Will Travel Site Kayak.com Save You Money?

To answer the question of how good Kayak is, you must first understand what Kayak is.  Kayak is not an online travel agency like Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz – meaning Kayak does not actually book travel.  Kayak is a search engine – think Google for travel information.   Kayak, founded in 2004, allows users to search for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages.  In this article we will focus on how well Kayak works for booking flights and hotels.

How Does Kayak Work for Hotels and Flights?

When you perform a search on Kayak (for flights or hotels) Kayak begins searching sites for the best rate based on the dates and places you have entered.  Kayak uses two primary sources to find this information.  Kayak searches:

  • The rates offered directly by the provider – the hotel or the airline.
  • The rates offered by dozens of online travel agencies like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.

However, and this is important, not all the results are combined into one page.  Kayak, will show you all the best rates from the providers (hotels & airlines) on their result page, but for the rates offered by most of the sites like Expedia, Hotwire, and Travelocity, Kayak simply opens a new page and directs you to those sites.  The rates offered by thoses sites cannot be seen in the Kayak results.  What this means is that when Kayak shows you the best rate for a flight or hotel – it does not compare it to the rates offered by some of the biggest online travel agents.

Does Kayak Have the Lowest Rates?

Now that you understand exactly how Kayak works, you can probably guess that the answer to this question is NO.  However, just because Kayak does not always, or perhaps even usually, find the lowest rate does not mean you shouldn’t use Kayak.  In fact, if you are looking for the best deal on a hotel or flight, you would be foolish to ignore Kayak.

Because Kayak is not actually making the reservation (they just redirect you to the site with the best offer) they do not have to have booking arrangements with all the hotels and airlines, and consequently they often have more providers to choose from.  It is also worth mentioning that Kayak has a very sleek and intuitive website and they make finding the best deal on their site very easy.  Kayak should definitely be a part of your travel booking routine, but don’t become too reliant on them because sometimes they miss better deals on other online travel agency sites.

Final Kayak Tips

  • When using Kayak, make sure you select the checkboxes to search the other booking sites.
  • Don’t forget that it’s Kayak not Kyack – you’d be surprised how many people misspell it.

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