Booking travel can be a headache. Even when travelers find a good deal, many are hesitant to click “buy” because of the potential for scams. Plus, who knows if they might find a better deal elsewhere?
The thing is, navigating online travel booking is complicated for a few reasons. One, many brands own a handful of sites that sell airline tickets, offer car rentals, and book accommodations. For example, Expedia owns Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, and CheapTickets (among others), per Wikipedia. Priceline owns Booking.com, Agoda, and Kayak.
So, to make sure you’re getting the best deal, comparing is key. But then, which site should you ultimately choose to book with? We suggest comparing prices and amenities on multiple sites, but here’s a guide to choosing between Expedia versus Kayak, and how to decide which is right for your trip.
20 Kayak’s Homepage Is More Welcoming (& Easier To Use)
When you first visit Kayak’s webpage, it seems pretty sparse. But in a way, that’s a good thing; you can clearly see where to enter your travel info. There’s nothing to distract you and only a single search field for to-from and your dates.
19 Expedia’s Site Seems So Busy (& Overwhelming)
You might find Expedia’s website a bit more challenging to navigate. They have options for flights, hotels, “bundle and save,” cars, cruises, “things to do,” and vacation rentals. In short, you may not know where to start.
18 Kayak Doesn’t Offer All-Inclusive Vacation Packages
While Expedia’s site is pretty ‘busy’ looking, there’s a reason for that. They offer a ton of travel packages and options. In contrast, Kayak’s is fairly limited, and there’s a reason for that too. Kayak doesn’t offer all-inclusive vacation packages. So if you want a big travel package, look elsewhere.
17 Expedia Has Cruises, Activities, And More
As mentioned, Expedia offers up tons of options. You can book a flight, hotel, vacation rental, car, cruise, or local excursion all in one place. It’s pretty handy to have everything laid out there, especially if you’re traveling somewhere you’ve never been to before.
16 Kayak Lets You Be Indecisive About Your Trip
Kayak has a cool feature called ‘Explore’ where you can enter a few parameters of your trip (like the budget) and see what’s available. This is an awesome feature that lets you catch some great deals, without having to be precise about your plans.
15 Expedia Needs Specific Dates & Timelines
Expedia, on the other hand, doesn’t have an explore feature like Kayak. You need to put in your exact dates and specific details before you can get any booking results. Not a huge inconvenience, but Kayak’s feature is still a nice touch in comparison.
14 Kayak Works With Certain Airlines …
While both travel sites seem to offer tickets for flights all over the place, they also seem to have special working relationships with certain airlines. Kayak prefers Norwegian Air and Spirit, for example, which might limit your ability to book the perfect vacay.
13 Expedia Has Its Airline Preferences, Too
On the other hand, Expedia is selective about its airline partnerships, too. The site offers WestJet and Air New Zealand, which are seemingly exclusive offerings, says Openroomz. So if you want a specific airline, you might need either Kayak or Expedia, depending on how you choose to fly.
12 Kayak Tends To Have Cheaper Non-Stop Flights
For some destinations, you have the option of a non-stop or layover flight. But in general, nonstop flights with Kayak are far cheaper than those with Expedia, says Openroomz. If you don’t want to wait around at the airport, Kayak might be the best pick, depending on your destination.
11 Expedia Offers Cheaper Flight Plus Hotel Packages
Openroomz found that flight plus hotel packages were cheaper with Expedia than Kayak. So if you’re aiming for a flight and hotel accommodation, it might be a better deal to book with Expedia. Of course, that doesn’t mean they always have the best deals.
10 Kayak: What You See Is What You Get
Kayak doesn’t have any special membership programs: what you see is what you get in terms of price. They also don’t guarantee prices or do price matching. Basically, they say that since they filter info from tons of travel sites, they’re ensuring you get the best deal. You might need some calming poses for the plane if you find out later you got a raw deal.
9 Expedia Makes Price-Matching Promises
On Expedia’s Service page, they explain their Price Match Promise. Basically, you get an automatic refund if the price of your flight goes down after you book it. However, you do have to purchase this service as an add-on. Still, you could save enough for a first-class upgrade!
8 Kayak Has Potentially Cheap Hacker Fares
Hacker Fare basically means flight options beyond round-trip packages with a single airline. Along with its round-trip flights on the same airline, Kayak also bundles together separate one-way flights to build your trip, often saving you a lot of cash!
7 Expedia: There Are Rewards To Be Had
Expedia has a special rewards program with three membership tiers. All it takes to “join” is booking a set amount of travel per year. Of course, the first tier includes just about everyone, while the second tier takes $ 5k to reach, but everyone can earn points. Still, those could pay off on your next trip.
6 Kayak Has A Handy App Function
Both Kayak and Expedia issue special deals to app users. But Kayak also integrates with Gmail, so you can export your itinerary from the app to your Google platform. The Kayak app also lets you organize all the details of each trip within the app. They simply call it Trips.
5 Expedia Offers Special Deals Via Their App
Expedia confirms that its app (for both Android and Apple devices) offers discounts on bookings. People who use the app to book their travel can save up to 30 percent just for doing it in-app. That’s a pretty sweet deal!
4 Kayak Sends You Price Alerts
If your budget is tight, getting the perfectly priced deal could make the difference between making a trip and staying home. So Kayak’s Price Alert function is awesome! A button marked “Track Prices” lets you keep an eye on fluctuations and book when the timing’s right. Then you’ll have extra cash for luxe luggage, right?
3 Expedia Accepts Certain Credit Card Points
If you have a Citi ThankYou card or American Express Membership Rewards, you can use those points to book travel with Expedia. All it takes is linking your rewards account to your Expedia login, which could boost Expedia up a notch in those card users’ books.
2 Kayak Doesn’t Deal With Refunds
What happens if you book via Kayak and decide you want your money back? Good luck. Kayak is basically a search engine or an aggregator of travel options. So, since you’re not paying Kayak, they can’t issue you a refund. Kind of a bummer as they’re sort of an ‘agent,’ but it’s good to know ahead of time.
1 Expedia Charges Booking Fees For Airfare
Though Expedia offers some awesomely priced packages for your next trip, they also charge some shady fees for booking. Since you’re booking with Expedia directly, they can upcharge you for airfare, and they take advantage of this. Fees can be small but they can also add up!