Kayak Booking Site
I have a theory that people start out with travel search engines like Travelocity and Expedia but eventually make their way to Kayak. Why is that so? Kayak is actually the brainchild of the cofounders of Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz.Well, one reason Kayak’s so popular is that it allows you to search a number of travel search engines by entering the information on Kayak Booking Site just once. Let’s go to Kayak’s home page, and with an itinerary in mind, see how it functions.
I’m leaving from Boston and headed for Dublin, Ireland in early May. As soon as I enter my origin, destination and dates of travel, I get a popup chart showing airfares to Dublin for the entire month of May with the lowest fare highlighted in green. If I’m traveling for leisure, I may well want to change my dates. In addition, Kayak gives me a link to “Make my dates flexible.” I can select the +/— 3 days (the usual “flexible” option), or I can choose “weekends” or “flex month.”
When I click on “weekends,” I get “upcoming” or monthly options for the year. I can also specify the days and AM or PM to define my weekend. I’ll just take a peek at “upcoming weekends.” That takes me to the next five weekends with price quotes from various airlines for specific flights. It allows me to create a “price alert” which will automatically send me emails when the fare for my itinerary drops below a certain price. It shows me a graph, which reflects price fluctuations on that itinerary and warns me “prices may rise within 7 days.” I can vary my trip length by one or two nights (this is the weekend option page). I can also vary the time, the airline, and the class of travel along with even more options. On the far right side of this page, I’m offered to compare these prices with Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity and Expedia. Once I’m in this page, I can continue to check weekend flight fares, month by month, for 2013. I’m going back, however, to search month by month including weekdays for the entire month. This assumes I’m interested in possibly going to Ireland in a different month, which is true.
Ireland’s one of my favorite places. The people are warm and friendly. The island, itself, is beautiful. I love the poetry, history and Celtic mythology, the book of Kells, Trinity College, taking the ferry to the island where the Pirate Queen is buried, Kenmare lace, lovely and wild Connemara. Ireland has the softest hills. They call out to be stroked, but actually they are still climbed by pilgrims with bare feet or on their knees. There’s the “gift of gab” in every pub, and if you sit down with an Irishman, he’ll tell you a story, a political complaint or a joke before the bartender can set you up with a Guiness Stout, the frothy head making a photo of an imbibing friend look like “Got milk?” Ok, Kayak, tell me the cheapest time to go!
Having clicked on “flexmonth” and starting with February, I was momentarily diverted by a Priceline popup that asked me to pick my price for Boston to Dublin, but, having ignored it, I now see a Kayak chart showing me the whole month of February with the highest price highlighted in red and the lowest prices in green. Now, I can click through the year quickly, month by month, to see (at least at today’s prices) when I can get the lowest airfare to Ireland. Like the weekend option, I need not go back to the home page where I started. I can go to the top of the page and select a different month.
In the meantime, while I’m waiting for the chart to fill out, I can browse the long list of Dublin hotel ad links on the right. I know, however, I probably don’t want to stay in Dublin. I prefer a grand hotel where they serve afternoon tea a ways up the coast, but if you want the nightlife, I have stayed in Temple Bar, and I highly recommend it if you want to party all night. (To be fair, Temple Bar is close to shopping, too.) Clicking through, so far, May is still my best bet. Kayak is apparently wondering why I’m spending my time searching, month to month, to go to Dublin. It has offered me a popup price alert. I’m not going to take this one because I no longer live near Boston, but I’ll make one before I’m through.
I’m going to make this a multicity search and see what we find for hotels. I’ve decided to go to Washington, DC, where I can bike along the Potomac and visit museums for free to my heart’s content. This option is simple enough. Just fill in the dates and destinations. It’s an inexpensive flight, but I forgot to add hotels. Rather than going back, I just click on “Hotels” at the top. It already has the first stop filled in by place and dates I’ll be there. Priceline and Hotels.com are already checked. I could add, by checking the box, Expedia, Marriot, or Bookit.com, too. I could also click one place for “all” or “none” of those comparisons. I chose “none” and still clicked “Find Hotels” right on Kayak. I have a long list of Washington, DC offerings that reflects a search of the web including sites such as Hotwire.com, TripAdvisor, crownplaza.com, and it’s immediately clear that Kayak saves me an incredible amount of browsing time. Now, I want to narrow the search because I have a favorite “Circle” (square) in DC near Kramerbooks and Afterwords Café.
I just love DC. My son refuses to live there because, not long ago, he and his girlfriend were walking to another one of my favorite DC restaurants (Isn’t that a great name? They have a great chocolate-flavored wine, too.). Well, they were walking at night to this restaurant when they happened to walk by a group of young men busy stealing a bicycle. My son’s girlfriend whispered to him, “Shouldn’t we do something?” My son’s thinking, “Yeah, mind our own business and stay alive.” Even though they walked by and said nothing, one of the thieves separated from the group and followed them on his bike for a couple of blocks, staring from time to time. Cab it at night in DC. There’s no need to end up rolled like a pilgrim on the road to Santiago.
Having narrowed my choices by location and budget, I now have hotel selections within a mile of my preferred neighborhood, DuPont Circle. I can walk to Kramerbooks every day for breakfast and get a new book to read that night. Of course, you may well have other preferences when you travel, but the beauty of Kayak is that you can tweak the search engine to find whatever you want.
Having looked at flights and hotels, we’ll just take a peak at Dublin cars. Kayak’s finding cars for me for $13/day in May in Dublin right at the Dublin airport! That’s better than my (former) private travel agent.Kayak, like other travel search engines, also offers deals, vacation packages and cruises, but they pick them up from all over the web. I can sort a number of ways including popularity and price. I really want to take a European river cruise or a barge through Provence, but I’ll save that for another day. Where do you want to go? Whether you know or just want to browse, try Kayak. If it’s your first time, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
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