Do you ever wish that planning and booking your next vacation could be easier? Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax - planning them shouldn't be stressful! Kayak and Expedia are two booking websites that aim to simplify and streamline the vacation planning process.
Both of the services come with free mobile apps. Using the app might give you access to exclusive deals and rewards that you wouldn't get through the website. In terms of available choices, there are tons of travel booking deals available at highly discounted rates through both systems.
So which will work best for you? It really depends on how you prefer to plan your vacations. I've broken down some of the most helpful aspects of each service's features and offerings.
Overview of Kayak and Expedia
Unique Kayak Features
Unique Expedia Features
The Explore feature from Kayak lets you compare many different potential destinations based on your budget and travel timeframe. This is great for those who aren't sure where they want to travel.
The Guides section also helps with vacation planning. Other users compile travel guides with unique information about the places they've been, which can give you ideas for things to do and places to go.
The Things to Do booking section allows you to book activities like tours and events in your destination area. If you want to have a day-by-day plan for different experiences during your trip, this feature is a great way to find out what's available.
Kayak offers the best options when planning a vacation and ideas from the ground-up. However, to create more concrete travel plans, the activities booking section through Expedia is super convenient.
The Kayak app allows for searching and booking of cars, hotels, and flights from your Android or iOS device. There are multiple exclusive deals available for app users that you won't get through online website booking. Using the interface is fairly easy.
One convenient feature is that you can export your booking information to your Gmail account, which may help you keep track of your itinerary. You can also organize every aspect of your travel plans, including plans that weren't booked through the Kayak interface!
To import your bookings, you'll just use your Gmail account. Alternatively, the booking confirmation email can be forwarded to a Kayak account for trip management. Once your information is imported, you can build and save the trip itinerary.
You can also set the app to give you alerts when there are new deals on flights to your preferred destination.
Expedia's rewards program gives you double points when you download and use the app. The app has the same booking and platform functionality as Kayak's, along with the same propensity for exclusive deals.
One helpful aspect of the app is how easy hotel booking is. When you search hotels in an area, you'll be displayed a map with the hotel locations labeled. That makes it visually easier to determine where the most convenient location is for your trip plans. This can make the app a little more user-friendly for hotel booking.
Also available is an itinerary feature. When you embark on your journey, this feature will update you about baggage claim carousels, departure gates, and any delays or changes in your flights.
Kayak doesn't have a full rewards program. You won't earn points or discounts for every booking you make through the site. But it does have a program called the Open Table Dining Rewards system.
Every time you make a restaurant reservation, you receive certain rewards points. As the points add up, you can then exchange them for discounts on your next hotel stay. Anywhere from $20 to $80 may be discounted.
The system is fairly straightforward. For every 1,000 points you earn, you can get your hotel stay discounted by $20. The cap is at 4,000 points, or $80.
Expedia has a rewards program called Expedia Rewards. As soon as you download and begin using the mobile app, you earn double the points. There are also rewards that kick in as soon as you join without needing to earn points beforehand.
There are three tiers of membership: blue, silver, and gold.
➽ Blue members get immediate benefits upon joining the rewards program. Certain hotels are discounted an extra ten percent for members. You'll also earn points with each booking to claim for later rewards. The Hotel Price Guarantee feature means Expedia will match any lower prices found up until midnight prior to your stay.
➽ Silver members upgrade when they stay in hotels for seven nights or spend at least $5,000 per year. When you meet this threshold, you'll get spa credits and free breakfast at VIP Access hotels. There are also ten percent more points upon booking.
➽ Gold members are those who stay in hotels for fifteen nights or spend at least $10,000 per year. When you stay at VIP Access hotels, you'll get free room upgrades whenever they become available. Bookings will also get you thirty percent more points.
Expedia's entire system allows you to earn rewards points for bookings. The different tiers of rewards member each get access to multiple benefits. By contrast, Kayak only has minor hotel discounts in exchange for dinner reservations.
Pros and Cons of Kayak
Pros and Cons of Expedia
Final Thoughts: Which is Better?
Both of these booking services offer a large range of vacation options. They tend to be neck-and-neck when comparing the lowest prices - Expedia often performs better with packages inside the United States, but Kayak is more reliable with inexpensive international travel plans.
Expedia is best for those who already have a concrete idea of their destination. By booking flights and hotels in a bundle, you get access to deeper discounts. The site will also let you book vacation rentals and activity packages in your area of choice.
Kayak works best for those who are still planning their vacation. The Explore option is an ideal way of finding out what destinations are available based on your vacation time and budget. In addition, the app is great for alerting you to deals and organizing travel itinerary - even if you didn't book the deals through Kayak itself.