Making sense of travel websites and booking engines

Booking engines are a great way to find discounted travel – but with so many out there it can be hard to know which one is best.

We’re sharing the best places on the web to find great travel deals along with our pick of the best booking engines.

For last-minute deals

There’s a certain thrill to booking last minute; it’s fun to be spontaneous now and again and by waiting to book you can find some incredible deals – if you’re willing to suffer a little inconvenience here and there. Still, what’s an early flight time if you can find seats at half price? If you’re ready for adventure on the cheap, here are the websites you need:

  • Travel Supermarket – Their booking engine lets you specify your dates and your departure airport, then presents you with a list of possible holidays and destinations.
  • Teletext Holidays – From short haul holidays leaving next week to long haul flights at hugely discounted rates, Teletext has 20 years of experience offering British travellers great value holidays. If you don’t like booking online, this is a great way to go – you can scout out the deals from the website and then call a Teletext operator to book. They’ll sort you out with any special requirements you might have and can help you choose the option that’s best for you.

For comparing flight prices  

If it’s just flights you’re after, a booking engine is the simplest way to see what’s on offer. You can compare flight prices with just a cursory glance and specify things like stopovers, airlines and flight dates and times. In a world where flight prices constantly seem on the rise, these websites can help you keep a few pennies in your purse.

  • Kayak – Great for flights and other things you might need like hotels and car rental, Kayak scans hundreds of different airlines to offer you the best price.
  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner’s global search engine can show you all your best options in one place quickly and without hassle. There’s no fee to use the service – if you find a flight you like, they’ll point you directly to the airline website for safe and secure booking.
  • Momondo – The award-winning booking engine compares flights from the big airlines as well as smaller budget options. It’s rated by the Telegraph, New York Times and CNN as one of the cheapest and best booking tools on the web.

For special experiences

If it’s not about the price but about the experience, these websites take all the work out of planning – each website curates hotels and offers in destinations around the world to help you find a hotel or holiday experience that’s unique, luxurious and out of the ordinary.

  • Secret Escapes – By creating a members-only site, Secret Escapes is able to offer heavily discounted rooms on luxury hotels. Their deals also tend to be exclusive; meaning you wont find them on any other websites. It’s free to join and they’ll send you a weekly email filled with great deals and luxury holidays.
  • Mr & Mrs Smith – For hand-picked luxury, Mr and Mrs Smith has all you need. Each recommendation has been vetted by experts in travel and luxury, so you can feel confident that whatever you book will live up to its glossy marketing material.
  • Voyage Prive – If you’re after a touch of luxury at a sensible price, Voyage Prive is worth a look. The website offers its members a changing roster of daily deals to choose from. One day it might be a romantic getaway to Paris, while the next it might be a spa trip to the Maldives. Flash sales stay live for 7 days – meaning you can grab a last minute bargain and still enjoy the satisfaction of a luxury holiday, too.

What are your favourite booking engines?

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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