Skyscanner is one of my favourite tools when it comes to planning trips. Whether I’m searching for cheap deals for a European getaway or booking intercontinental trips, it’s always the platform I use when looking for flights. You can use their hotel, flight and car hire search engine on your desktop, mobile and tablet and they also have their own App if you’d rather not use it via your internet explorer. It is entirely free to use
The great thing about Skyscanner which, for me, sets it apart from so many other comparison websites is that you can make open-ended searches. This means that if you are undecided on where you would like to visit or when you would like to visit, you can compare prices for different dates.
As you can see above, you can search for specific dates or search for an entire month to see the best deals available. Either way, the site will trawl through every airline that operates on the route you’re looking for as well as the websites that sell these flights. Often for short haul flights from airlines like easyJet, AirAsia and Ryanair the price will be from the airline’s own website. However, with long haul flights typically it is a third party website that will be selling the cheapest option.
You can filter out which airlines you do and do not wish to include in your search as well as which websites you’re happy to book your flights from. We’ve booked both directly with airlines and third party websites in the past, but if you’re unsure about using a website then just be sure to Google search reviews for it – they will tell you all you need to know. It’s also important when booking through a third party website that you look up the airline’s policies on baggage allowances, check in deadlines and whether or not meals are included on board to save disappointment at the airport.
You can also use the website in a similar way when it comes to booking hotels. It acts as a comparison website and gives you details on the cost of the same hotel across a number of websites like Booking.com and Agoda.
If you have a specific budget in mind or know how many stars you’re looking for in a hotel, then you can use the ‘Filter’ section at the top of your search page to narrow down your options. As well as this, you can use the ‘Sort’ section to prioritise which hotels show up on your search. I know that Trivago also has a very similar style of hotel searches available on their website, so if you would like me to write a full review of their website then please be sure to let me know in the comments. The main difference between the websites which would make me opt for the Skyscanner route is that Skyscanner shows the total cost for your entire stay, whereas Trivago states the price per night which could potentially be misleading for people who are unfamiliar with the website.
The last section of Skyscanner is the option to compare car hire prices across the globe. Traditionally when travelling abroad, I would always opt for either Enterprise or Europcar. However, to have the ability to search and compare car hire companies that may be native to a location you’re visiting could end up saving you some money. Again, like with the third party websites, if you’re going to be hiring a car from a company you’re unfamiliar with then do your research with regard to penalties and security deposits to save yourself a shock when picking up the keys.
If you don’t wish to hire a car but are still looking for a way to get to and from the airport to your hotel, the Car Hire section of the website also has an Airport Transfers option which allows you to enter the name of the airport you’re flying to, your hotel name and the time you wish to be picked up and dropped off.
All in all, if you’re interested in getting into booking holidays on your own the Skyscanner is a great way to do so. I really can’t recommend it enough for booking flights as it does all of the legwork for you and the simple layout of the website makes it so easy to understand what you’re looking at. I’ve used it for over four years now and would not go back to booking trips through a travel agent or through any other website.