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July 13

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out there

Posted by on July 13, 2015 at 8:12 AM

Winter has a knack for casting people’s minds further afield to greener pastures. Cold weather, grey skies and a lower morale often trigger our human holiday mode to kick in and we start wishing to get away from it all. Travel is big business and with so many websites to book through online it’s very easy to become inundated with choice when executing a simple Google search.

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out there

If you are thinking about getting away for business or pleasure, then make sure you don’t get stung with over inflated prices on flights, hotels or transport. Plan your next trip with the following websites that have been recognised by fellow globetrotters to offer great software, journey options and affordable pricing. Across the net there are many favourites, but these five websites that come out on top through general popularity can be used to save you more than most on your travels.

 

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out there

Google Flights

Search: Flights / Packages / Discounted Flights

Google being the beast that they are on the Internet surely have the power necessary to develop an all seeing all hearing travel website and that’s exactly what they have done. Google Flights is number one in our list because it offers a very clean, minimalistic design packed with plenty of functionality. The search features that make it stand out are:

  • Round trip
  • One-way
  • Multi-trip tickets
  • Airline preferences
  • Departure / Arrival times
  • Choose amount of stops
  • Class Type (Economy, First class)

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out thereIncluding all of the customisations you can make in your search Google Flights also go one step further and enable you to choose your maximum price so you can see when you can afford first class for example if you really want it. As you begin seeing the results you are looking for, you can then drill down further to see exactly what type of plane you will be flying on plus a range of other details i.e. average legroom, Wi-Fi on board, charging points and much more.

Once you have selected a trip, Google Flights re-directs you to the necessary website to complete your booking. Over all the process is very smooth and the website walks you through it step by step. However, if you don’t have specific dates in mind, you can also take advantage of Google’s last minute getaway or budget friendly travel sections.

 

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out there

HipMunk

Search: Flights / Hotels / Cars / Packages / Discounted Flights

One of the originators in the online travel market, HipMunk talks our language by not throwing airport codes around, making locations difficult to decipher. The HipMunk website has a clear interface which displays all options available to you, whilst also providing the opportunity to search for hotels and cars all in one system. One feature I really like is price alerts, which when set up will notify you of price drops for your selected journey, great if you are eyeing up a few potential dates.

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out thereIf you don’t personally travel well, a nice little feature you will find invaluable is the “Agony” filter, which demonstrates how antagonising each route will be. HipMunk uses factors such as layover time, distance between departure gates, flight changes etc. to justify its “Agony” rating.

The search features allow you to select a host of options to produce the results you are looking for, such as:

  • Travel time
  • One-way
  • Round-trip
  • Departure / Arrival time
  • Route comparisons
  • Airline preference
  • Calendar sync (Sync with your calendar to see which route fits)

On top of this, you can then select a car and hotel to go with your booking to make the whole search process tie in nicely with your flight times. The added benefit of the integrated system also helps you save money.

 

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out there

ITA Matrix

Search: Flights

ITA Matrix deserves a mention because it has recently been acquired by Google Flights and used to be the technology that powered the Google Flights search tool. Although Google now owns this website, it still runs independently because it is so hugely popular with travellers across the globe. ITA Matrix focuses on flights only, but provides more information about those flights compared to any other search engine:

  • Round trip
  • One-way
  • Multi-trip tickets
  • Airline preferences
  • Departure / Arrival times
  • Choose amount of stops
  • Class Type (Economy, First class)
  • Cost per mile
  • Advanced route codes
  • Add / restrict stops
  • Change currency
  • Change city of sale (amount of tax charged)
  • Plane types
  • Service available on flight

There is no denying that ITA Matrix isn’t the simplest, fastest or best looking website to use, but if you’re a professional traveller or need finite details you will never use another website again.

 

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out there

Skyscanner

Search: Flights / Hotels / Car Rental

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out thereSkyscanner is also a hugely popular website to use and again it allows you to select flights, hotels and car rental all within one system. The layout is more minimalistic compared to ITA Matrix (but then again anything is simple compared to the ITA Matrix’s detailed platform). Skyscanner always displays the cheapest price at the top to help you find the most affordable options. Its search criteria includes:

  • One-way
  • Round-trip
  • Travel time
  • Choose amount of stops
  • Class type
  • Flexible dates
  • Airline combinations
  • Cheapest flight of the month

I have personally used Skyscanner plenty of times and it really helps show which options are the cheapest on the market. I have also cross referenced a number of my flights with Google Flights and found the prices to match.

 

The 5 Most Affordable Travel Comparison Websites Out there

Skiplagged

Search: Flights

The functionality of Skiplagged works slightly differently to the above mentioned. Instead of searching for a flight directly to your destination, the website provides you with options of flights which are travelling to different destinations, but stop at your airport. This brings the benefit of cost saving, but of course means you can’t take any hold luggage because this will continue to the final destination.

Skiplagged does let you select direct flights but considering the more advanced sites available mentioned above, it seems pointless. Yet, if saving money is your priority for a quick getaway, Skiplagged can throw in some interesting alternatives.

 

A great tactic to use when searching for a bargain trip is to use a combination of websites to ensure you’re getting the best price and also the best route options. Using only one website can greatly limit your options and its never a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket. Next time you need to search for travel prices, find two or three websites that you like and see which one gives you the best options.


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