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Best Travel Sites

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by ConsumerAffairs Research Team

Consumers no longer need travel agents to find the best travel deals and options. Travelers are taking advantage of travel sites to book trips—globally travelers spent about half a trillion dollars on travel booked online in 2015.

Travel sites offer discounts, price guarantees and travel guides that can help all travelers book with confidence. Consumers may find they get the best deal by visiting multiple sites, or they may find a site they like and use it exclusively.

Compare Reviews for Top Travel Sites

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BookIt.com
Read 6355 Reviews

With a focus on interface design, BookIt.com strives to offer travelers the most intuitive online travel services available. Their easy-to-navigate website makes booking hotels, airfare and rental cars quick and easy.

CheapOair
Read 5416 Reviews

CheapOair is a simple-to-use vacation planner that includes search engines for hotels, flights, car rentals and package deals. The system automatically compares costs from several companies to find the very best deal.

Tours4Fun
Read 614 Reviews

With Tours4Fun, you can search any destination in the Americas, Europe or Australia and find a complete list of travel tours that include your chosen city. Fine-tune your search with preferences like walking or biking.

Booking.com
Read 2698 Reviews

Booking.com is a website that helps travelers find discounted rooms in hotels, villas and apartments around the world. Members can place and cancel reservations through the site instead of contacting hotels directly.

Expedia
Read 3983 Reviews

Expedia is an online travel agency founded by Microsoft in 2001. The site helps people find and schedule diverse travel services, including car rentals, flights and hotels. It also recommends activities in destination cities.

OneTravel
Read 911 Reviews

Onetravel.com is a travel website where people can search for flights, hotels, cars and vacation packages online, with many of the services offered at discounted prices. The site has featured deals within set price ranges.

Priceline
Read 3268 Reviews

Priceline is a website that helps people find travel deals offered by other travel companies, including hotels, airlines and cruise lines. Priceline users can create their own vacation packages by combining services.

TripAdvisor
Read 656 Reviews

With more than 250 million reviews about over 5.2 million restaurants, attractions and accommodations worldwide, TripAdvisor.com combines information from hundreds of websites to offer the best hotel prices available.

Hotels.com
Read 2296 Reviews

Hotels.com is an online travel agency that specializes in helping people find and book reservations at hotels, condos, bed and breakfasts and more. The company was founded in 1991 and joined Expedia Inc. in 2002.

Airbnb
Read 225 Reviews

Founded in 2008, Airbnb helps travelers find affordable, unique accommodations around the world. You can book or list a stay online or through the Airbnb mobile app. You can also book experiences like tours and activities.

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What features should you look for in a travel site?

Travel discounts

Travel sites often offer discounts to attract more customers. Investigate these common options to make travel services affordable.

  • Bundle discounts: Take advantage of bundled discounts if you need flight, car rental and hotel reservation services.
  • Mobile app discounts: Using a travel site's mobile app may give you access to exclusive discounts on hotels, air travel, car rentals and other services.
  • Membership discounts: Use membership discounts to save money on travel services and reservations.
  • Loyalty rewards: Look for loyalty programs that will reward you when you book travel services through that website.

Booking services

Many travel sites partner with airlines, hotels, rental car agencies and other companies so customers can book all the services they need in one place.

  • Flights: Search flights from hundreds of domestic and international airlines.
  • Accommodations: Find accommodations at hotels and resorts or even private short-term rentals.
  • Rental cars: Compare rental car options to get the car you want at a reasonable price.
  • Vacation packages: Vacation packages bundle several services together to make booking a trip convenient and affordable.

Travel guides

Guides published by travel sites can help you choose destinations and activities that will make your trip more enjoyable. Some travel guides may match your needs more than others.

