Best Online Travel Agency 2019 - Hotel, Airfare, Vacation Package Sites
We researched and compared a dozen online travel agencies to find the best for most people. We focused on travel sites that let you book flights, hotels, car rentals and even short trips in between. Based on our research, we concluded that Travelocity is the best overall travel site for most people because you can mix and match flights with or without hotels or car rentals. You can also book cruises and excursions directly from this site. If you’re looking to book a whole vacation from one site, Travelocity lets you plan all the details from one site.
Travelocity lets you pick flights, hotels, car rentals and excursions to plan a full vacation right on its site. You can compare prices and dates and plan all aspects of your trip.
Expedia has the best rewards program that lets you use frequent flyer miles, airline and credit card points and Expedia rewards points to schedule your travel.
Orbitz shows you its policies and fees upfront, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying for your trip. You can choose to search for just flights, or travel bundles.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Booking & Search||Ease of Use||Additional Features||Help & Support||Hotel Search Average Score||Near Address||Guest Ratings||Sort by Price||Sort by Distance||Sort by Star Rating||Sort by Hotel Chain||Flight Search Average Score||Number of Airlines Average||Multiple Destinations||Layover & Transfer Details||Flight Time Preference||Preferred Airline||Preferred Class||Packages Search Average Score||Deals Search||Cruises||Air & Hotel||Air & Hotel & Car Rental||Hotel & Car Rental||Air & Car Rental||Ease of Use Score||Comparative Rates||Predictive Pop-Ups||Calendar Date Selection||Search Flexible Dates||Price Alerts||Travel Reminders||App Score||Travel Insurance||Travel News or Blog||Manage Itinerary||Check Flight Status||Rewards Program||Frequent Flyer Miles||FAQs||Phone||Chat|
Travelocity is our top pick for online travel sites because you can mix and match flights, hotels and vacation packages – all from a single website. In our research for vacation packages, this website was our favorite because you can book everything easily.
If you’re booking an extensive trip with multiple flights, hotel stays and excursions, Travelocity walks you through each reservation so you don’t have to track down confirmation numbers from a dozen different sites.
Travelocity shows you flight results based on price, displaying the best deal at the top. You can also sort your searches by airline, departure time, flight duration and other criteria. When we searched for flights, this website tended to show more expensive flights than other online travel sites we researched. This means that budget travelers might want to look for deals through other travel sites.
One great thing about this site is that you can see TripAdvisor reviews for hotels as you’re searching for hotel bookings. You can see details about the number of beds in a room, smoking status and what the cancellation policy is, in case you need to change your plans.
This site has a mobile app that works on all platforms and lets you see extra hotel deals and sign up to receive notifications about specific travel deals.
If you’re looking to cash in rewards points from a variety of sources, Expedia lets you import rewards from airlines, hotels and its own Expedia+ services.
It’s our top pick for value because you can redeem so many different offers for travel. Additionally, if you have travel rewards points built up, you can donate them to St. Jude’s Children Hospital to help children with cancer.
Expedia’s site is easy to use and you can book flights, hotels, car rentals and even cruises on the homepage. This company’s search features let you sort by price, arrival and departure times and special amenities. Each listing also shows details about transfers and layover times.
This company gives you 24 hours to cancel or change your trip reservation for free with no penalty. However, if you must cancel or modify your reservation after this short time period, you might have to pay a fee or receive flight credit instead of a full monetary refund.
Expedia’s website features a search feature called My Scratchpad that lets you save notes about your travel searches and results. You can save your favorite destinations to this tool and then track as travel prices rise and fall so you can buy when you see the best deal.
Best for Booking Flights
We chose Orbitz as our top pick for booking flights because it was one of the few sites that shows all fees and costs upfront.
You can filter flights by the number of stops, airline and arrival time. This site also lets you book car rentals, hotel rooms, cruises and excursions, all directly from the site.
One great feature of Orbitz’s website is the Flexible Date search. This feature searches for cheaper flights within three days before or after the date you’ve selected for your travel. Sometimes certain days are cheaper for travel than others and this feature lets you get the best deals,provided your schedule has some flexibility.
You can book vacation packages from this site, so you can save money by bundling a flight, hotel stay and rental car together. You can use frequent flyer miles to redeem your travel plans, and you can also sign up for Orbucks, Orbitz’s rewards program, to get more points. If you book a cruise, this website lists cruises all over the world and you can schedule a departure date up to two years in advance.
If you’re looking for help on this website, it has a FAQs section and live chat, but it’s hard to find.
Best for Flexible Itineraries
Kayak has the most flexible search engine we reviewed. Filter search results by flexible date, flexible weekend and flexible month.
If you know you want to travel but are more concerned with getting a good deal than traveling on exact dates, Kayak is the best option. We noticed Kayak’s prices were a bit higher when we chose specific dates and destinations, but the difference wasn’t significant.
