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Have you wondered what the top travel websites used by Canadians are? It doesn’t matter if you’re booking flights, hotels, or doing research for your trip, many of us end up using the same websites every time. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is interesting to see what Canadians prefer.

Digital marketing specialists, SEMrush did some research and found what the top 10 sites are based on search volume. It’s not like what site will save you more money than the others, it’s strictly a popularity thing. Don’t read too much into these rankings as most of it is due to familiarity, but it is interesting to see what Canadians are looking for when it comes to travel.

1. Tripadvisor.ca

Without a doubt, tripadvisor.ca is the one travel site that I use every time I plan a trip. There’s no better resource when I’m trying to get reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. There’s also the Tripadvisor forum where I can ask specific questions where a local expert will usually be able to give me an answer. I should note that not every restaurant has reviews on the site, so sometimes I’ve gambled and taken a chance at places that interest me.

2. Expedia.ca

Expedia.ca was one of the first travel websites I ever used and I still continue to use them today. What I like most about the site is the ability to book flights, hotels, and car rentals at the same time. Last year I booked a flight and car rental package to Orlando and saved a fair amount compared to if I booked the two separately. Expedia also does all-inclusive packages, but I haven’t booked one with them yet.

3. Aircanada.com

If you’re looking for flights, quite often your search will begin at aircanada.com. Air Canada is the country’s largest airline and services 182 destinations. In other words, if you’re trying to get anywhere in the world, there’s a good chance Air Canada or one of their partners flies there. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that some Air Canada flight times are only available directly on aircanada.com, which is why I always check the site when I’m booking airfare. Air Canada also recently took complete control over Aeroplan, so there’s a lot more flexibility when redeeming your points.

4. Westjet.com

Travellers who fly WestJet on a regular basis consistently rave about their service. The airline has been branching out as of late with flights to Europe and their discount airline Swoop. Just recently, Westjet improved their Westjet Rewards loyalty program by making it easier to reach the higher tiers. If you plan on flying with them, it’s worth signing up for the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard since it gives you a $250 WestJet dollars as a welcome bonus, the first bag is checked free for the primary cardholder, and you get an annual companion voucher starting at $99.

5. Booking.com

Headquartered in Amsterdam, booking.com established itself in Europe before making a push into North America. I originally prefer Expedia over booking.com, but my preferences have changed lately. The site features more 1,400,000+ properties in 226 countries. I find it really easy to search between multiple property types since they have so much inventory. For example, when I went to Rome a few years ago, I decide to choose an apartment over a hotel.

6. Tripadvisor.com

Yes, Tripadvisor appears twice on this. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that this is the .com version as opposed to .ca. What’s the difference between the sites? Nothing, Tripadvisor.com redirects you to the .ca site so it makes no difference when you’re typing it into your web browser.

7. Kayak.com

I’m a bit surprised that kayak.com didn’t rank higher on this list. As a travel metasearch engine and fare aggregator, KAYAK allows you to search hundreds of websites at the same time. Since many of the websites featured on this list are partners, you could just check KAYAK for your travel needs instead of looking at multiple sites. One feature I love about KAYAK is their price alerts since it keeps me updated on any price changes. If you know how to use KAYAK properly, there are a lot of ways to find cheap flights.

8. Hotels.com

Besides access to nearly 300,000 properties around the world, what makes hotels.com popular is their loyalty program. For every 10 nights you collect, you get one free. Although you won’t be able to claim your free night at all available properties, you’ll still get access to 213,000 properties with no blackout dates or restrictions. It’s no wonder hotels.com ranks in the top of travel sites used by Canadians.

9. Sunwing.ca

If you’re looking for a cheap all-inclusive getaway, there’s a good chance you’ve checked out sunwing.ca. They’ve got exclusive deals on many resorts so you can find some pretty good deals, especially if you’re flying last minute. Sunwing also offers seasonal flights to destinations in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Note that their prices are lower as they’re a no-frills airline.

10. Redtag.ca

Redtag.ca is the only online travel agency on this list that is fully owned and operated by a Canadian Corporation. I’ve never used them personally, but they offer flights, hotels, car rentals, all-inclusive packages, and cruises. One thing that may interest consumers is the price drop assurance Red Tag offers, but there appears to be quite a few conditions if you ever want to make a claim.

If you plan on travelling soon, consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs since you can get a generous welcome bonus and you’ll earn points on all of your purchases. For example, the American Express Platinum card gives you a signup bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $600 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has a sign up bonus worth $250 and it comes with airport lounge access.   

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About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

33 Comments

  1. Avatar James on September 16, 2017 at 12:47 AM

    I’m surprised to NOT see Google flights – another flight engine aggregator – on this list.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on September 16, 2017 at 10:03 AM

      James,

      I’m a bit surprised myself, but I guess many Canadians don’t realize Google even has a flight search.

