Orchestrating smooth travel takes a lot more than packing sunscreen and a towel. Online travel sites like Orbitz work as mediators between businesses like hotels and airlines and customers like you. Orbitz wins our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award because it gives you many ways to mix and match to find the best times, methods of travel and destinations for a below-average price.
It's no problem if you want to book a flight, hotel or rental car individually, but Orbitz specializes in combination packages combining multiple reservations. When you purchase reservations in bundles, it costs less than booking individually. The more package deals you purchase, the more rewards you earn for even cheaper travel. This makes Orbitz a great online booking site for frequent flyers or families who need to book at least four tickets for any trip.
Online travel agencies like Orbitz work directly with hotels, airlines and other businesses in the travel industry to provide booking for all kinds of flights and accommodations. This results in piles of potential travel options to choose from. The best travel websites provide plenty of filters to narrow your booking search to the best option for you, and Orbitz is no exception. Orbitz lets you filter flights by the amount of stops, departure and arrival times, flight class and flexible days. The flexible date search is one of our favorite features of Orbitz. Instead of searching for flights on an exact day, flexible search looks for tickets within three days before or after your preferred date. This is a great tool if you're simply looking for a getaway or searching for the best price on reservations months in advance. Each flight listing shows a complete itinerary, including transfer locations, time, terminal and the duration of your layover. If you're planning a long international flight, Orbitz will let you know if you'll be arriving a day or two days later than your departure.
Hotel searches display results based on distance from a city's center by default. However, you can adjust results based on lowest price, star rating and reviewer score to name a few. Orbitz displays alerts if a hotel offers free cancellation in case your plans change. Hotel results on Orbitz include interior and exterior pictures of the hotel, customer reviews and a quick description of the amenities available. Within the hotel's profile, you'll find a list of nearby points of interest so you can find a hotel nearest to your favorite attractions.
If you aren't flying to a location with plenty of public transportation or shuttle services, you may want to consider renting a car for your stay. Orbitz can book inexpensive rental cars and finds the best vehicle and price for your budget. When you search for rental cars on Orbitz, you'll see an easy-to-follow grid with dealerships and prices. You can search for rentals based on the car, the price, transmission type, pick up and drop off locations and even features like AC.
If you plan to stay in hotel and rent a car at your destination, you can purchase package deals that include all these for a lower price than booking individually. Packages come in different combinations based on your needs. You can book any combination of flights, hotels and rental cars in one fell swoop. If you're a frequent flyer, select your preferred airline and enter your number to earn more miles through Orbitz.
Of course, travel isn't limited to landlubbers. You can book cruises online with Orbitz, too. Just like the other travel searches on this website, booking exactly the right cruise only takes a few tweaks on your initial search. Cruise searches are based on destination, with the most popular locations at the top of the list. Orbitz cruises provide destinations all over the globe, not just popular Caribbean cruises. You can choose your preferred cruise line and departure date up to two years in advance. Orbitz can book cruises that last from two to 12 nights and lists all the ports of call on the route so you can see where you'll be stopping on your trip. If you have cabin preferences, you can choose interior, ocean view, balcony and suite rooms at the listed prices.
The Activities section of Orbitz helps you reserve events and tickets you can enjoy once you unpack your bags and get over some heavy jet lag. This booking on Orbitz is great for avoiding ticket lines for big destinations and activities. You can search for fun events, tickets, shows and tours around your destination before you even get there. Of course, activities vary from location to location, but most locations offer at least a shuttle or car service option to or from the airport. Just search your destination and the dates you'll be there to find out what's going on in the area. In our research, we found the most popular activities were tickets to Cirque Du Soleil, Disney World and Grand Canyon tours.
Orbitz also lists deals to popular destinations like California, Florida, Las Vegas, Mexico and the Caribbean on the front page. Deals are often for last-minute booking for popular vacation destinations. You can often find last-minute packages up to half off, but the deals usually have a limited list of participating hotels on very short notice.
Like all the best online travel sites, Orbitz sends email confirmations as soon as you book your seats, car or room. Within the email confirmation, you'll find all the necessary details about your reservation, such as departure and arrival times, addresses, ports of calls and the price you paid for your tickets. Whether you're flying, driving, cruising or sleeping over, you want to be confident that you have the reservations you expect waiting for you.
Orbitz has a couple of features that make travel searching easier: predictive searching and calendar-style date selection. Predictive searches save time by completing the name of your destination as you begin to type it. Orbitz provides calendar-style selection for dates so you can see what day of the week you make your reservations. Ticket prices often change based on the day of the week, so if you don't have a date preference, you can use the flexible date feature.
While searching for reservations, Orbitz lets you compare prices to the results from other travel websites. This way, you'll catch the best deals and choose from the most results possible. Once you choose the best reservation for you, Orbitz guides you through the booking process one step at a time. If you only book a flight, for example, Orbitz offers a chance to book hotels and rental car with your flight reservations.
After booking a reservation, you can view and manage itineraries in the My Trips portal online. You can change flight seats, update alerts or cancel altogether. Unfortunately, Orbitz can hit hard for itinerary or cancellation changes. Changes to your schedule can cost you at least $30 USD for a minimum service fee with additional charges that may apply. You can cancel your trip at any time, but you won't get a complete refund from Orbitz. However, if you cancel before your departure date, you can apply the amount of your ticket to future domestic travel.
For extra help, you can opt for travel alerts about flight delays, cancellations, gate changes and airport advisories. You can set preferences for these alerts to notify you three to five hours before your departure and even opt for a wakeup call if you have an early morning flight.
Orbitz has a loyalty rewards program called Orbucks for customers who consistently book through the company. By simply logging in to an Orbitz account and booking, you automatically save up to five percent off hotels, two percent off flights and one percent off package deals. The Orbucks program is also a points system, where 1 Orbuck is equal to $1 USD, so if you earn $22.32 in Orbucks by booking a trip to Chicago, you'll be able to take off $22.32 on your next trip. When you use the iOS or Android mobile app for Orbitz, you'll earn even more points. You can also earn extra Orbucks through referrals or booking family and friends. The only downside to this system is that you can only earn up to $50 Orbucks at a time and they expire after a year.
Orbitz offers easy methods of support, such as telephone and FAQs, but the company falls short elsewhere. The FAQs are the most reliable type of first-string support, but they're not in an obvious place on the website. Hint: They're found under the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page. And while Orbitz doesn't offer every type of support imaginable, the company makes it easy to send feedback about the site. There is a feedback feature that lets you add suggestions, send praise or alert Orbitz when you have problems. Each of these feedback options opens to a blank text box, so you can talk to Orbitz in your own words.
Though you can't always control every aspect of your vacation, booking through an online travel site like Orbitz gives you the opportunity to customize your travel options. Frequent flyers will benefit from booking with this online travel site because of the rewards points and package deals for flights, cars and hotels. Unfortunately, you may get hit by cancellation or adjustment fees if you make changes to your itinerary. However, that likely won't be an issue because our number one online travel site makes it easy to get your reservations right the first time.
For every flight you book while signed into Orbitz, you'll earn Orbucks rewards to get a further discount on future travel.
Fees for cancellation and itinerary changes can pack a punch.
The extensive packages and the rewards program provide plenty of incentive to book with this online travel site regularly, but cancellation and changes can be a pain.