  • City guides: With city guides, you can get an overview of destination cities. They usually focus on urban areas like New York City, London and Paris, but some include smaller places, too.
  • Hotel reviews: Use hotel reviews to learn about what other people encountered during their travels. Some reviews are written by experts, but others are written by travelers who want to share their experiences.
  • Restaurant reviews: Restaurant reviews will help you choose eateries that offer good services as well as excellent foods.
  • Activities and events: Reading about activities and events can help you decide when you want to visit a city and what you will do once you reach your destination.

Price guarantees

It can be hard to commit to one website when you know how many deals are out there and how often they change. That's why many travel sites offer price guarantees.

  • Price matches: Price match guarantees ensure that you will get the lowest possible price even if another company has a cheaper offer. For instance, a site may lower its price if members find cheaper options from other companies.
  • Refunds: If you have already paid for your travel services, then many sites will issue refunds to match another company's price.
  • Rebates: Some travel websites will give you rebates that you can use on future services.
  • Payments: When you find a lower offer, some travel sites will pay you a small fee in addition to matching the competitor's price.

Convenience

Convenience is one of the most important features that a travel site can offer. The specific features that you get, however, will vary among companies.

  • Travel planning: Planning a trip is often easier when travel sites give you tools to review multiple offers and coordinate travel times.
  • Hotel comparisons: Tools to help you compare your options will make it easier for you to choose accommodations that are right for you.
  • Payments: Some sites provide travel information and offers, but you have to visit another company's website to pay for services. Others will let you make payments directly through their site.
  • Meta searches: By offering meta searches, a website can show you offers from a wider range of companies. That makes it more convenient for you to compare offers to get the best possible price.
  • Convenience fees: Some travel sites earn money by charging convenience fees when visitors book or pay for services online. Others collect money from service providers like airlines, hotels and rental agencies.

Mobile apps

Many travel sites have developed mobile apps that give travelers secure access to their online accounts. Look for companies that offer these and download the apps before going on your trip.

  • Planning: Mobile apps make it easy for travelers to make new plans even while they are on their trips.
  • Itineraries: Using a mobile app to review your travel itinerary will help ensure that you experience everything you wanted during your trip.
  • Payments: Mobile apps are often the most secure way to pay for services while traveling.
  • Guides: When you have spare time, use mobile travel guides to find interesting destinations near you.

What are the different types of travel sites?

Discount travel sites

Discount travel sites gather deals from other companies to help travelers find lower prices on flights, car rentals, hotel rooms and other travel necessities. In many cases, customers cannot make reservations through the travel site.

Booking travel sites

Booking travel sites do more than just help people find travel services online. They also let them book services directly through the websites.

Vacation package sites

Vacation package sites let customers bundle travel services so they can qualify for bigger discounts.

Who uses travel sites?

Budget travelers

Budget travelers are people who want to spend as little money as possible while they explore the world. Though they want discounts, they also want to enjoy some of the best things that cities offer.

Luxury travelers

Luxury travelers are willing to spend extra money on hotel suites, business class airplane seats and other travel services. These travelers are usually more concerned with enjoying themselves than with how much money they spend.

International travelers

International travelers need websites that can help them reach destinations outside their home countries. They may want to use travel sites with connections to hotels, airlines and rental car companies all over the world.

Domestic travelers

Domestic travelers need sites that let them focus on deals within their own countries.

Expert reviews for travel sites

BookIt.com

BookIt.com is an online travel agency based in Panama City Beach, Florida. The company focuses on helping travelers find deals in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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CheapOair

CheapOair was founded in New York City in 2005 to help travelers book flights, hotel rooms and rental cars. About 20 million people visit the website each month.

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TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is one of the world's largest travel websites. It primarily relies on user-generated content to help travelers choose destinations and activities that interest them.

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Booking.com

Booking.com is an Amsterdam-based company founded in 1996. Unlike most travel companies, it focuses exclusively on helping travelers reserve rooms.

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Orbitz

Orbitz is an online travel website owned by Expedia Inc. It was founded in 2001 and acquired by Expedia in 2015.

