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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.