With so many travel booking websites on the market today, finding the best deals for your travels can be tedious. Thankfully, there are several top travel websites you can use when booking flights, hotels and tours.
From flight aggregators to hostel and hotel booking sites, the websites in this list will make planning and booking your travels a little easier. Whether you’re trying to score cheap flights or find the best tour on the other side of the world, these are the best travel sites for making it happen.
I realize all of this information can be a little overwhelming. Every online travel site out there seems to do something different, and sifting through hundreds of search results to find something you like is time consuming. The offers are endless, but the ideal booking site doesn’t overwhelm its users with options or questionable services.
I have personally used every single company on this list for booking travel, and most play a crucial role in allowing me to adventure around the world. These are the best travel booking sites for helping you plan the ultimate trip.
Best Hotel Search Engines & Booking Sites
Finding the right accommodation is one of the most important decisions to make while traveling. Location, amenities and cost are all factors to consider when looking for the right hotel or hostel for your adventure.
And while there are dozens of hotel booking websites to choose from, finding the right place doesn’t have to be complicated. Over the years, I’ve scoured the web to find the best hotel search engines and booking sites. These are the ones I use the most.
Booking.com has, by far, the largest number of hotel search results. With over 5.7 million listings in 227 countries, they’re the first place you should look to find hotels online. In addition to hotels, Booking.com also has hostels, guesthouses, apartments and vacation homes available for rent.
With Booking.com, the advertised price is the final price you pay. Other hotel booking sites may have hidden taxes and fees that aren’t explicitly stated, so you’ll end up paying more than you thought at the reservation desk. But with Booking.com, there are no unexpected fees or hidden resort charges.
All reservations come with a price match guarantee. That means Booking.com will refund the difference if you find a lower price for your hotel on another website after you book. Best of all, you can claim a refund up to 24 hours before your check-in date. This is an unbelievable perk that could save you a lot of money in the long run.
And once you make your second booking, you’ll automatically become a Booking.com Genius, which rewards you with member-only discounts and offers (even freebies). It’s like accessing a whole world of insider information without actually having to sign up for anything. Genius members receive 10% to 15% off rates, free breakfast and free room upgrades at select properties around the world.
Although they aren’t as big as Booking.com, Hotels.com is still a great option when looking for hotels. They have over 300,000 hotels in over 19,000 locations around the world. Besides traditional hotel rooms, they also have apartments, cottages, hostels and motels.
Like other hotel booking sites, Hotels.com lets you filter the search results by date, price and amenities. You can also sort by distance to find hotels close to certain attractions or neighborhoods.
One of the main reasons for booking with Hotels.com is to take advantage of their unique rewards program. Once you sign up and book 10 nights, you’ll get to stay one night for free. Your free night can be redeemed at one of their 200,000+ properties around the globe without restrictions or blackout dates.
Hotels.com reward members or app users can also unlock secret deals on accommodation. These are specially negotiated discounts that will save you even more money for certain hotel or accommodation listings.
App users can also find last minute deals using the “Deal for Tonight” feature. You’ll find huge discounts up to 40% when looking for a room with same-day check-in.
If you want the comforts of home while you’re halfway around the world, then Vrbo is an excellent alternative to traditional hotel booking sites. Vrbo is a search engine that lists thousands of homes, apartments and condos for anyone who wants to experience a country while living like a local.
Ideal for couples, families or those needing a bit more privacy, HomeAway lets you relax without the hassle of dealing with a host or other travelers. They also tend to list more luxury rentals that have a much higher standard compared to other rental sites.
For this reason, the listings on Vrbo might cost more than your average hotel booking. However, you’ll get the benefit of staying in a five-star hotel with all the necessities you could ever want from home, plus you’ll save money on cooking in your kitchen for some of your meals.
Vrbo also has great customer service. All guests are protected by their Book with Confidence guarantee, which comes with a 24/7 hotline, payment protection and even last-minute cancellation coverage. So if your host cancels your booking before you arrive, the HomeAway team will try and find another place for you to stay.
In addition, you can purchase insurance directly through their site. So if you can no longer go on your trip, HomeAway will give you a full refund for the cost of your non-refundable accommodation.
Hostelworld is the top resource for researching and booking hostels all over the world. They operate in over 178 countries and have a database of seemingly every hostel in existence.
When looking for a hostel, you’ll find accurate ratings and reviews from real users on this booking site. The review score considers information about security, facilities, services, atmosphere and overall value for your money. And they only accept reviews from people who have booked through Hostelworld, so you know the reviews are genuine.
