It has gotten incredibly complicated (vs. easier) to find the lowest fares. The days of just typing into Expedia are over. Here’s how we do it and ironically, we ended up on Expedia but who knows:
* “Expedia”:http://expedia.com. This is the place to start for vacation travel mainly because they let you choose each leg in turn the other engines for whatever reason bundle the outbound and inbound legs so you can’t mix and match. That’s a real pain, for instance, the lowest fares are usually redeyes and there is no way to unselect red eyes. Also they have a relatively strange flexible travel. They are very good at multihop though.
* “Orbitz”:http://orbitz.com. Pretty much a subset of Expedia in terms of search flexibility, but sometimes finds unique fares.
* “Kayak”:http://kayak.com. This just searches the big engines. The UI is OK in that it lets you pick the search windows and then just launches you to the other site.
* Individual sites. Sad to say, but many times, going to the underlying site gives the best price like “Alaska Air”:http://alaskaair.com or “Northwest”:http://nwa.com