When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

26 November 2005

In praise of Kayak.com

On the off chance that you don't already know about it, I'd like to tell you about a wonderful resource for travelers: Kayak.com, the travel search engine.

Kayak is *not* a travel agent, and they don't sell anything (thus, the Kayak corporate motto - Search with us, book with them.™) Their business is 100% advertising-supported, and is free for users; Kayak searches hundreds of travel, airline, hotel and rental car company sites, and consolidates and returns the best offers to you, along with a fairly unobtrusive column of advertisements, when you run a search.

I have been a long-time Expedia user for personal travel, and for business travel, I use a godawful corporate travel agent website that shall remain nameless (if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.) I can generally plan most business *and* personal trips well in advance, meaning that I can do reasonably well for myself most of the time using these comparatively blunt instruments.

I'm finding that Kayak can sometimes do a little better for me even when I'm planning a trip a month in advance; where Kayak really shines, however, is finding the last-minute "drop everything, I gotta go now" fares.

When the travel-agent sites were refusing to show me anything but price-gouging full-fare tickets, Kayak often "knew" about a last-minute deal that the agent sites weren't letting me in on. I saved several hundred dollars on a *single* transaction this fall using Kayak... oh, did I mention that it's free?

Plus, the interface beats the travel agent sites all hollow: you can tweak your search *from the results page* without having to re-start from scratch.

kayak results
Oh, to be in Raleigh, now that winter's here.

Once you find the best fares or deals on Kayak, you can book directly with the airlines, hotels or rental car companies in question: Kayak makes it easy by linking directly to the appropriate site for the fare or deal that you find in your search results.

If your business forces you to use a corporate travel agency (cough, hack, spit) you can use Kayak ahead of time and go to that site (or talk to those folks) armed with the knowledge you need to "massage" your search terms precisely to achieve the desired result.

I don't know how I ever managed without it.

Cheap Airfare, Hotel Reservations, Car Rentals - Kayak.com

(I have no affiliation with Kayak, other than being an extremely satisfied user.)

1 comment:

billo said...

We're very happy you like the site. Thanks for the nice comments on your blog!

-Bill O'Donnell
Chief Architect, kayak.com