Kayak is an aggregator, which means the service searches hundreds of travel sites to find the best price. You don’t book directly with Kayak, instead you’re redirected to another agency or to the airline’s site to finalize your reservation. Kayak has a deals tab on the homepage with a great selection of international vacation packages that include airfare, hotel, car rental and, in some cases, a cruise.
The CheapTickets homepage isn’t the most visually stunning, but it is easy to navigate.
The deals tab displays the best flight and hotel deals at airports near you and popular travel destinations. The mobile app is also easy-to-use and has mobile-exclusive deals. The homepage frequently displays coupon codes that take an additional percentage off select hotels and vacation packages. CheapTickets has a free rewards program called CheapCash. When you book flights, you earn CheapCash to use on your next hotel booking.
This is one of the few online travel sites we reviewed that has deals on event tickets. If you are traveling to see a sporting event or concert, it’s worth checking the CheapTickets events tab for a promo code to save some money and book your entire vacation with one service.
Why Trust Us?
There are many travel companies that claim to offer the best deals on flights, hotel stays and rental cars. We focused our research on travel sites that take the place of travel agencies by offering entire vacation packages, not just flights or hotel stays. If you’re just looking to book a hotel room, look at our top picks for hotel booking services.
Full-service travel sites can book flights, hotel stays, rental cars, cruises and fun activities in your destination city. Additionally, the best sites let you mix and match reservations, and we rated companies that let us mix and match reservations higher than those that offer stricter packages.
Top Ten Reviews has been reviewing tech products and software for over a decade. We’ve published reviews about online travel sites since 2006.
How We Researched
We compared travel booking sites by performing similar travel searches on each site and seeing what reservation options were. We awarded a percentage score to sites that could find the best reservations. We also downloaded mobile apps for each site that offered an app and judged the usability and features of the app.
We also judged each site by the number of airlines it displayed in a basic flight search. If a site showed nine or more airlines it received a top score.
We also compared help and support options for each of the companies we researched. If a site had a FAQs page, live chat and phone and email support, it ranked highest. Additionally, we ranked each site on usability and navigability. Sites that allowed for flexible date searching and that let you register for price alerts on saved travel searches fared better in our comparison than those that didn’t.
Should You Book Online or Through a Travel Agent?
According to the American Society of Travel Agents, the average fee for booking a flight with a travel agent is $36. Online travel agencies (OTA) bundle their fee into the taxes and fees portion of a quote and it’s significantly less than a travel agent’s fee. Travel agents are paid commissions from hotels and airlines and have relationships that allow them access to upgrades and insider deals you don’t get with an OTA. If you have the time to shop and compare prices on multiple travel websites, you can save money. However, that free time might be worth more than $36 to you.
Key Features to Look for in an Online Travel Site
Booking Travel Packages
Travel packages can let you combine flights, hotel reservations and car rentals together for a better deal than booking separately. Some companies, like Priceline, pick hotels and flights for you, to get you to your destination for the lowest price. Other companies let you mix and match flights, hotels and car rentals to fit your schedule.
One of the biggest reasons for searching on a travel site is to find cheap airfare. While there are dozens of airfare-specific websites, travel sites also give you the option to add hotel stays and car rentals. The best travel sites combine flight information from over nine different airlines and let you sort flights by price, number of stops, duration and flight class.
Booking International Travel
Finding airfare for international travel is the easiest part of booking an overseas trip. AirGorilla helps you find accommodations and rent GPS units with your rental car, so you can find your way around. Often, sites will recommend hotels that are far from your actual destination or event. Searching for reservations on a site that gives accommodation recommendations will help you schedule an international trip with less stress.
Best Hotel Booking Sites
We evaluated the services in this comparison based on the ease of booking an entire vacation, including flights, rental cars and hotels. However, if you book a flight directly with an airline, like Delta or Southwest, and you need a hotel reservation, you may want to consider using hotel booking sites that offer unique rewards and price-matching features not found on the travel aggregators we compared in this roundup. Here are some of our favorite online hotel booking services:
This hotel booking service has an easy-to-use search tool that yields a large variety of properties, including low-cost hostels, as well as the lowest prices of the 10 services we reviewed. The rewards programs is simple: Book 10 nights at participating hotels or resorts, and get one night free. There are no other restrictions or blackout dates, but the free night must also be at a participating hotel. Once you choose a location, Hotels.com displays pricing information and guest ratings from other Hotels.com users and TripAdvisor. You can’t use this service to book a rental car, but if you frequently stay at hotels, the rewards program and user-exclusive discounts make it the best place to find budget-friendly accommodations.
Booking.com offers a price-match guarantee that reimburses you for the difference if you find a lower price on a different hotel booking site. The search results include hostels and apartments, and you can use Booking.com's subsidiary OpenTable to make a reservation at a restaurant near your hotel. You can also book airport taxis and trains using this service. The prices aren’t as low as those on the best hotel booking sites we reviewed, but if you sign up for an account, you get access to members-only pricing and newsletters with discount offers.