Have some time on your hands, but don’t know where to go? Always wanted to go to Thailand, but don’t know when’s best to visit? You’re in luck! Both Kayak and Google Flights now offer “spin the globe” style Explore features (aptly named Kayak Explore and Google Explore), where you can find the best prices for specific destinations, and also factor in personal preferences like interests, budget, and flight duration. But which one is better? Here’s our head-to-head comparison:
Kayak offer a fun map style interface where you can literally just mouse around and see what it will cost you to travel to specific destinations, or at specific times. On the left hand side of the page, you have four filters:
- Stops (the usual “up to one stop” and “nonstop only”)
- Budget (duh)
- Duration (look, it takes a while to get to Thailand)
- Type of trip (outdoorsy, city, etc)
To be honest, Kayak explore is fine, but, as we’ll see in a sec, it pales in comparison to Google Explore. In fact, the main thing it has in its favor is the fact that it’s available on Kayak’s mobile app, whereas – unfortunately – there’s no Google Flights app.
Google Explore is crazy powerful. You get all of Kayak’s filter options – stops, interests budget, and duration – but you also get a few key features that Kayak lacks:
Flying with kids: Airlines typically have different fares for children. Google flights allows you to see what it will cost to fly as a family, since you can indicate which passengers are adults, and which are children, which can make a material difference in price.
Filtering by Airlines or Alliance: If you’ve got a preferred airline or airline alliance, Google Explore makes it easy to stick with preferred carriers. If you’ve got an airline on your bad list, you can always filter ’em out.
Cabin type: You can also filter by cabin type. And even though a thrifty bestie doesn’t splurge on Premium Economy, it’s still a handy feature to have.
Adding bags: A lot of times, flights may look deceptively cheap because you’re seeing Basic Economy. An easy way to filter out Basic Economy tickets is to check the “carry-on bags” option, which will more or less filter out a lot of the cheap-o fares.
In Sum: Go with Google
Google Flights is seriously the best for flight research. Unless you need to do comprehensive research on your phone, Google Flights is the clear winner.
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