How to Use (and Book Travel with) Kayak

Last updated: January 8, 2017 - 2:56pm EST

Now that you know what Kayak is and how it works, and have (optionally) signed up for a Kayak account, you may be wondering exactly how to use this travel accommodations comparison website.  "How can I save money by using Kayak.com to search for (and perhaps book) travel deals?" you may ask. Well, in this article, we’ll explain how to use Kayak to search for travel deals, find the best destinations to travel to, and even book travel. We’ll also give you tips on how to use Kayak to its fullest in order to access the best travel deals out there!

How to search for travel deals on Kayak

Kayak was created to give users the best deals on hotels, flights, car rentals, and vacation packages by comparing prices between other travel websites. To make Kayak your one-stop shop for the best travel deals, begin by going to www.kayak.com in your web browser of choice.  Then, select the type of accommodations that you want to compare prices for.

Hotels

On the Kayak home page, the default search function finds you deals on hotels. To start finding deals, locate the search bar.

Click in the Kayak search bar to search for travel deals.

Click in the box labelled "Where" and type the name of a city you want to visit. From the suggestions that appear, click on the city you are interested in.

Search for hotels in a particular city.

Next, click on the first calendar and select the day you would like to check into your hotel. Then, click on the second calendar and select your check-out date.

Use the calendar to choose your travel dates.

The last information you need to enter is the number of people who will be coming on your trip, and how many hotel rooms they require. Click the drop-down menu highlighted in the screenshot below, and use the "+" and "" buttons to raise or lower your total number of rooms and guests. When you are finished, click the orange Search button.

Choose your party size.

You will then be taken to a new page, where you can view your search results. On this page, you can change your search criteria at any time at the top of the screen. Move your mouse cursor over any detail until it becomes underlined, click on it (you can also click the orange Change button beside it) and then type in your new information.  Then click the orange Search button to redo your search.

After your search, you can click Change to update or alter your search criteria.

Kayak will tell you right away what hotels in your chosen area have rooms currently available for the dates you have selected. It also offers you a quick option to change your dates to receive a lower price. Click on any one of the date bubbles to make this change.

Change the dates for your search.

Scroll down to view your possible hotel bookings and learn more information about the hotels you may want to stay in. Each box shows a different hotel, and your options are sorted automatically by what Kayak recommends for you. To sort your results a different way, click the drop-down menu at the top of the results (highlighted in the screenshot below), and select to sort them by price, review score, star rating, or distance (away from you).

Sort your search resultes.

Each box will tell you information about the hotel, so you know immediately what kind of accommodations they have. You can see the hotel's star rating, Kayak website review rating (out of 10), pictures, and average price rate (for the dates you have selected).   You can also see a comparison of additional price rates from other affiliate websites. By clicking the orange View Deal button, a drop-down menu will open that shows you a comparison of all of the available price rates through Kayak’s partner websites. Click on any price rate or website name to be taken to the corresponding website, where you can book your hotel room at that price rate.

View and compare hotel prices.

You can also filter your search results to make them more specific to your needs. To learn how to do this, scroll down to our section titled “Filtering Your Results.”

Flights

To change the Kayak search to flights only, click the Flights button at the top of the screen. The search bar will change to reflect components of your trip specific to flights.

Click the top menu to change your search to Flights.

Click on the first box on the left-hand side of the search bar and select which airport you want to fly out of.  Do the same for the box directly to the right to select the airport that you want to fly into. You must then click the first calendar and select your departure date, then click the second calendar and select your return date. Use the final drop-down box to specify your flight type, how many travellers you have, and the age range of each traveller. From there, you can click the orange Search button to see your results. Make sure you have selected Round-Trip, One-Way, or Multi-City above these boxes based on your flight needs.

Use the search bar to search for flights.

You can also add a few more details to your search right now to make your results more specific. Under each city box, you can click the check box that says “Include Nearby” to see results for nearby airports as well. You can also compare flights from other websites to Kayak’s prices by clicking All or None beside “Compare vs. Kayak.” You can also pick specific websites to compare to Kayak by clicking the check boxes next to the corresponding website names. Click Search when you’re done.

One the next page, you can click Change at the top of the screen to change any of your travel details. Click View Deal to be taken to Kayak’s affiliate website to book your flight.

View the details of your flights.

Car Rentals

To change your Kayak search to car rentals, click the Cars button at the top of the home page.

Change your search to car rentals on the top menu.

