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11 November 2020

Best and worst travel comparison websites

Which travel comparison website should you use to research your next holiday? Our survey of Which? members reveals all.
Travel comparison 476601
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WhichEditorial team

Travel comparison websites such as Skyscanner and Tripadvisor can save you a lot of legwork by trawling the market for the best airfares and cheapest price on hotel rooms. But with more comparison sites than ever before, which is the easiest to use and which usually has the cheapest fares? Here, we reveal satisfaction ratings for 10 of the most popular travel comparison websites. 

A comparison site is only the beginning of your holiday-booking journey. After finding the best price, you'll be directed through to an online travel agent to actually buy your flights and accommodation. Check our tables of the Best and worst flight booking websites and Best and worst hotel booking websites, to make sure you book with a company you can trust. 

Remember, the company that takes your payment is the company that will be responsible for refunding you if things go wrong and your holiday is cancelled.

Travel comparison websites rated

In the table below, we've rated 10 leading travel comparison websites, including Tripadvisor, Skyscanner, Kayak and Travelsupermarket, to help you research your next holiday with confidence.

For more unbiased reviews and independent advice, find out more about Which? Travel.

Comparison site Market coverage Functionality of site Relevance of search results Prices Customer score
Skyscanner (615)
67%
Tripadvisor (532)
60%
Google Flights (116)
57%
Trivago (331)
57%
Kayak (283)
53%
Hotelscomparison.com (39)
50%
Momondo (65)
50%
Travelsupermarket (163)
48%
Cheapflights (142)
46%
Travelocity (45)
43%
Using the table: Star ratings are based on one to five stars. The more stars the better. Sample sizes are in brackets next to each comparison site. Market coverage Whether users were shown prices for all major booking sites Functionality of site How easy the site was navigate and how quickly it generated results Relevance of search results Whether filters worked effectively and results were relevant to the search terms. Customer score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the website if asked. Websites with the same customer score are presented in alphabetical order.

Travel comparison websites reviewed

As you can see from the table above, the best comparison site for flights is Skyscanner, while the best for comparing accommodation prices is Tripadvisor. However, neither company scored highly enough with recent users to be crowned a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP).

As well as reviewing both these top companies below, we've also reviewed the worst comparison site — Travelocity — so you can be sure of exactly why you should avoid it when researching your next holiday.

Skyscanner: best flight comparison site

Skyscanner has the best website, the best prices and the best market coverage, so no prizes for guessing which comparison site tops our tables again this year.

Helpfully, it now rates each airline for what COVID-19 safety measures it has put in place and whether a ticket is flexible. It also lets you compare the CO2 each flight produces.

Better yet, in our pricing spot checks (see below), Skyscanner uncovered the cheapest airfare in three of the 10 scenarios we checked, which is more than any other site. It was also the most expensive on one occasion, though, so it's still not quite a one-stop shop.

Which? verdict: Less hassle and lower prices make Skyscanner the flight comparison frontrunner.


Browse flight prices on Skyscanner.


Tripadvisor: best hotel comparison site

The 'world's largest travel site' is the go-to for accommodation, with handy new filters letting you find properties offering free cancellation or additional coronavirus safety measures.

However, some Which? members felt search results could be more relevant, suggesting some of Tripadvisor's older filters are in need of an upgrade. Prices aren't always the lowest, either, so you'll need to cross-check them with a rival site.

It's a similar story with its less well-known flight comparison service, although it did manage to find the best price on two occasions and was never the most expensive.

Which? verdict: A useful website for comparing hotel prices, but previous Which? research has found you can't always trust the reviews.


Browse accommodation prices on Tripadvisor.


Travelocity: worst travel comparison site

Travelocity has no redeeming features whatsoever. Limited search results, uncompetitive prices and an unwieldy website make for an awful user experience, so it's no wonder it received a dismal customer score of 43%. This score reflects how few customers were satisfied with their recent visit and would recommend the site if asked.

Which? verdict: Don't waste your time.

Which flight comparison site is cheapest?

Using 10 popular flight routes, we pitted seven of the most-used flight comparison sites against each other to see which consistently found the best price.

Skyscanner found the outright cheapest price three out of 10 times, on flights from Luton to Krakow, Stansted to Bologna and Heathrow to Vancouver. But it was also the most expensive option in one scenario we checked – from Edinburgh to Budapest. 

Kayak and Cheapflights were each the outright cheapest on one occasion and the joint-cheapest in two further scenarios, while Tripadvisor found the cheapest price twice.

On the other hand, Travel Supermarket found the highest price on three of the 10 routes, while Google Flights fared even worse, managing to come up with the most expensive price in half of the 10 scenarios we checked.

Comparison site price rises

All too often, flight comparison websites turn up what looks like a great deal, only for the fare to inexplicably increase when you click through to the payment page.

Four of the ten prices we found on Travel Supermarket, Kayak and Momondo had risen by the time we clicked through to actually pay for the flights. This only happened twice with Google Flights, but on one of those occasions the fare we thought we were getting increased by a whopping £209, making it by far the biggest price rise we found.

Yet again, Tripadvisor and Skyscanner fared well, with the price only rising on one of the 10 routes we checked. In Tripadvisor's case, the price rose by £20, while the increase was over £4 for Skyscanner.

Comparison sites: holiday refunds and cancellations

Comparison sites, such as Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Kayak, trawl the internet for you in search of the best room rates and airfares. They can be a great way of working out what you should be paying, but the best price is often only available by clicking through to a booking site.

If you book with one of these third-party sites, that site is responsible for chasing the airline or accommodation provider on your behalf if things go wrong and you're due a refund.

But customers have found it impossible to get a refund from some sites during the coronavirus crisis, often facing closed phone lines or being passed from pillar to post between the hotel or airline and the booking site.

The pandemic has taught us that booking direct with the airline or hotel doesn't guarantee you a quick refund either, but it does at least cut out any third party, which should make the refund process that bit less convoluted.

How we research travel comparison sites

Between July and August 2020, we asked 4,893 Which? members to tell us about their experiences of researching holidays online in the past two years. We only reported on companies and star rating categories when we received at least 30 responses.

You can have your say on what we research and help us achieve change by joining Which? Connect.