5 Voted

Review: Kayak

What is Kayak? How can you use Kayak  ?

Kayak is a travel metasearch engine with a platform you can use to search the world wide web for hotels, flights, and rental cars. This enables users to get all the information in one place, rather than having to visit each different airline, hotel, or rental car provider. The travel search engine scans hundreds of other sites and agencies and brings all the information together for you to easily browse. You can compare the perks and prices before making a decision on what would be right for you.

Kayak may seem similar to that of Booking.com, Priceline, or Agoda, and that’s probably because they all have the same parent company – Booking Holdings. Originally named Travel Search Company, Inc., Kayak was founded in 2004 by Steve Hafner and Paul M. English; after several years of growth, it was then acquired by Booking Holdings in 2013.

The company has proven to be a useful tool in the travel industry and has won several awards throughout the years, including People’s Voice Award in the Travel category and Webby Award in the Travel category for Tablets.

What will you find on the Kayak website? How easy is it to use the Kayak website?

When you visit www.kayak.com, you’ll find a clean-cut, easy-to-use website. The left side has a list of links that lets you navigate everything Kayak offers. After the sign-in link, you’ll find access to Flights, Stays, Cars, Things To Do, Packages, and Trains and Buses. There are also links to Explore, Flight Tracker, Travel Restrictions, and Trips. There are also links on the upper right hand side of the home page to Business, Trips, and Sign In. We’ll delve into what each of these do further down.

The Home Page has a search engine at the very top that is similar to what you might find on other travel search engines. You’ll have to input details such as whether you’re looking for round-trip or one way, how many adults, which flight class (economy, etc.), how many bags, your departure and arrival locations, and departure and arrival dates. You are then taken to a list of results which include multiple ways of getting to and from your destination including flights, greyhound buses, etc. Once you find one that matches your criteria as well as your budget, they’ll connect you to the site you chose and purchasing is as easy as one, two, three.

The system works similarly for hotels, car rentals, etc. Once you put in your destination and date details, Kayak will scour the internet and see what is available and list them for you to compare in one easy-to-use list. It’s important to note that Kayak themselves don’t offer any booking services, but rather that they find you the deals and connect you with them – kind of like a free, online middleman. That’s right – there are no hidden fees when using Kayak.

How can I book a hotel room using Kayak?

Hotel bookings are one of the main features that users sought out on the Kayak website. You can customize your results based on location, dates, number of guests, etc. You can also use filters to narrow down your list further; found on the left-hand side of the results page, hotel listings can be filtered by hotel class, review score, price, health, and safety (added post-COVID feature that highlights stays with enhanced health and safety measures), hotel chain, neighborhood, amenities, style, booking provider, and more. You can also filter your search results by freebies offered, which is something I haven’t seen much in other online hotel booking sites. This filter will show you hotels that offer free breakfast, parking, internet, cancellations, airport shuttle, etc. with your booking.

The hotels that come up, as well as the price per night, are similar to what you would find in any of the other major booking sites, which isn’t surprising since popular ones such as Booking.com and Priceline all have the same parent company.

And finally, once you do find a hotel booking that meets your needs, Kayak will take you directly to the booking provider’s website where you can confirm the transaction.

What’s a feature that stands out on Kayak?

There’s a link on the left hand side navigation menu on Kayak called Explore, and this feature really stood out to a traveler like me because it could be very useful. If you like to go on last-minute vacations or even a planned one, but don’t really have a destination in mind, Kayak’s Explore page will show you destinations that are currently popular.

You just insert the airport you want to depart from, without a particular destination or dates in mind, and Kayak will show you all of the options which you can filter by price, distance, things to do, etc. There’s an easy-to-view map where you can see how much travel would cost to destinations across the US – this is great if the price is your most important factor and you’re willing to go anywhere for the right cost.

If you scroll further down on the page, you’ll find listings of some of the most popular destinations to visit from your departing airport. All in all, the Explore page is one of my favorite aspects of the Kayak website and is perfect for those who like to do last-minute weekend getaways at minimal costs.

Another feature I found on the Kayak website that deserves a quick mention is a section on the homepage called ‘Favorite Hotels Around the Globe’. This is a wonderful feature that highlights some of the most unique and amazing hotels that other travelers have rated highly. If money and distance are no objection, definitely check this section out to have a different experience.

What will you find on the Kayak blog?

Since I knew that Kayak had a blog, I went searching for it on their website. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any links on the navigation bar or highlighted sections on the homepage dedicated to it. Instead, I had to scroll to the very bottom of the home page and click on the blog link at the bottom to access it. This takes you to their Travel Hacker Blog, which is filled with articles on communities around the world, traveling during a pandemic, how to use Kayak for business, travel tips, and much more.

There are some really great topics covered such as traveling with children as a single parent, finding places to fly based on a budget, solo trips for women, and even an insider look at how budget airlines can afford to offer the prices they do.

Is it expensive to use Kayak?

As we mentioned earlier as well, Kayak is absolutely free for people to use. There are no actual transactions that occur on the Kayak website – instead, the platform connects you directly to service providers, whether it’s an online hotel booking website or a car rental company, etc.

So, how does Kayak make money? Their main sources are the distribution revenue they receive from travel suppliers and agencies when users are referred to their sites through Kayak’s search engine as well as advertising and distribution sources.

Does Kayak have a loyalty program?

Kayak does have a loyalty program called Kayak Explorer. Absolutely free to join, the program enables users to collect points when they book a trip. Do keep in mind that there are conditions (at the moment) that limit users to collecting points only when staying at select hotels that were booked through their app. It is unsure at the moment whether Kayak will allow users to collect points for other aspects such as car rentals, etc.

You can then redeem your collected points for a number of perks and rewards such as travel and dining discounts as well as electronic gift cards.

Does Kayak have a mobile app?

Kayak does have a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The app is free to download in both the App Store and Google Play. There are a lot of benefits to using the award-winning app compared to the website such as getting better deals with their mobile rates and getting instant notifications on price drops for trips you’re planning.

How do you contact someone at Kayak?

There are no obvious ways to contact Kayak when you go to their website. There are no phone numbers listed or online chat options that are highlighted on the main page. Instead, I scrolled to the very bottom of the homepage and clicked on their Help/ FAQ section. You’ll find answers to most of the user queries here – with step-by-step instructions on how to solve most problems. If none of those meet your needs, scrolling to the bottom of the Help/ FAQ page does have an online chat option that will put you through to one of their representatives. You can also Report a Problem through their online feedback form though it does not mention how long it would take for someone to get back to you.

Kayak is very similar to other online booking agencies that you may already be familiar with. It’s proven to be extremely easy to use and can be helpful to different types of travelers. There are some features that stand out, and it is a great resource overall.


  • Helps you plan an entire trip from flight/ ground travel and hotel booking to car rental and experiences
  • Scans hundreds of different travel deals and prices from agencies and websites and brings all the information to one place
  • Runs under a trustworthy parent company, Booking Holdings
  • Extremely easy-to-use website
  • Explore feature enables travelers to find getaways without restrictions
  • No fees for users
  • Difficult to actually access some features such as the blog and must scroll all the way to links in the footer
  • No obvious ways to contact them blatantly mentioned on the website; must scroll to footer links and go through Help/ FAQ to get to chat or online feedback form - still no phone number
  • Cheaper flights may not be from main airports