If you want to save money, Hostelworld is an excellent option for those on a tight budget. That’s because most hostels allow you to book a bed in a dorm room, which is far cheaper than booking a private room. But if you want some extra privacy, some hostels have private rooms with (or without) en-suite bathrooms.
In the search results, you’ll be able to filter hostels by certain amenities, like free breakfast or on-site laundry facilities. You’ll also see a list of different events happening at the hostel during your stay. From pool parties to pub crawls, Hostelworld makes it easy to plan an action-packed itinerary.
However, Hostelworld really shines when it comes to its great customer service. They will refund the price difference if you find your hostel on another site for cheaper. And if you can no longer go on your trip, you have up 24 hours before check-in to cancel without losing your deposit.
But if something were to go wrong with your booking, then Hostelworld has you covered. They’ll give you $50 towards a future stay if the hotel can’t find your reservation during check-in.
Agoda started out as the top hotel booking site for hotels in Asia, but since has expanded its offerings worldwide. They also have non-traditional accommodation types like homes and hostels. From capsule hotels in Tokyo to private bungalows in Bali, Agoda has over 2 million properties to choose from.
Generally speaking, prices for Agoda hotels are comparable to other hotel booking sites. However, you can save money by booking a hotel through their secret deal program.
With the secret deal program, the identity of the hotel will remain anonymous until you complete your booking. But you’ll be able to see the hotel’s star-rating, neighborhood and amenities before reserving. Some high-end hotels don’t like to advertise their cheap rooms openly, so this is a way to sell rooms at discount prices without making it too public. If you aren’t set on staying at a specific hotel or chain, this program is an excellent option for saving money on accommodation.
By booking on Agoda, you have the opportunity to maximize your earnings with the Agoda PointsMAX program. Once you sign up and link your Agoda account to one of your other mileage programs, you can earn up to 6,000 points per stay. Some of their current partners include American Airlines AAdvantage, United Mileage Plus and KLM/AirFrance Flying Blue.
If all you need is a couch to sleep on, Couchsurfing will help you to find it. Instead of spending the night in a hotel, you’ll be using this booking site to find a couch to sleep on in the home of a friendly host. Trust me — it’s not as awkward as it might seem!
For those needing a bit more privacy, some people also list their private rooms through Couchsurfing. But generally speaking, you’ll usually be staying in the same living quarters as the host.
You’ll also be able to connect with like-minded people from all over the world who want to share their culture and show you the best parts of their city. They’ll tell you about the best local hangouts and restaurants so you can avoid the tourist traps. They might even be interested in joining you for sightseeing in the city or drinks at the local pub. In my experience, hosts are eager to interact with their guests.
When you’re browsing for places to stay, you can search for hosts by gender, age, language and house preferences. Whether you’re allergic to cats or looking for wheelchair friendly accommodation, you can easily find the ideal housemate. Remember, you should be looking at the host just as carefully as you look at the apartment itself. Make sure you read the reviews left by other guests. The more reviews, the more confident you’ll feel about staying with that host.
The goal, ultimately, is for you to return the favor whenever you’re at home, thus keeping the Couchsurfing spirit alive around the world. (Trust me, it can be just as fun to host as it is to surf.)
But best of all, Couchsurfing is completely free! It’s customary to bring a gift or cook for your host as a token of appreciation for letting you stay in their place, but besides that, you’ll be able to see the world without spending a single penny on accommodation.
Cheap Flight Booking Websites & Search Engines
In the world of online travel, booking a flight is one of the most important initial steps to having a great trip. And unless you’re planning on spending thousands to sip champagne in business class, the cost of your ticket will probably be a significant deciding factor on what you book.
Although you could book directly with the airlines, using OTA (online travel agency) booking sites allows you to compare prices to find the best rates for your trip. To help you figure out where to book your next flight, consider one of the flight search engine booking sites in this section.
Keep in mind that these search engines are not booking sites. They simply compare rates for flights and redirect you to other websites to complete your purchase. You’ll get tons of search results, but it’s up to you to sort through them. You should also take the time to use more than one website to compare prices. Results may vary!
If they send you to a small website you’ve never heard of, do your research to make sure the company is dependable (although these OTAs don’t tend to deal with shady booking sites—a big reason these are the ones I recommend). It’s important to look at the fine print, as some companies might have their own cancellation fees or change fees in addition to the fees set by the airlines.
Google Flights is always the first search engine I turn to when I’m looking for airfare. They scan through all available flight options for both major and minor airlines and then sort through search results to show you the best possible option for your trip.
