Canada’s Best Travel Websites: Where to Book Your Next Vacation
There’s a lot to consider when planning a vacation: coming up with travel dates or trying to find the best price when booking flights, hotels, and car rentals. Of course, a few travel hacks can help you save even more money.
There are plenty of travel websites you can use to plan your next adventure. I’ve compiled my list of the top travel sites in Canada, and I cover the basics and let you know what makes each unique.
Expedia.ca: Best All-Round
What is it? A longstanding travel website built to manage all of your bookings.
Why it stands out: Added discounts are available when you book travel on the mobile app.
If you want to book your entire trip in one place, Expedia.ca might be your best bet. You can use the online travel agency to book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. Their mobile app is one of the best travel apps, and you can use it to book and manage many aspects of your trip – you can even qualify for select special pricing when you book using the app.
Google Flights: Best for Cheap Flights
What is it? Powerful flight search engine with links to book on various sites
Why it stands out: Scroll dozens of flight options (and prices) within a few clicks
If you’re searching for the cheapest flights, try out Google Flights. After all, who does search better than Google? Simply enter your route and the trip dates, and Google will present you with every option imaginable.
Search results include the airline, information on layovers, prices, and a handy chart to let you know if you’re getting a good deal or not. Once you’ve selected a flight, you’ll be able to link to the appropriate booking website to complete your purchase.
Booking.com: Best for Hotel Rooms
What Is It? Dutch-based, global online travel agent with more than 28 million listings
Why it stands out: Flexibility for hotel booking, Genius-member perks
Booking.com is an underrated hotel booking site that also lets you book flights and car rentals, though accommodations are what they do best. Frequent users can earn Genius status, which unlocks secret deals and regular discounts.
Booking.com’s search engine is one of the most user-friendly I’ve ever seen and seems to have an endless supply of filters. You can narrow your search for accommodations by neighbourhood, fun things to do nearby, hotel and room accessibility, and bed preference, just to name a few.
You won’t need to pay until you arrive at the property when you book. This makes it easy to cancel your current booking and re-book when you find a lower price. It’s worth noting, however, that the best deals are often prepaid or non-refundable rooms.
Hotwire.com: Best for Rental Cars
What is it? Travel website with discounted prices on car rentals, hotels, flights, etc.
Why it stands out: Prices and flexibility on car rentals
Like Booking.com, Hotwire.com lets you book flights, hotels, and vacation packages, but I prefer to use them for car rentals. Hotwire partners with many car rental companies, including Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis, to find you the best price on different types of vehicles.
Their website, including the reservation process, is intuitive and user-friendly. While Turo has become my preferred way to rent cars, I’ve found that Hotwire.com often has the best prices among the more traditional car rental websites.
TripAdvisor.ca: Best for Travel Tips
What is it? Travel website that publishes member reviews of destinations, accommodations, restaurants, and attractions worldwide.
Why it stands out: Thousands of traveler reviews make planning your trip a breeze.
TripAdvisor is my go-to website for travel tips and reviews on hotels, restaurants, and local attractions. When making travel plans, I prefer to rely on the experiences of thousands of other travelers and industry insiders. While I’ve never used TripAdvisor to book travel, it’s a must-stop for researching my next trip.
TourRadar: Best for Tours
What is it? Travel fare aggregator website specializing in group tour booking
Why it stands out: Choose from more than 2,500 travel operators.
As its name suggests, TourRadar helps you pinpoint the perfect group tour if that’s how you like to travel. They are an aggregator website that compiles thousands of group tours offered by numerous websites, allowing you to find the perfect trip without scouring the internet. A Top Deals section lets you save up to 50% on select destinations at any time.
What is it? Travel fare aggregator for flights, accommodations, rental cars, and more.
Why it stands out: The price Freeze feature lets you lock in a rate before making a final commitment.
Kayak is similar to Expedia, allowing you to book flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages. They also offer deals through their mobile app. I like their Price Freeze feature, which lets you book a rate for a small fee before committing to full bookings. Kayak will send you price alerts to lock in your booking.
Other Travel Sites
Skyscanner is a Scottish-based metasearch engine and travel agency. They offer flights, hotels, and car rental, with bookings available in more than 30 languages. Their Canadian website lacks functionality compared to Expedia or Kayak, but it’s worth using if you want to do some comparison shopping.
The team at Next Departure has one goal: to find you the cheapest flight deals in Canada. Download their mobile app, signup, and get alerted to the best travel deals when they become available. You can set your feed with select departures and destinations. Next Departure will offer you 25% of the lowest prices with a free membership. For $4.49 monthly or $35.99 per year, you’ll have access to all of their exclusive deals and an ad-free browsing experience.
Best Travel Provider Websites
While the travel websites on our list aren’t linked to one provider, it’s often helpful to research prices directly through your preferred airline or hotel chain. They will usually have access to routes and rooms you can’t find through third-party sites, and you may be able to take advantage of price matching.
Air Canada is Canada’s largest airline, with the largest number of carrier partners. For that reason, it’s the place you should start if you’re planning a trip outside of Canada. Frequent Air Canada flyers should signup for the Aeroplan program, to maximize travel rewards.
WestJet, Canada’s second-largest airline, recently announced that they are reducing their services around eastern Canada. Instead, they’ve decided to double down on Western Canadian operations to maximize profitability and remain competitive. Like Air Canada, WestJet also has a loyalty program called WestJet Rewards. To maximize your rewards earning capability, consider the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard, which features a generous welcome bonus, a 1.5% standard earn rate, free checked bags, and an annual companion pass.
Marriott Bonvoy is a hotel rewards program that covers more than 7,000 hotels worldwide. Brands include Marriott, The Sheraton, Delta Hotels, Westin, The Ritz-Carlton, and many more. One of the benefits of booking with Marriott is their lowest price guarantee. Let’s say you book a room at one of their properties but later find a cheaper room at the same property on Booking.com. Let Marriott know, and they will guarantee you a lower price.
Sunwing is a discount airline based in Toronto, Ontario. They specialize in scheduled and charter flights to warm destinations during the winter. You can book all-inclusive vacations, cruises, and golf vacations from the Sunwing website. Their website is well laid out, making it easy to fund cheap airfare and hotel bookings.
Which is the Best Travel Site?
The bottom line is that there is no single best travel website – it depends on how you like to travel. If you prefer to book your entire trip (flights, hotel, rental car) on one site, I recommend Expedia as a top all-around performer. For hotels, Booking.com is a great place to start, as is Hotwire for car rentals. Also, don’t forget the individual travel providers, who are often more than willing to match the lowest price to win your booking.