The definitive guide to the best travel booking sites on the Internet

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Even in the most idyllic circumstances, planning a trip can be a bit of a hassle. At the beginning you need to find out exactly where to go, book your ticket, find accommodation and then, of course, last but not least, figure out how to pay for it all. It’s stressful enough to wonder if all that rest and relaxation at the other end is worth it at all.

To make it a little easier, you have probably approached an online travel agency (OTA) on at least one occasion. For the uninitiated, OTAs are different from aggregators (although you can find several of them here). While aggregators are efficient search engines that populate data from other sites – including OTA – OTAs serve as an intermediary between hotels, airlines and consumers and often bring quite good deals. Aggregators can also be a good source, but they also tend to achieve more fragmented results and potential travel fraud.

This means that we went ahead and compared some of the more popular OTAs and aggregators – most of which you probably know – side by side. Below are the top seven for what they are used for and also what they are possible not best for.

Expedia is a complete OTA service owned and operated by Expedia Group. Expedia aims to help travelers book trips by offering a wide range of vacation packages, flights, hotels, vacation rentals, cruises, activities, attractions and services at the best price.

advantages: For starters, Expedia actually has its own built-in multi-level points system – which is probably the biggest disadvantage of using OTA as opposed to the hotel or airline’s website. (Other OTAs usually do not have this feature.) Join them for free and earn points for all eligible bookings as well as double the points through the app. In addition, silver members will receive two points for every $ 1 spent on eligible reservations, while gold members will receive three points for every $ 1 spent. Expedia also allows you to pay for your vacation in monthly installments.

Cons: Not all bookings are refundable and you are likely to encounter cancellation fees outside of the first 24 hours after booking. You are not guaranteed the best deals every time – prices are often only average. And as with all other OTAs, the probability of getting an update of any kind is exponentially lower.

Booking.com is a Dutch OTA and is part of Booking Holdings Inc. – a leader in online travel and related services. According to her website, it is a market that allows real estate around the world to reach a global audience and grow their business and where you can book experiences, various transport options and more than 6.2 million homes, apartments and other unique places to stay.

advantages: Booking.com is good for considering flight options because it generates a wealth of results and divides them into three categories – best, cheapest and fastest. It is very easy to browse and easily find accommodation for a business trip (there is literally a box that you can check). OpenTable is part of the same parent company, so you can book dinner via OpenTable via Booking.com. In addition, there is a price matching guarantee; and not all facilities at Booking.com require a deposit before your stay. The Genius loyalty program is free and offers, among other benefits, discounted stays.

Cons: Since Booking.com and Priceline (below) are also owned by the same parent company, the results are almost always the same. You are also less likely to get upgrades of any kind and cannot earn points through hotels. In addition, it does not always suit private landlords as it should.

Kayak is a travel agent or aggregator that also owns and operates Booking Holdings Inc. According to its website, Kayak searches hundreds of other travel sites at the same time to find the information you need “to make the right decisions about flights, hotels and car rentals.”

advantages: Like Booking.com, Kayak generates many flight options and separates them according to the best, cheapest and fastest. You can set alerts to track prices over time. They also have an in-house guide to travel restrictions by country, and the kayak trip planner is a great resource for organizing.

Cons: The kayak relies heavily on third-party booking sites and the lowest prices are not guaranteed. It’s just a search engine, so there is no reward system. And you can’t book directly through Kayak.

As already mentioned, Priceline is also part of Booking Holdings Inc. This is OTA, which is used to search for discount rates on all travel-related purchases – including airfare and hotel stays – which originally became known in the early years by allowing passengers to name their own price by submitting an offer.

advantages: You can get significant discounts through Priceline’s Express Deal. There is also a free four-tier membership program with benefits including discounts, best price guarantees and Express Deal coupons. There are a few other really good offers available only in the app.

Cons: Because there are many ways you can save (VIP offers, tonight offers only, express offers, mobile offers, road offers, etc.), navigation can be a bit challenging. In addition, you cannot collect points through hotels and it yields almost identical results as Booking.com.

Hotels.com is an OTA and affiliate Expedia with one of the widest selection of accommodation on the web, independent and large chains worldwide. On its website, Hotels.com is the “single source for shopping, amenities and hotel availability.”

advantages: Hotels.com has a really good rewards program (for every ten nights you get one night free). And members of the rewards will gain access to “secret prizes.”

Cons: You cannot earn points through hotels. Even worse, you have to pay taxes and fees for your “free” stay for one night. In addition, prices are often only average.

Dallas-based Travelocity is reportedly the most popular OTA owned by Expedia Inc. Travelocity provides travelers with access to a range of travel-related services, holiday packages, destination-specific information, as well as airline, hotel and car rental options. reservations.

advantages: Trevelocity members receive special rates. And you’ll save even more if you book a hotel and a flight together. There is also a 24-hour lowest price guarantee.

Cons: Unfortunately, you can’t earn points through hotels. And membership rates are only available in some hotels. There are also some ambiguous cancellation conditions.

Another subsidiary of Expedia Group, Orbitz, is Chicago-based OTA, which allows consumers to easily search and book flights and combinations of hotel and holiday packages.

advantages: Orbitz has a 24-hour lowest price guarantee. There are a few other really good offers available only in the app. It also has one of the better OTA rewards programs (you can earn Orbucks, which is the equivalent of $ 1 from your next purchase). In addition, you can save more if you book a hotel and a flight together. And Orbitz membership provides access to exclusive rates.

Cons: Unfortunately, you can’t earn points through hotels. And the prices are often average. In addition, there is no price comparison tool and you can only earn Orbucks in prepaid hotels.

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