"It’s so easy to use and you can find a great deal for wherever you want to go."
Can’t wait to get away from the unpredictable British weather? How does a few weeks on a sandy deserted beach sound? Or, perhaps soaking up some much needed culture on a city break?
There is a vast array of travel websites waiting to help you book your dream holiday. More and more people are shunning ‘traditional’ travel agents in favour of DIY holidays – the internet is now making it more accessible for customers to create their own package at an affordable rate.
Websites such as Secret Escapes and Kuoni are cheaper, easier alternatives to popping down to your local Thomson and allow you to book your perfect holiday from the comfort of your own home. DESIblitz takes a look at five of the best travel websites online:
With the strapline ‘Welcome to the worst kept secret in luxury travel’, Secret Escapes promises to deliver you with up to 70% off luxury hotels and boutiques, both here and further afield – think of it as the Groupon of holidays. Secret Escapes is easy to navigate and will aim to find you a deal wherever you want to go.
Deals include hotels in London and Newcastle, and exclusive holidays to exotic paradises such as the Caribbean and Sir Richard Branson’s lodge in Switzerland. Most deals outside of the UK come with flights included and a ‘We like’ section which details highlights that come with the deal.
Trips come with an itinerary and hotel details and the booking function is very user-friendly. This site is perfect for people who want bespoke, luxury breaks at affordable prices.
Kayak’s website is like a massive database of travel sites and it works by comparing hundreds of sites to find you the best deal for your holiday.
You can search for flights, hotels, cars, city breaks and holidays and the website also includes last minute weekend breaks to destinations such as Bilbao, Prague and Copenhagen. One sun seeker used the website to book an upcoming holiday to Majorca. Rav, a student from Leicester, says:
“I used Kayak to book a holiday to Majorca with my boyfriend. We looked everywhere for a perfect deal but we couldn’t agree on one that suited us both. Then we found Kayak – it’s so easy to use and you can find a great deal for wherever you want to go.
“Our booking was compared against tons of other websites and we ended up with the cheapest deal, saving us £219. I’d definitely recommend this site to anyone who wants to save themselves a few pounds.”
Kayak’s website also offers insight into their team, with pictures of all employees, along with their job roles, and regular blogs – this is a very personable website that helps you plan your dream holiday down to the last minutiae.
LastMinute.com is the most popular travel and leisure site in the UK, with around 1.65 million people logging on weekly to bag the best deals. In the British Travel Awards 2011, it picked up the prestigious title of Winner of the Best Holiday Attraction/Ticket Provider.
The idea for the company came about in the early 11990’s – the then unknown Brent Hoberman would try his luck with swanky hotels, trying to get discounted prices for that evening in a bid to impress the ladies.
He would call hotels on the day of the booking, often resulting in him getting both the room (cheaply), and the girl. It was here that the idea for lastminute.com was born, and founder Brent decided that everybody should be able to live a five star lifestyle on a three style budget.
It offers a range of last minute deals on everything such as exotic holidays and cruises, to theatre trips and sports car driving experiences. You can book a week’s stay in Marrakech for £182 per person.
You can also book a three course meal and champagne cocktail for £35 at Benares restaurant, London, run by Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, who specialises in modern Indian cuisine with a British twist. Whatever your taste, there will be something exclusive and affordable for you on lastminute.com.
Kuoni travel agents was set up by adventurer and explorer Alfred Kuoni over 100 years and offers unique holidays of a lifetime to faraway paradises such as Brunei, Nepal, Zanzibar and Anguilla for as little as £404. You’re also shown how many rooms are left for each offer and bookings come complete with reviews.
This is a travel agent with a difference – Kuoni goes all out to ensure that your holiday is unforgettable and offers safaris, spa holidays and wildlife holidays.
Kuoni is all about the experience and offering its customers a once in a lifetime adventure that they won’t forget in a hurry. With the option of booking in store or online, this’ll certainly give you some holiday photos to show your friends that’ll make them green with envy.
TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site, enabling travellers to plan and have the perfect trip. This hit website offers everything from unbiased reviews to the best deals on flights and hotels.
TripAdvisor offers a real try-before-you-buy experience, as it allows you to see what people actually think on every last detail of that hotel that you’re oh-so-desperate to try. John, a teacher from Birmingham, says:
“I’d never book a holiday without looking at TripAdvisor first – the comments are always really honest and it helps you find the cheapest deal online. It’s a real gem.”
The website’s incredibly user-friendly and has a ‘Best of 2013’ section, allowing you to see the most popular destinations of the year. TripAdvisor-branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors. This is a must-see if you want to suss out a destination prior to committing to your booking.
These websites are fast becoming essential in holiday-booking, so check one out today to ensure that you get the best deal.