Click in the first box on the left side of the search bar, and then type the name of the city you need to pick up the car in (click on the name of a city from the list of suggestions that pops up to select it quickly).  Click the first calendar and select the pick-up date for your car, then click the second calendar and select your return date for the vehicle. Click the drop-down boxes beside each respective calendar and select times for the pick-up and return of the car. Click Search when you’re done.

Fill in the search bar information to search for car rentals.

You can also click the check boxes below "Compare vs. Kayak" to compare Kayak prices with other websites before clicking Search.

Click Change at the top of your page of suggestions to change any of your travel details. When you see a deal that looks appealing to you, click View Deal to be taken to the Kayak partner website.

View your car rental deals.

Packages

To change your search criteria to include vacation packages, click Flight + Hotel at the top of the home page.

Change your search criteria to packages on the top menu.

Click in the first box on the left in the search bar and type in your departure point.  Then, click in the next box to the right and enter your destination or an airport. Click the first calendar and select your departure date, then click the second calendar and select your return date. In the last drop-down box, choose the number of people travelling on the trip. When you’ve entered all of your information, click the orange Search button.

Enter your vacation search details.

On your search results page, click Change at the top of the page to modify any of your travel details. When you have found an appealing vacation package deal, click View Deal to be taken to the Kayak partner website to book your deal.

View your vacation package details to consider booking.

Other travel deals

Kayak.com also offers you the ability to search for activities, explore destinations, and track flights. Click More at the top of the home screen to open a drop-down menu, and then click Activities, Explore, or Flight Tracker. Scroll down to read more below on “Kayak Explore.”

Click More at the top to search for activities and other travel deals.

Filtering your results

When you search for hotels, flights, car rentals, or packages, you'll likely get hundreds of search results.  This can sometimes make it difficult to make decisions on what's the right accommodation for you. On a search results page, you can filter your possible deals to make it easier to find what’s best for you.

Along the left side of the results page, you can click on any option to filter your results. Click one of the options below "Stars" to filter your accommodations by star rating, and click to check or uncheck the check boxes below "Review Score" to include results with "Excellent", "Good", "Okay", and/or "Mediocre" review scores on Kayak. Under "Price", you can click and drag either end of the price bar to set minimum or maximum prices for your results.  And you can click to check or uncheck any check boxes under "Freebies" to indicate whether or not you want certain amenities to be included with your accommodations. You can also click More at the top to see more available filters.

Filter your search results.

How to book travel accommodations with Kayak

Once you find a hotel, flight, or travel deal you would like to book, click on the name of the website that you would like to book with (or its associated price rate). You can also click View Deal to see all of the options Kayak has, and then select one by clicking on it. The lowest price will appear in green.

Click View Deal to see the lowest prices and compare them before booking.

When you click on a price, you will be taken to the affiliate website to book your vacation. From there, you must follow the instructions for completing your booking specific to that website. Generally, these will be to confirm the details of your vacation, enter your payment information, and confirm your reservation.

How to book with Kayak

Kayak also allows you to book on their website, as they sometimes offer the lowest price. To do so:

  1. Click on a price for your vacation. On the next page, choose the specifics of your booking (room type, flight time, etc). Click Select to choose an option.

    Enter the details of your vacation and choose specifics before booking.

  2. You will then need to enter your guest details and payment information. If you have signed up for a Kayak account, this information will already be filled in for you.

    Enter your guest details and payment information to continue booking.

    For guest details, click in the highlighted text boxes and drop-down menus and type in or select:

    - your formal title
    - your first name
    - your last name
    - your email address
    - your phone number

    For billing information, click in the highlighted text boxes and drop-down menus and type in or select:

    - your name, as it appears on your credit card
    - your credit card number
    - the day and month that your credit card expires on
    - the year that your credit card expires
    - your credit card's security code (move your mouse cursor over the "i" icon for help finding it)
    - your street address
    - your unit address (if applicable)
    - the city in which you live
    - the state, province, or territory in which you live
    - your local mailing code
    - the country in which you live

  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and review the terms and conditions of your booking. When you’ve confirmed that all of your information is correct, click the Book Now button. You will receive an email confirming your reservation.

    Confirm your reservation and click Book now.

How to plan a trip with Kayak

Kayak offers you a free travel planning assistant to help you plan your trips. To start using the trip planner, go to www.kayak.com/trips in your web browser, and make sure you sign into your Kayak account. (Visit our tutorial on how to sign up for a Kayak account if you don't have an account yet). In the middle of the screen, click Create a Trip.