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Hotwire

Hotwire is a San Francisco-based company that helps travelers find discounted rates on a wide range of services, including flights, car rentals and hotel rooms.

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Travelocity

Travelocity is a Dallas-based travel company owned by Sabre Corporation, a travel technology company that has been in business since 1960.

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Hotels.com

Hotels.com is a website dedicated to helping travelers find lodging at hotels, motels and resorts. It lists deals from over 325,000 hotels around the world.

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Priceline

Priceline is a Connecticut-based company that helps travelers find discounted rates offered by a wide range of travel businesses, including hotels and airlines.

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OneTravel

OneTravel is a Pennsylvania-based travel website that was started in the mid-1990s.

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CheapTickets

CheapTickets is an online travel company owned by Orbitz Worldwide Inc. Its focus is helping leisure travelers find rental cars, cruises, accommodations and airline tickets.

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Expedia

Founded in 1996, Expedia is one of the oldest online travel companies. It was created by a team at Microsoft.

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KAYAK

KAYAK is a search engine that connects travelers to services offered by travel agencies all over the world. It was founded in 2004 and acquired by the Priceline Group in 2013.

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Jetsetter

Jetsetter is a members-only travel community that offers exclusive deals and insider guides to destinations all over the world. It was purchased by TripAdvisor in 2013.

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trivago

trivago is a metasearch engine that helps people browse deals from over 900,000 hotels around the world.

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Hipmunk

hipmunk is a travel website that attracts more than 130,000 visitors each month. It is known for organizing results in a highly visual manner that helps people choose options that are right for them.

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Travelzoo

Travelzoo has connections to more than 2,000 travel and entertainment companies to give tourists access to fun activities as well as travel services.

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Airbnb

Airbnb is a marketplace for people to list or find accommodations around the world. People list their homes or apartment online, and people rent them for a listed rate and time. The company was founded in 2008 in San Francisco, California, and now Airbnb has users and listings in over 65,000 cities in more than 190 countries.

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Compare Reviews for Top Travel Sites

Hotwire
Read 1258 Reviews

Founded in 2000, Hotwire.com is a discount travel agency that lets individuals research and reserve travel services online. Hotwire.com became a part of Expedia in 2005, but it still maintains its original website.

Travelocity
Read 1333 Reviews

Travelocity is a website that lets travelers search for discounted prices on hotels, flights, cars and cruises. It was the first website to let people search and book reservations without going through travel agents.

Travelzoo
Read 26 Reviews

People trust that all travel sites are listing the best deals available. With Travelzoo.com, vacationers can rest assured that they are getting a true deal thanks to travel experts who confirm each and every deal.

Orbitz
Read 1059 Reviews

Orbitz gives travelers a direct way to research and book travel services. Available services include flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and activities. Members can also bundle services to save up to $775 on travel plans.

trivago
Read 61 Reviews

As the largest hotel search engine with over 120 million world travelers and counting, Trivago gives users a chance to compare hotel prices from more than 250 booking sites and over one million worldwide hotels.

Hipmunk
Read 18 Reviews

Hipmunk.com searches thousands of travel websites instantly for great prices and also displays Amtrak schedules and Airbnb accommodations, ensuring that customers find the best deal on hotels and vacation rentals.

CheapTickets
Read 496 Reviews

Cheaptickets.com is a travel service website founded in 1986. The site offers members discounts on car rentals, flights, cruises, hotels and other travel-related services. As of 2006, Orbitz is Cheaptickets.com's parent company.

KAYAK
Read 129 Reviews

An independent subsidiary of The Priceline Group, Kayak.com processes over 1 billion travel queries each year. Available in over 30 countries and 18 languages, they offer discounts on hotels, airfare and car rentals.

Jetsetter
Read 8 Reviews

Jetsetter is a high-class site that provides inside information on deals and unique experiences. Jetsetter uses over 200 journalists from the world's best publications, who then give their stamp of approval on hotels.

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ConsumerAffairs Research Team

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.