When it comes to planning a trip, using the best airline booking site for your needs can prevent spending hours researching and wasting hundreds (if not thousands).
Depending on where you live and what your interests are, you may have had more exposure to one site vs another. Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity, and SkyScanner all rank quite high. In this article, we will focus on Expedia and Vayama. They offer some specific features that are of interest to families flying with children.
If you live in Europe, you are probably quite familiar with Vayama, but those outside Europe may not have encountered the site yet. We first encountered Vayama when we started getting booking confirmations from Vayama when we booking international flights on Kayak. It led to a bit of confusion because when we would be looking for our confirmation emails, we would search for Kayak and not find them. Since Kayak seems to be outsourcing their international flight bookings to Vayama, we figured we might as well go straight to the source.
So without further ado, we bring you our best airline booking site hacks for Expedia and Vayama.
What both Vayama and Expedia offer:
On the initial search page:
On both search engines, you can specify if you are traveling with an infant (i.e. a child under 2 years old which will be sitting on your lap) or a child. UPDATE: Expedia now allows you to specify if your under 2 year old will be a lap infant or if you prefer to purchase a seat for her.
They also both allow you to search for a round trip, one way and multiple destination options, as well as select your preferred class (including premium economy).
To help you save money, Vayama and Expedia give you the option to search for Flight / Hotel / Car combos. However, Vayama’s layout is less user-friendly than Expedia’s.
On the search results page:
Expedia and Vayama offer a flexible dates price calendar (both +/- 3 days), but Vayama only shows a handful of dates, not the whole grid. On Vayama, you have to run specific searches for days not showing pricing.
Pro tip: We used the Expedia flex calendar to see which date combinations across the 49 options in the grid were the least expensive. We then ran those specific searches on Vayama. In a couple of cases, the Vayama price was both cheaper than the Expedia price. It was also lower than the lowest price on the Vayama flex grid.
Vayama and Expedia overlap in a number of their search filters including the number of stops/ layovers, airline selection, departure times and airport selection. Many families prefer trips with fewer layovers, however that may increase the price.
Use the airline selection filter if you want to include (or exclude) airlines because you are trying to accumulate points or target family-friendly airlines. Note: more expensive airlines are not necessarily more baby friendly! Find out which airlines are the most family-friendly on your route, by joining our community.
Departure times are a useful filter if you are trying to work with your baby’s sleep schedule. They can also have a significant impact on price.
If you are not familiar with the airports at your destination, take the time to research how accessible each one is in relation to where you are staying. It could mean a significant difference in the price of a cab ride. If you are up for public transportation, make sure to check how stroller- and suitcase-accessible the public transit options are to each airport.
Expedia and Vayama overlap a lot in terms of their flight search capabilities and specifically how they relate to traveling families. However, there are some key differences.
The differences between Expedia and Vayama
Initial Search Page
On Expedia, the child ticket option is available for children 2 to 17 years old. On Vayama, the child ticket option is form 2 to 11 years old. We are not sure why they have the difference, but as soon as we find out, we’ll let you know.
Expedia offers many additional advanced options upon initial search including the ability to search for nonstop flights. Many families flying with a baby prioritize non-stop trips. Being able to indicate that preference from the beginning is a helpful feature.
Other options that appear on Expedia’s initial search page include:
- Book cruises
- Refundable flight
- Book Things to do
- Book vacation rentals
Another nice feature that Expedia offers on its initial search page is indicative prices when selecting dates. If you have flexibility, this feature can help you test out a couple of different dates before launching a full search.
While Vayama doesn’t offer any of the above features on their initial search page, they do make it easy to find deals on that page, right below the search field. If you don’t have your heart set on a specific destination and if you’re not bound to your child’s school calendar, this is a great way of finding off-season pricing.
Expedia allows you to filter results by arrival times and Vayama by trip duration. You can use each of these filters to play with finding options that are most compatible with your baby’s schedule.
On Expedia, you select the outbound flight first, then the inbound flight. In contrast, on Vayama you select the whole itinerary at the same time. If you have limited flexibility on the outbound flight but more so on your return flight, then Expedia’s system could be more useful to you.
On Vayama, the itinerary selection screen also tells you if checked baggage is included in the price. In contrast, that information is found in a dropdown on Expedia. This accordion section in Expedia also gives you the total price for the trip (as opposed to the price person you get in the top view) which is handy if you are traveling as a family.
Picking the best airline booking site for your needs is tough. Different sites offer varying features which may be more or less useful to you. Both Expedia and Vayama have options that are helpful when flying with a baby or children. However, we’ll let you be the final arbiter about which option works best for you.