Kayak. Skiplagged. Hotels. Cheaptickets. Momondo. TripAdvisor. These are the websites I rely on for booking airfare and lodging because they publish the best deals, or at minimum, have assisted me in finding the best deals. Over the years, I’ve refined this list by dropping websites consistently offering higher rates and prices than their competitors for the same flights and accommodations.
For hotel rooms, I almost exclusively rely on Cheaptickets.com and here’s why: every week they publish a promotional code on their homepage that discounts rooms an extra 15 to 20-percent. If this Friday (September 2, 2016) I wanted to reserve a room for two nights in Paris’ five-star property Champs Elysees Plaza Hotel, it would cost me over $900 to book the room directly from the hotel. Booking.com is running at approximately $569 for the weekend. Hotels.com on the other hand using their weekly promo code would get me that same room for $490.97. But using Cheaptickets would save me the most, with a going rate of $465.57 for both nights.
As far as TripAdvisor goes, I use the website to develop a general idea of a property’s negative and positive attributes before finalizing a booking. I take everything I read with a grain of salt, always keeping in my mind that people are more likely to write a review about a terrible experience than a good one. We’re complainers by nature so if a hotel has 4 out of 5 stars with hundreds of reviews and the first review I come across is someone pissed that their bathroom faucet was leaking, I’m not going to hold that person’s one-star rating against the property.
I’ve recently started using Skiplagged to help find the best airfares out of LAX on any given day. After seeing my options, I hop on Kayak and fill the search fields with the data I’ve obtained from Skiplagged to see what if any differences in prices I find. I don’t book my ticket on Kayak however, I purchase directly from airline’s website once I see the route and flight numbers. The only time I refrain from using the airline’s website is if they return a higher fare than what I find on Kayak. This does happen on occasion.
I just looked at flights to Medellin, Colombia leaving Los Angeles on Saturday morning and returning the following Thursday. That flight is 11-percent cheaper on Kayak than it is on Aeromexico right now, coming in at $507.60 directly from the airline and $471 through the third-party website.
It’s worth noting that none of these websites are paying me to mention them, nor are they even aware that I am mentioning them. This is just an honest travel tip.