The calendar view makes it easy to pick dates with the best price. And if you haven’t locked down a date, you can check for flights with their flexible date tool. For example, you can search for the cheapest flight in January or even a one week trip in the next six months.
You can also use the Date Grid to see the cheapest flight combinations for different departure and return dates. Or, check the Price Graph to compare how the prices are likely to change over the next few months. This is a great tool for identifying significant price drops for your desired route.
If you’re also flexible with your destination, you can view flight search results by continent or country. This flexible search is an excellent option if you’re looking for a last-minute weekend getaway without a set destination in mind.
And unlike other websites, Google Flights will make sure you’re getting the best rates by offering money-saving recommendations. They’ll let you know that by flying in two days later — or to a different airport nearby — you could save even more money.
Whether you’re booking an RTW adventure, a weekend getaway to New York or simply browsing for worldly inspiration, start with Google Flights.
Skyscanner is a top flight search engine and is always my second stop after Google Flights. They search through over 1,200 different airline companies and smaller OTA sites to compare the best offers for your travels.
You can also use their “Everywhere” search engine to look up the cheapest flight going anywhere in the world. The search results show the average price for a country, so you’ll need to narrow down the search by city to see the exact price. However, you’ll get a better idea of which countries tend to have cheaper flights.
The “Cheapest Month” feature also shows the cheapest time to fly to your destination throughout the whole year. If you’re not sure where or when to go, the information in these tools may be useful to compare prices and offers.
You can also set price alerts to email you if your desired route has dropped in price. It’s a useful little trick that could save you hundreds of dollars if you start searching several weeks or months in advance.
Finally, I recommend downloading the Skyscanner app. Not only can you search and book flights through the app, but you can also use the “Explore” feature to find destinations for solo travel, quick getaways or last minute trips (which is especially handy if you’re traveling open-ended).
Momondo is another flight search engine that should be on your radar. This company scans through thousands of airline companies and OTAs to display rates for both domestic and international flights. And unlike other sites, Momondo shows prices for many of the smaller OTAs overlooked by Google Flights and Skyscanner.
I also use Momondo to find out when the best time to fly is. I particularly love their matrix that highlights an entire month, meaning you can compare prices to find the lowest price possible.
On the search results page, Momondo offers bar charts that show prices for different departure and return dates. You can use this feature to spot any significant price drops for flights if your dates are flexible. Play around with these features — it takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you can score some fantastic travel deals.
You can also look at the “Flight Insights” page to see price trends and analytics for your exact route. This page uses historical search data to show you the cheapest month, day and even time of day to book. It will tell you the cheapest airlines that serve your route, along with how far in advance you should be booking to save the most money.
In addition, you can consult the “Price Forecast” feature to see if prices are expected to increase or decrease in the near future. If so, you can set a price alert to notify you if the cost of your flight drops.
Finding cheap flights can be time-consuming, but Dollar Flight Club simplifies the process by sending unique travel deals straight to your inbox. Most of their offers are 60-90% off the list price, with savings averaging around $500.
Dollar Flight Club uses technology and historical data to find cost-saving deals. Although you can’t search for specific dates or destinations, you will still find great domestic and international deals if you’re flexible with your plans.
When you sign up for the free version of Dollar Flight Club, you’ll get one email a day for your selected departure region. Or, you can upgrade to premium to get four times as many deals for multiple departure airports. Premium members also receive instant SMS alerts as well as deals for cheap domestic flights over the weekend.
Signing up for Premium Plus will give you exclusive deals and offers for tickets for business and first class flights. You’ll also get 20% off annual membership for Mobile Passport control, as well as every perk listed for Premium members.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is another one of my favorite sites for finding cheap flights. Like Dollar Flight Club, they send emails for flights up to 90% off regular prices for domestic and international flights, with an average saving of $550 per ticket.
But instead of using an algorithm to find deals, members of the Scott’s Cheap Flights team search all of the fares by hand.
When you sign up for the free version, you’ll receive 15-20 selected deals per month. Even though you’ll select your preferred departure airport, the free version includes deals from an array of different cities. If you only want to see deals from your specific city, then you’ll want to upgrade to the premium version.
Not only does the premium membership include an extra 30-35 deals per month, but it also includes error fare flights and offers for summer and holiday travel.
Recommended Tour Companies
Sometimes, we all need a little bit of adventure to keep us on our toes while we’re on the road.
Maybe you’re a solo traveler interested in joining a group backpacking experience through Asia. Perhaps you want an action-packed itinerary full of hiking, diving, and bungee-jumping. Or maybe you simply want an agency to take the stress out of planning by giving you a list of all the top places you must visit.
