One of the biggest costs for a Hawaii vacation is airfare. It hurts to even start to think about how much money I’ve spent over the years to get my favorite vacation destination. Let’s not go there.
In my local Sunday paper, there was an article on web sites for finding the best airfare. Some of the sites I knew and have used frequently. Other sites were new to me and I’ve now had a chance to take them for a test drive and compare them So, I though I’d share these sites along with some insight with you.
Kayak.com is a site searches all the major airlines and top online travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, CheapTickets, etc. to find you the best airfare. The results are displayed in an easy to use format. I have used Kayak on many occasions and been pleased with it. Another great feature about Kayak is that they make it easy for you to enter multiple destinations which is extremely useful for planning an island hopping trip. Currently the popular sites like Orbitz and Travelocity limit your flight search to one destination. Expedia allows two destinations. So, it is nice to have the ability to search for a multi-destination trip.
SideStep.com is a site that I will be using in the future. It has all the same searching features and functionality as Kayak.com. I think the results window is pretty neat since it allows you to filter the results by number of stops, departure times, arrival times, etc. One thing that it doesn’t offer that Kayak does is the total travel time. I just wish Kayak and SideStep could combine forces. That would rock. 1/12 Update: SideStep was purchased by Kayak.
Farecast.com (1/12 Update: now integrated under Bing Travel.) predicts if fares might rise or fall based on fare history. For people traveling to Hawaii, this web site is only useful if you are traveling in and out of Oahu as Honolulu is the only airport that is set up in their system.
FareCompare.com has some neat functionality that allows you to look for the cheapest fares by month over the next year. This feature is great if your travel dates are flexible It is limited if your travel plans include multiple destinations. If you want If you want to island hop, you can use FareCompare, but it gave Kayak’s results and you have to choose specific travel dates. I’d love to see this tool add the ability to look for lowest fares by month for multiple destination.
TripStalker.com keeps tabs on the flights and fares that you want and notifies you when your desired fares are available. You must download their free software in order to use the tool. I didn’t like having to download yet another software application, but I did all for your benefit. (Don’t ever say that Go Visit Hawaii doesn’t love its readers. 🙂 ) I didn’t think the site all all that intuitive to use. This tool only works when you have one destination and specific travel dates. I doubt I’ll be using this tool in the near future.
Mobissimo.com is another new site to me. Per the newspaper article, Mobissimo is supposed to be similar to Kayak and SideStep, but when I tried using the site, it didn’t return nearly as many results and options as the others. It appeared to only be associated with Orbitz, whereas Kayak and SideStep search multiple travel sites. After giving Mobissimo a test drive, I don’t think I’ll be using it. It doesn’t seem nearly as good as Kayak and SideStep.
As you can see there are some great web sites to help you find the best prices on airfare to Hawaii. You may need to use a combination of sites to help you find the best fares and times that suit your needs. I wish there was one source that offered the best functionality from the individual sites. After you find the flight you want, it is always a good idea to check directly with the airline’s web site to verify that you are getting the lowest fare.
Another point to bear in mind is that some sites allow you to set up alerts for fare sales to the destination of your choice. You can set up alerts with Kayak, SideStep, FareCompare, and TripStalker as well as your favorite airlines.
Have you used any of these airfare web sites? Which ones do you use? Which ones do you like?