerce site, it also has the feel of a personal website or blog.
Key feature: Allows users to search and track flights
Google Flights isn’t a traditional travel deals site: Google doesn’t sell travel, but you can book your flight through one of its travel partners directly through the Google Flights interface. You can also research and track flights so you can monitor costs and book accordingly. Google will send you emails or text messages when a flight price changes, a fare is about to expire or a fare might go up.
Next Up: The Real Cost of ‘Cheap’ Flights