Why would we rank a site you’ve probably never heard of as number one? Because SmarterTravel.com has everything. It’s the best of a new breed of online travel sites that act as search engines to find your requested information on other travel sites. Some let you choose your desired travel options, find them for you, and then redirect you to the providing site to book them.
SmarterTravel.com has much more to offer than the other online travel search engines and it earned our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award. The first thing you may notice on their easy-to-use homepage is the “Editor’s Pick’s: Airfare Deals” section,. Click on any fare; it brings up the exact one you clicked on plus a host of others.
Enter your trip information in the "compare prices" field, click 'Go' and you’ll be taken to the most outstanding feature offered by SmarterTravel.com: a selection of buttons for ten major travel sites that, when each is clicked on, brings up information for the dates and destination you selected: available flights, price, airline, plus links for the cost of checking extra bags, as well as additional fees such as ordering paper tickets. In minutes, you can easily compare offerings between Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, JetBlue, Orbitz and more. There’s even a “search other sites’ drop down menu that lists dozens more online travel sites for those with the itch to be thorough.
SmarterTravel.com is amazingly easy to navigate. The information you need is clearly defined, and the links work quickly and accurately. The "Contact Us" section provides both email and telephone options.
There are many great options on the homepage. On the right, you can sign up for the "Free SmarterTravel Newsletter," which offers a 'Deal Alert' as well as the Daily Travel Deals chosen by the site’s editors. Below that, you can download a useful list titled "Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees," which lists all the fees from every major domestic airline. It lets you see how much an extra bag costs, or if there’s a departure or landing fee.
Scroll down for the SmarterTravel.com blog, "Today In Travel." It covers pertinent travel issues such as the new switch by some airlines to cashless, credit-card-only purchases while on board the plane. For example, a reader asked about a case where the credit card system malfunctioned, and wondered how this problem can be resolved in a "no cash" system. Writer Carl Unger interviewed the spokesperson of the airline on which the incident happened, and got good-to-know answers. You can post a question yourself, Unger will do the research and give an answer in the blog.
This brings up another excellent aspect of SmarterTravel.com — there are many informative articles, with excellent writing that makes for interesting reading, even if you’re not planning an immediate trip.
The homepage also has a large selection of destination travel guides on the lower left, not only for large cities like Las Vegas, but also for less traveled spots like Tulsa or Kissimmee. The top menu offers buttons for specialty travel, deals and travel advice. Under that is another menu where you can find and compare flights, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals and cruises from different companies. In addition, every page of the site has a different list of available deals on the side of the page.
SmarterTravel.com is the best of a new kind of travel site; travel search engines that explore other sites to seek out the best deals for flights, cruises, hotels and car rentals. But Smarter Travel offers more: a button field of the top ten online travel sites where you can quickly go from site to site to see which one offers the best deal for you. Smarter Travel also has a side menu on every page of special deals at genuine discount prices.