Use the Kayak trip planner to help plan your trips.

Once you're on the screen marked "Add a Trip", click in each of the boxes highlighted below and type in or select:

- the destination of your trip
- a name for your trip (so you can easily identify it)
- the date that you wish to depart on your trip
- the date that you wish to return from your trip
- any additional notes about your trip that you wish to make (these are optional)

When you’re finished, click the orange Save button.

Enter information about your trip to help Kayak help you.

From there, as long as you’re using Kayak for your searches, you can save information to help you plan your trips. You can use the trip planner to find all kinds of information about your trip. Click Find a Flight, Find a Hotel, or Find a Car to start searching for prices of accommodations for your trip.

Find bookings for your trip by search for prices based on the information you entered in the trip planner.

You can click Compare your Favorites to view and organize accommodations that you've saved from your search results, Track Prices to look at graphs of updated prices of accommodations you've saved for your trip, Share and Collaborate to share the details of your trip on your social network accounts, or Build Itineraries to manually add events or saved bookings to your trip.

Use the trip planning tools to suit your travel needs.

All of these tools can be used to help you plan your trip and keep each part of the planning organized. The trip planner is also great for saving accommodations that you're interested in, and then keeping up-to-date on the lowest prices so you can save as much as possible.

Price Alerts

If you want price alerts -- weekly notifications about the prices of certain accommodations -- you can set these up as well. Sign into your Kayak account (if you haven't already), click your name in the top-right corner (to open your account menu), and select Email & Alerts from the drop-down menu.

Access price alerts to help track prices you are interested in over time.

On this screen, click Add a Flight Alert or Add a Hotel Alert in the top-right corner.

Click to add a flight alert or a hotel alert.

On the next page, fill in the information for the flight or hotel you are interested in.  Then, under "Send Every", click the drop-down menu and select which day of the week you receive the alert. When you’re finished entering information, click Save Alert.

Enter the information you are interested in to add a flight or hotel alert.

You will be alerted once every week about the current average prices of the accommodations that you have set up alerts for, as well as how much each of those prices has increased or decreased. Simply log into your Kayak account, click your name to access your account menu, and then select Email & Alerts to check on your alerts. If you’re signed in to your Kayak account, you can also access alerts directly by visiting www.kayak.com/alerts.

Track the price alerts you are interested in over time.

The Kayak "Explore" function

Kayak's "Explore" function allows you to use your location to see cheap, available flights around you. To start using it, go to www.kayak.com/explore in your web browser. Click in the box labelled "Home Airport" and type in where you will be departing from.  Then, click in the box labelled "Month" and choose the month and year that you plan to travel. You can also click and drag the sliders on the two other bars highlighted here to set limits on the flight's price or duration, respectively. Click on any price that fits within your search criteria to view the details of its corresponding flight or trip.

Use the map to explore prices around the world and find the best deals.

How to download the Kayak app

Kayak now has an app, so you can take it with you wherever you go to search and receive notifications for the best travel deals around! To download the Kayak app:

  1. Open the Google Play Store or Apple App Store on your device by tapping the appropriate icon.

    Open the app store on your device to download the Kayak app.

  2. Tap the search bar, and use your device's virtual keyboard to type “Kayak.” Tap the suggestion labelled "KAYAK Flights, Hotels, and Cars".

    Use the search bar to search for the Kayak app.

  3. Tap the green Install button to begin the download (or tap Get and then Install for Apple devices).

    Tap the green Install button to begin the download.

  4. Wait for Kayak to download, and then tap Open to launch the app.

    Tap open to launch the Kayak app.

 

That’s how you use Kayak.com to help save money and book your travel. To learn more about staying safe while using Kayak to book your travel, check out our article on Kayak.com safety. If you’re interested in other travel booking websites -- like Priceline or Booking.com -- that may be able to save you money on your travel, read our article on the best websites like Kayak.com.

Mark_complete_lg

More Kayak.com Tutorials

See all 6 Kayak.com tutorials
Mark_complete_sm Back_to_course

Support TechBoomers

TechBoomers offers free articles that teach people how to use technology to make their lives easier (and more fun!). To support our work, some of our content contains links to websites that pay us affiliate commissions when our users visit them through us and make purchases. Learn more about how this works.

Did you learn what you wanted to?

Was something in this tutorial missing, confusing, or out of date? Or did it give you all the information you needed, and you just want to say "thanks"? We'd love to hear what you thought!