What Expedia Is and How to Get Unbelievable Travel Deals

Last updated: April 12, 2017 - 10:48pm EDT

Once travel accommodations companies realized the potential of the Internet for booking their services, it didn’t take long for them to create their own websites for that exact purpose. Though this made booking travel accommodations more convenient, there was still a problem with it; prospective travelers still had to sift through millions of listings for hotels, cruises, flights, and rental cars across hundreds of different websites to find the best deals or even just put a complete vacation package together.

Some companies saw this problem as an opportunity, realizing that they could make a business out of advertising and facilitating the booking of travel accommodations from multiple companies all in one place.  Many websites geared toward this purpose exist today, all which offer their own unique take on booking travel accommodations. Some offer last-minute deals, while others rent out people’s personal properties…how do you choose which one is right for you?

There are many websites out there for booking (and getting great deals on) travel accommodations, but one of the most popular and well-established ones is Expedia.com.

What is Expedia?

Expedia is a popular website for booking travel accommodations. It aims to provide the lowest prices for any booking, which is backed up with the “Best Price Guarantee.” You can search for hotels, cars, flights, or packages based on your travel requirements, and sort through accommodations that meet your needs.

How does Expedia work?

When you visit the Expedia website, you start by entering information about what type of travel accommodations you are looking for. Indicate if you are looking to book a flight, hotel, car rental, or vacation package, and then enter specifications such as where you’re travelling from and to, when you want to travel, and how many people will be travelling.

Expedia.com home page

From there, you can filter available accommodations using various criteria until you find the perfect accommodations for you!  Then you can click on any venue to see more details, and when you find the accommodation(s) you're looking for, simply click Select to start the booking process.

Filter Expedia.com search results

5 reasons to use Expedia to book travel

1. Expedia saves you money.

Since they are connected to so many companies that provide the same types of services, these companies will be competing for your business.  That means you can sometimes score great discounts, especially when these services are under-booked!

2. Expedia is convenient, and saves you time.

Expedia has connections with many of the world's most popular airlines, hotel chains, rental car companies, and cruise lines.  That means you don't have to go running around to all of these separate places to put the pieces of your trip together.  With Expedia, you can set up all of your accommodations in one spot, right from the comfort of your own home!

3. If you find a better price elsewhere, their “Best Price Guarantee” will beat it!

Expedia's "Best Price Guarantee" makes sure that you're getting the best deal on your booking.  If you find a better booking of the exact same item on another website within 24 hours of making arrangements, let them know.  You'll get a full refund, and maybe even a free travel voucher!

4. You can cancel your accommodations without fear.

In many cases, a booking you make on Expedia can be cancelled prior to your trip.  If you do cancel, you will often be entitled to a partial or full refund. This means that you can book a great accommodations deal when you see it without worrying about losing money if you need to cancel. To learn more about how this works and what you’re may be entitled to, check out our article on Expedia’s cancellation policy.

5. Expedia offers travel insurance for anything that happens before, during, or after the trip.

Expedia offers optional insurance when booking your accommodations, so you can get a refund on the cost of your trip if there circumstances out of your control affect your trip. They offer insurance for things such as cancelled flights, lost baggage, illness, family emergency, bad weather, and more. 

What can I book on Expedia?

Flights

Choose to fly one-way, round-trip, or to multiple destinations. Choose the specific airports that you want to fly to or from, the airlines that you want to fly with, and what class of seat you want. In an upcoming tutorial, we'll teach you how to book flights on Expedia, with step-by-step instructions.

Hotels

Find hotels near where you're headed on your next trip. You can search for them based on how popular they are, how highly they're rated, or what amenities they have. Or, if you have a specific hotel that you like, you can search for it by name. 

Car rentals

Need some wheels at your next destination? Pick the rental company you want, the type of car you want, where you're going to pick up and drop off your car, and how long you'll need it. 

Cruises

Plan your dream nautical adventure. Pick your cruise line, where you want to leave from and go to, how long you want to be at sea, what type of cabin you want, and more. 

Vacation packages

Don't want to book your travel accommodations separately? Pick whether you need a flight, hotel, and/or car rental, and let Expedia find packages that give you everything you need at once. Booking vacation package can be a complex process, so be sure to check out our tutorial on booking Expedia vacation packages for some tips!

Is Expedia a safe, legit, and reliable booking website?

Expedia is safe to use for booking travel accommodations, as they protect your personal and financial information with secure, encrypted servers. Expedia is also a well-established website that has booked millions of accommodations since its inception, so you can trust that it's legitimate and reliable. It is also reliable because of its travel insurance options and cancellation policy. 

The history of Expedia, and why it’s so popular for booking travel

Started in 2001 by Richard Barton and Lloyd Frink as a subsidiary of Microsoft, Expedia has grown into one of the most popular online travel accommodation booking agencies. Since it began, Expedia has acquired over a dozen popular travel websites, making it one of the largest travel-related business networks in the world.  It makes billions of dollars in revenue from booking accommodations each year.

Expedia is so popular for booking travel accommodations because you can get everything in one place: flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages.  There’s something for everyone, and you just pick what you need.  Expedia also has a “Best Price Guarantee” that lets you get a refund on your accommodations booking if, within 24 hours of booking, you find a lower price for your exact same accommodations somewhere else.

The pros and cons of Expedia

Expedia is one of the most established and used travel accommodations booking websites for a reason: it can save you a lot of money. Expedia’s “Best Price Guarantee,” flexible cancellation policy, and travel insurance options are all huge incentives. The company also has a rewards program if you create an account, so you can get even better deals!

However, Expedia has little control over what its partner websites will do, so you could incur fees on some of your bookings that may not be from Expedia, but are from its partnered websites (even though Expedia itself doesn't charge booking fees). In addition, its cancellation policy may be good, but you still only have 24 hours to cancel a booking without being charged (in most cases).

Expedia competitors

Expedia may be one of the most popular travel accommodations booking websites around, but it still has its fair share of direct competitors, all with their own unique attributes to offer you. One of the biggest Expedia competitors is Priceline, which allows you to “Name Your Own Price” for some accommodations that you book. Another popular website like Expedia is Orbitz, which has an amazing rewards program that gives you money off of future bookings when you use it repeatedly.

To learn more about these Expedia alternatives and many others, check out this detailed tutorial

 

That’s our basic rundown of Expedia. We go into a lot more detail in the rest of our Expedia course, and break down individual aspects of the website such as how to book flights, hotels, car rentals, vacations, and cruises. We can also give you some tips for using Expedia safely in our next article.

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More Expedia Tutorials

See all 17 Expedia tutorials
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