Travel websites – How I Book Travel

I am particular about how I book my travel and where I spend my money. It’s funny because I think it’s derived from the way I was brought up.  I remember as a kid, one of my chores was to mow the lawn and we had an old push lawn mower that wasn’t self propelled and weighed about as much as I did. Honestly, it probably weighed more than me when the bag was full of clippings. I remember asking my dad if we could buy a self propelled lawn mower to help me with the miniature hill in our yard and he looked me in the eyes and told me that we could. Under one condition. I had to do research and build a business case for him to justify why we had to replace our current lawn mower that was in perfect condition. This was something he did with me every time I wanted anything. Sometimes, I went through the actual process of doing the research and building the business case like when I wanted a new camera (granted, it took me about 3 years to finally stop procrastinating and hoping he’d change his mind). With my parents, it didn’t matter the cost, I could ask for something that was $500 or $10 and I would get the same response.

So those lessons and all that research I did has greatly influenced the way that I book travel now. Here are a few sites that I will check before I actually book anything.

  • Kayak: I actually start off with Kayak to do all my research before I actually commit to a location or a trip plan. I test out all scenarios for flights on where I want to go.
  • Kayak aggregated sites: I then follow the bunny trail down to all sites that Kayak recommends their flights from.
  • Airline websites: Usually Kayak will end up pulling flights from the airline sites but the way they’ve set up their roundtrip flights you have to end up booking separately so rather than going through a 3rd party site, I will start checking out those airlines the recommend.  In addition, there are many cheaper airlines that aren’t aggregated into Kayak and Expedia so I’ll check those out to do comparisons. And I would definitely recommend this for those budget airlines like RyanAir, NokAir, Norwegian Airlines, etc.
  • Expedia: After I start to narrow which flights I want to take, I’ll start looking at Expedia and see if I can get the same price flight from them. I will compare to the airline websites. I will personally choose to book on Expedia over other websites because of the app and because I have always had a great experience with them.  But sometimes the airline websites will be better to book with.
  • GTFO: I have this as an app but there is a website. If I am looking for a flight sooner rather than later, I’ll start monitoring GTFO to see if I can get ideas on who is having some deals and what kind of deals are available. I have yet to purchase a flight through the app but it gives me an idea of the types of prices I should be looking for when it comes to book specific flights.
  • Hotel direct websites: As you know, I travel alone quite a bit so I will do a hotel price comparison between multiple websites including the hotel website.  I’ve found that I can get super cheap prices from the third party websites but because of the competition, I’ve found that some hotels will start providing deals through their site only and have saved quite a bit of money through them.
  • Credit card travel websites: So all my credit cards have travel sites attached to them, partially because I only target using travel credit cards like Chase Sapphire.  They have their own websites and if I am able to find the exact same price there, I will lean toward booking on their site because I can use my rewards which go a little further.
  • Hotels Tonight: If you are a spontaneous traveller or if you have one of those trips where your original lodging plans didn’t work out, you can usually find something here. It shows last minute deals that hotels are giving out to book their rooms night of.

I go through all of these sites before I will actually make a commitment to book a flight. It sounds tedious but it’s definitely become a pretty standard practice for me that has helped me find some decently cheap flights and saved some money on hotels.

Do you have any sites that you like using or suggest?  I’m always looking for more sites to use, safe money and be more efficient in my search.

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