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Get the best deal without the hassle: The best sites to book flights

If you're not booking direct, try one of these sites to book flights

man holding credit card looking at computer
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Finding cheap flights can feel like a full-time job, with prices varying wildly across different booking sites and search engines. Spend too little time searching, and you could easily overpay. But go down an endless rabbit hole of flight searches, and the “deal” you scored may not be worth the hassle. 

The good news is that not all flight search engines are created equal. Some make it easier to find great deals without the headache of combing through countless options and websites. When you use the right flight booking site for your needs, you can take the stress out of trip planning while still saving big. 

Don’t worry – we’re here to help! We compiled some of the best sites to book flights and get fantastic value with minimal effort.

Google Flights: The easy, feature-packed option

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For simplicity combined with powerful search capabilities and features, it’s hard to beat Google Flights. Just enter your origin, destination, and travel dates, and Google instantly pulls flight results from across hundreds of airlines and online travel agencies. 

The search filters are robust. You can quickly narrow things down by airline, number of stops, departure times, flight duration, price range, and more. You can even filter out basic economy fares or flights on certain aircraft types. 

One of the most useful features is the explore map, which is great for finding cheap destinations if your travel dates are at least somewhat flexible. Just select your home airport and possible travel dates, and Google will show you the lowest fares to different regions of the world.

The main downside of Google Flights is that it doesn’t always surface the absolute cheapest fares, particularly for international routes to less traveled destinations. But for a fast, clean search experience with plenty of customization, Google Flights is tough to top.

Kayak: The price comparison specialist  

man and woman on computer
Tim Samuel / Pexels

While Google Flights queries a huge range of sources, Kayak takes things even further by scanning across hundreds of individual airline and online travel agency websites to try to find the lowest fares. It doesn’t sell tickets directly, but it streamlines the booking process by linking you straight to the cheapest option to finalize your purchase.

Kayak’s flexible date search calendar is cleanly designed and makes it easy to see at a glance the cheapest days to fly for your particular route. You can quickly compare fares across an entire month or two to find the best deal. But most importantly, in testing, Kayak frequently surfaces lower fares than Google Flights, especially for international routes. 

Capital One Travel: Great value for cardholders

man looking at phone and credit card outside
Anete Lusina / Pexels

For frequent Capital One credit card users, the issuer’s dedicated travel portal could be the most rewarding flight booking site. Key benefits include bonus rewards on travel purchases made through the portal as well as statement credits that can trim costs.

Those with the premium Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earn a hefty 5x miles spent on flights and hotels booked through Capital One Travel. In addition, Venture X cardholders receive up to a $300 annual travel credit that can be used to offset bookings made through the Capital One Travel portal.

So, booking even just a modest $300 flight through the portal would essentially make it free after factoring in the travel credit.

Capital One Travel also partners with travel data company Hopper to provide pricing forecasts and recommendations on when to book to get the best deal. As an added incentive, they’ll give you up to a $50 credit toward future travel if the price drops for the same itinerary within 10 days of when you booked with their recommendation.

Expedia: Bundle flights, hotels and earn rewards

person holding a passport with luggage on the ground
nappy / Pexels

For some travelers, factors like earning rewards from bookings and packaging flights with hotels can be higher priorities than finding the absolute rock-bottom price. 

For those looking at the fuller picture, Expedia could be the best flight booking site.

Through Expedia’s new One Key rewards program, travelers earn back 0.2% of their flight booking cost in the form of OneKeyCash. It’s not a huge return, but it can help offset costs a bit and stack with rewards earned from your credit card and the airline itself.

More compelling are the credits you’ll earn toward elite status in the One Key program. Work your way up to the higher elite tiers, and you’ll unlock benefits like bonus OneKeyCash earnings, hotel upgrades, and price protection on bookings.

Additionally, Expedia advertises potential savings of up to 30% when bundling your hotel and flight into a vacation package. While actual discounts will likely be smaller in many cases, it’s still worth pricing out the package option if you need both air and hotel for an upcoming trip.

Bottom line

person holding smartphone inside airplane taking a photo
Humphrey Muleba / Pexels

At the end of the day, there is no definitive “best” flight booking site for every situation. The right option for you will depend on your particular priorities and how much time and effort you’re willing to invest to potentially save a bit more.

For those looking for simplicity and a quick, powerful search experience, it’s hard to beat Google Flights. For comparing prices across the most sources, Kayak is a great option. Those wanting to earn extra rewards or discounts for packaging a hotel should look at sites like Expedia, while certain Capital One cardholders can get value from the issuer’s travel portal.

Whichever route you take, using the right flight booking site for your needs can make finding a great deal much easier.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelly Baker
Kelly is a writer who loves good books, baking homemade bread, playing the piano, and spending time with her family.
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