      • Avatar Alan on April 21, 2018 at 3:32 PM

        Funny I guess you work for Google!

        • Avatar Tim Brydges on November 21, 2019 at 10:56 PM

          Its because google only does flights, not vacations

      • Avatar Lila on November 5, 2020 at 9:25 AM

        Wow I am Canadian and I always search flights!! People just need to know how to use search properly so they get what they are looking for. Its not that hard, google can find alot for you, if you put in the right words. lol

  2. Avatar Josh on September 16, 2017 at 7:43 PM

    Interesting – I always target Google Flights first before I try anything else, followed by the apps Hopper and Skyscanner!

    • Avatar Barry Choi on September 16, 2017 at 9:39 PM

      Josh,

      I usually use Skyscanner and Google flights first. I think most Canadians just aren’t aware of those sites.

  3. Avatar Doug on September 16, 2017 at 11:17 PM

    I would have expected to see Trivago.ca on the list.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on September 18, 2017 at 9:43 AM

      Doug,

      I’m guessing it’s a “newish” website that not everyone is familiar with yet.

      • Avatar Gregg on April 19, 2018 at 7:24 PM

        hmm…they only advertise 100 times a day o TV.

      • Avatar shasta on February 25, 2020 at 2:02 PM

        LOL….I was shocked not to see Trivago either. It is one of the most highly advertised sites on TV. I don’t think it is possible to even think of a day I watched TV and DIDN’T see one of their ads. I saw it at least 3 times yesterday.

  4. Avatar Carl on September 17, 2017 at 8:46 PM

    While in Spain used Trivago to find the best hotel rooms, booked it through Expedia and saved a lot on $$. Works well for me.

    • Avatar Gregg on April 19, 2018 at 7:28 PM

      The aggregator sites can be interesting for research but I have yet to see one beat thr actual hotel website. In North America at least. Plus the aggregator engines do not offer loyalty member discounts and specials. Only time I have seen an apparent lower price is pay 100% up front with no cancellation. Hotels often have this offer too.

  5. Avatar Luochuan on January 9, 2018 at 3:56 AM

    Ctrip and qunar are the best in China

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  12. Avatar Jane Taylor on April 19, 2018 at 8:51 PM

    Here’s one I use a lot, partly because they’re not selling anything: http://matrix.itasoftware.com

  13. Avatar Paul Desouza souza on April 19, 2018 at 9:51 PM

    That’s just Google Flights by another name.

  14. Avatar Robert G on April 19, 2018 at 10:53 PM

    Matrix for me all the time , this is the engine that Google flight run . Matrix is own by Google.
    Hopper is very good also.

  15. Avatar Kevin Kilbride on April 22, 2018 at 10:26 AM

    Kayak is better than the other flight aggregators as you can search and book different cabin classes on the same trip. You can’t even do that on Air Canada’s web site. Its a new feature and very handy.

  16. Avatar TRAVELGURU on July 18, 2018 at 12:12 AM

    Wow, a few of these sight are from the same conglomorate, another site you listed as the only “wholly owned/operated” Canadian sight, that’t not correct either. If you are not a travel insider, you should probably speak to one………….

  17. Avatar salvish on January 7, 2019 at 2:00 AM

    Just wondering – Farenexus is not on the list. Currently its the top search result for travel meta search in Canada in Google search.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 7, 2019 at 8:05 AM

      Salvish,

      It may be the top search result in Goodle, but that doesn’t mean it’s one of the top used sites.

      • Avatar Salvish on May 13, 2019 at 1:06 AM

        Yes, you’re right. We’re talking about the most used sites anyways – my bad 🙂

  18. Avatar Tom Smith on January 31, 2019 at 8:30 PM

    https://myresolver.ca is a great tool for reclaiming for EU flight delay compensation for flights to an EU country (on an EU operated airline) or from countries in the EU. It’s totally free – and nice and easy too

  19. Avatar John Griffiths on March 1, 2019 at 10:03 PM

    When you want to book a room TripAdvisor sends you to Expedia’s site.

  20. Avatar Salvish on May 13, 2019 at 1:04 AM

    If youu’re not afraid to try on new technologies – you might want to try http://www.farenexus.com as well, a travel metasearch from Montreal. It can get you the access to some low cost travel agencies and good deal of flight fares.

  21. Avatar Jack Benjamin on February 6, 2020 at 1:35 AM

    Suprise with this list

    Skyscanner
    Orbiz and other

    • Avatar Bob on July 31, 2020 at 2:39 PM

      I book with Wego.com

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