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Expedia, a Travel Search Engine


Travel Search Engine Expedia

What is Expedia.com?

Expedia is a comparison shopping travel search engine. You tell Expedia where you want to go and what you would like to do, and Expedia tracks down the best travel package pricing for you.

How To Use Expedia

I used Expedia to book my travel package for Search Engine Strategies in August 2005. I found that even though I cut it pretty close to the wire as far as getting a good deal, I still was able to completely book my trip just two weeks before the big conference and I still got a great deal. Here's how it works:
  • Navigate to the Expedia home page. To the right, you'll see "Plan Your Trip."
  • Figure out what exactly you'd like to plan. Would you like quotes on airfare? Airfare plus car? Airfare plus hotel plus car? You pick.
  • Determine where you're coming from and where you're going to, as well as times.
  • Fill in the age drop-down menus. This is for possible age discounts (kids cost less than adults, for example).
  • You do have additional options at this point, such as flexible dates, one way trips, etc. Unless you really are looking for a specific travel package, it might be worth your while to check these out.
  • Click the generic "search for flights" text link. This link changes depending on what you're looking for.
That's the travel search selection in an extremely small nutshell. Most of the time, I mess this up and I don't put in the correctly spelled name of my destination, or I don't know the airport name, etc. Expedia will endeavor to correct this for you, but they need to make this a bit more user-friendly - the button for "Continue" does not stand out and I spent valuable seconds trying to figure out what I was supposed to do.

My dream vacation package for Portland to Kauai Island for something like three weeks (I told you it was a dream!) returned 35 results. You can completely book your trips online, if you so choose. I ended up booking online and then calling Expedia to indeed confirm that my trip had been booked for Search Engine Strategies; I figured that if I'm going to spend that kind of money, I want LOTS of guarantees that it's safe and secure.

Search results can be sorted in a variety of ways. You can go with Expedia Picks (default), Price, Hotel Name, City, Hotel Class, and a ton more, depending on what your original travel search parameters were.

On some results, you'll see "Limited Time Offer for Expedia Customers." This indicates that there might be a deal. In addition (and I had this happen to me), sometimes you'll reserve a travel package, go to confirm, and your price will change; sometimes quite drastically. This can be in your favor or not, but at all times you have the choice to ditch. You are not actually locked into a travel package until you go through the intentionally tedious process of purchasing it with a confirmed credit card. There are at least five different warnings between your initial travel package browsing and point of sale; this is for your protection.

Why Should I Use Expedia?

Expedia is a huge travel search engine, and I've found a couple of good travel deals there.Expedia offers a lot more than the brief information that I've given you in this profile. You can sign up for travel alerts, last minute travel deals, or read other travelers' opinions of various destinations. I can recommend Expedia for your travel search needs, but as with all Web-based purchasing services, shop safely.
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