Whatever your reason, check out the following sites and add some excitement to your next trip!
GetYourGuide is a search engine with a massive database of tours and attractions in over 7,000 destinations around the world. I’m talking more than 40,000 activities like street food tours, skiing and snowboarding trips, skip-the-line museum passes and boat excursions. You name it, GetYourGuide has it.
If you’re visiting a new city for the first time, GetYourGuide also takes the hassle out of planning the perfect itinerary. You can reserve your spot on a tour or purchase your tickets for an event directly through their website or mobile app.
And best of all, all tours come with detailed reviews full of handy insider information, so you can hear first-hand from past clients if the activity is worth it. Not to mention, most of the offers are more affordable than if you were to book directly at the attraction itself. If you are interested in museum tickets or hop-on-hop-off buses, then GetYourGuide often sells them at discounted rates.
When it comes to booking sites, GetYourGuide tours are a great way to soak in the culture of a city. From wine tasting to helicopter rides to snorkeling, you’ll be able to get the lowest price (guaranteed) by booking on GetYourGuide.
FlexiPass by TravelStride is one of the most brilliant new booking programs on the market. As far as I know, it’s the most flexible way to book travel right now. You pay for what is essentially a gift card, at a discounted rate, and you can use the pass to book future travel, which is fully refundable at any time. It offers peace of mind for anyone who wants to make travel plans in uncertain times, without the risk of losing any money if the trip has to be canceled.
FlexiPass offers bookings with 20+ top tour providers from around the world (including the likes of Intrepid and G Adventures). They even have custom tours.
You can use the FlexiPass to access travel experiences on seven different continents from any of these providers. The FlexiPass comes in three different amounts: $750, $1,500 and $2,500. However, depending on the pass you buy, you’ll get between 20-32% in discounts—that means your $2,500 FlexiPass will actually only cost you $1,900, but you can book $2,500 worth of travel!
TravelStride created FlexiPass specifically with COVID travel restrictions and uncertainty in mind. Their goal is to get people back out there on the road in a safe and responsible manner, when the time is right. It’s giving control entirely back to the traveler.
With the FlexiPass by TravelStride, you can book now and start getting excited about your trip, without the worry of having to cancel and lose money down the line! The only caveat is that you have to use the FlexiPass by 2023. For COVID travel, this is the best booking website for tours right now.
14. G Adventures
If group tours are more up your alley, then G Adventures has something for you. Whether you’re traveling Europe by train, cruising through the Galapagos or cycling through the countryside in China, there’s a tour for almost every traveler.
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill group tours. G Adventures are small groups (averaging 10 travelers) that all share a common desire to explore the world. When you look online, you’ll see tours organized by travel style. You’ll find tours specifically catered to 18 to 30-year-olds, tours focusing on health and wellness and even active tours for adventure lovers.
Solo travelers are also welcomed to join a tour with G Adventures. No matter what type of trip you choose, you can expect to meet some awesome people along the way.
They’ve also partnered with National Geographic to create immersive tour experiences. Whether you’re learning how to tango in Argentina or cooking authentic meals with a local Thai family, these tours will give you a deeper appreciation for your destination’s history and culture.
15. Intrepid Travel
Intrepid Travel is like G Adventures in many ways — they offer small-group tours for adventurous travelers in more than 100 countries. Tours are divided into themes, like adventure cruising, cycling and culinary. And if you’re interested in meeting other like-minded travelers, they have also organized trips specifically for people between the ages of 18-30.
But Intrepid sometimes goes to places where G Adventures does not, and vice versa. Intrepid also has tons of amazing deals available year-round. Many trips are discounted up to 50% and some tours can be reserved with just a $1 deposit. And if you’re eager to leave ASAP, then you can browse a variety of last-minute deals.
They’ve also partnered with Lonely Planet to create unique, niche experiences. With hundreds of single or multi-day packages, you’ll be able to get off the beaten path to see the world through the eyes of a local.
Don’t see anything you like in the search results? Intrepid Travel can also customize a private tour that’s tailor-made to your interests. Just check with them for more information.
But the biggest perk of traveling with Intrepid Travel comes down to the group leaders and small group sizes. You won’t feel like you’re just getting carted around because every tour is led by a local guide, meaning you get a more authentic experience.
Not sure which to pick? Check out this article on G Adventures vs. Intrepid Travel and decide for yourself!
So there you have it, all the information and tools you need to book your next travels! What tools do you use the most? Is there a company you love the most? Let us know in the comments!
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