two travel booking questions
December 12, 2014 5:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm putting together some travel plans for 2015 and am considering my online travel booking options.

This boils down to two questions:

(1) What's your favorite travel booking site? I've been researching on Kayak and booking on Travelocity (forever, and for no good reason) but I'm wondering if there are different and better options.

(2) What's the best way/site to use for travel where date and price are the most important criteria? As in, for example, I want to travel March 6-9 from my home airport, but am open to many destinations based on price.

posted by trixie119 to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Google's Flight Explorer is amazing for number 2.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:50 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Honestly? I use Orbitz to see what the cheap flights are, but then I book the whole thing directly through the airline. Specifically American Airlines. This link will take you to the deals page.

Once you get the airfare, the airline can offer amazing deals on rental cars and hotels. Like STUPID good. Once we went to New York, and got a suite at the Essex House for $430 a night. I'm talking gorgeous freaking suite at the Essex House. That usually goes for $2000 a night! It was awesome.

American Airlines has the same deals as Travelocity, but there's a huge difference in getting resolution on issues, should they arise.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:56 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like Hipmunk for flight planning.
posted by neushoorn at 5:58 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Where are you traveling? Internationally? Some websites are geared toward international travel, so some of my suggestions might not help you out if you're traveling domestic.

I always check first, as it's the easiest to use and browse through dates. It also does #2 for you. But other good sites are Kayak, Vayama, Skyscanner, Momondo, and Airfarewatchdog.

Websites like Cheapoair also exist if you want to find unusual flights for cheap. This would usually include a long layover somewhere.
posted by signondiego at 6:00 AM on December 12, 2014

Best answer: Matrix Airfare Search is really nice in that it's super configurable and you can put in a bunch of airports on each end, so if you're like me and have three airports you can reasonably fly in and out of, you can check them all at once and save some time (of course, sometimes you get funky results where it wants you to fly out of one airport and back into another... which can be money saving if you can do that, but.) You can't book through Matrix, though, so I take the flight numbers and book straight through the airlines.
posted by joycehealy at 6:08 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: is my best now for researching various locations when you know your available dates. The interface is really intuitive and their zoomable map is the best I've seen for showing you the entire world at once.

Regardless, you should definitely be booking directly with airlines, no matter which sites you're using to research. I learned this the hard way after Expedia failed to tell me that my 5:30am flight out of Tunis was cancelled completely, which led to being stranded for a 36-hour period in Rome without luggage. Booking directly with airlines removes a level of unnecessary bureaucracy whose communications could fail.

For hotels, I use TripAdvisor and and then, again, book directly with the hotels. Especially with smaller boutique places and B&Bs, you are likely to get a lower rate by booking direct.
posted by something something at 6:20 AM on December 12, 2014

Another recommendation for booking directly with the airline once you use some other site (I usually use Hipmunk) to research.

I was recently looking at flights for a trip on Hipmunk. The only option Hipmunk showed for my return flight at the lowest price was very late in the evening — not ideal, but I could live with it. When I went to the airline's website to actually book it, they had a midday return flight — just what I wanted — at the same price.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:38 AM on December 12, 2014

I search for flights with Kayak, mostly, and often book directly with the airline on their site, for reasons listed above.

To get flight ideas starting from a location: Kayak Explore.

For hotels: I use TripAdvisor or a site like, whichever has more info for the region. I usually book on the hotel's site unless one of the travel sites has a clearly cheaper rate.

To track it all: TripIt.
posted by ceiba at 7:43 AM on December 12, 2014

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