Expedia.com is one of the most well-known website for booking travel accommodations online. It allows you to seamlessly book flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, or even cruises or entire vacation packages all in one place. And its rewards system and coupon codes allow you to save even more on your vacation amenities. Unfortunately, Expedia has a rather poor customer service reputation, including the fact that it has a rather small window for changing your itinerary without being charged or denied a refund. And, as with most "middleman" booking websites, it has little control over how well the actual accommodation providers honour your requests.
For sites like Expedia with more reliable customer service, your best bets are Orbitz.com and Booking.com. Or, if you want to take a chance on "sight unseen" accommodations and possibly score a great deal, try Priceline.com or Hotwire.com. Or, if you're looking for non-hotel lodgings, check out FlipKey.com.
If booking travel accommodations with Expedia leads to more jet lag than enjoyment, here are nine other popular Expedia competitors for you to try.
Priceline.com is a website that is as famous for having celebrity spokespeople (notably Star Trek actor William Shatner and The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco) as it is for its uniqueness as an Expedia alternative. Sometimes called "the eBay of travel booking websites", Priceline's signature "Name Your Own Price" program allows you to book travel accommodations based on how much you're willing to pay for them. Be careful, though... since accommodation companies don't want to be seen advertising below-retail rates, you won't be able to see some details of your accommodations until after you book them if you use "Name Your Own Price".
Whether you're looking to book on Priceline normally or through the "Name Your Own Price" system, we'll show you how in our Priceline course.
Booking.com is an Expedia competitor that has become rather popular lately. While it only focuses on hotel bookings (and not flights, car rentals, or cruises), it has a much larger selection of them, partnered with over 650,000 properties worldwide. It offers its interface in over 41 languages, no booking fees on accommodations that you reserve, easy-to-use self-serve customer service for changing booking details, and free cancellation on most rooms. In addition, if you create an account and subscribe to their newsletters, you may be able to find even better deals! Booking.com also allows you to book non-hotel properties for rent, such as apartments, villas, bed & breakfasts, and more through its main site as well as its sister site, Villas.com.
If you aren't a very picky traveller and just want to save as much money on your travel accommodations as possible, then try Hotwire. This is the website that many travel companies turn to when they are trying to sell off their bookings at any price to avoid taking a total loss. This means that you can get accommodations for extremely low prices, but the catch is that you won't know some of the details of what you book until after you're finished, and you can't cancel your booking. This means that you may have to do a little more research and forward planning than usual if you're going to use Hotwire. Or you just have to be lucky, or -- as we said -- not a nitpicker when it comes to travel.
If you're looking to book a rental property instead of a hotel for your trip out of town, then Tripping.com is one website that you should know about. It's partnered with lots of rental property booking websites from around the globe, so you can search for listings on all of them at once. Plus, you can compare prices among listings posted on multiple sites at once, making sure that you always rent a property at the best price. You can even find some money-saving promotional codes if you sign up for their daily deals!
To learn more about this rental property booking website search engine, visit our Tripping.com course.
Orbitz is a site that is very similar to Expedia, in that it allows for the booking of travel accommodations such as airline flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. Like Expedia, Orbitz has a rewards program that earns you "Orbucks" (on-site currency), which you can then use towards the price of hotel bookings. Orbitz also has a price guarantee system, so if you find a better price on the same accommodation elsewhere, tell Orbitz and they'll give you Orbucks equal to the difference in prices, plus a little extra! Orbitz is also notable for having relatively good customer service, despite being part of an industry that is often maligned for its lack of support in this area.
FlipKey specializes in the renting out and booking of privately owned and managed properties... apartments, condominiums, vacation homes, you name it! It has tons of daily discounts that help you rent for less, and all hosts have to verify their personal information on the website (so you're always dealing with a real person). Just take care in cases where you have to pay for your booking outside of FlipKey; try to meet the property owner/manager in person if you can.
An alternative to Expedia that's famous for its "Roaming Gnome" mascot, Travelocity has connections with over 140,000 hotels and 140 airlines around the globe. So if there's a place on the globe that you want or need to go to, Travelocity can help you book the accommodations that will get you there and help you stay there for as long as you need. The interface is easy to use, and the website also features news and travel advice based on where you want to go or what kind of vacation you want. Travelocity also doesn't charge you booking fees. Note that some people have complained about Travelocity's customer service not being too great (though that's unfortunately par for the course when it comes to travel booking websites), and that you can't search for flexible dates.
Branding itself as "the obvious choice" for booking hotel rooms online, Hotels.com also allows you to book stays at properties owned and/or managed by private individuals. These include apartments, townhouses, bed & breakfasts, cottages, and so on. Their signature promotion is "stay 10 nights, get 1 free"; for every 10 nights stayed at properties booked through Hotels.com, you can discount one instance of the nightly booking rate from a future booking's price.
Trivago is different from the other alternatives to Expedia on this list in that it isn't exactly a travel accommodations booking website itself. Instead, it's more what you might call a travel booking search engine. That is, it looks on hundreds of different travel booking websites and sorts the prices and reviews for hotels and rooms. That way, you not only get to know who's offering the best price for your stay, but you also get a broader sample of opinions on whether a particular hotel is a slam-dunk or a dud.
Have you booked travel accommodations with any of these websites like Expedia? Was it smooth sailing, or did you get stuck in layover limbo? Are there any other travel booking websites that you've used that you would recommend to our followers? Give us the details by leaving a comment below, or posting a message on our Facebook or Twitter pages!
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