Today’s post focuses on Hipmunk’s Flights Search option. Hipmunk also offers a Hotels Search option, which follows the same concept as the Flights Search option.
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of booking flights for that summer vacation? Choosing the “best fit” flight can be a daunting task for many of us – the thought of sorting through pages of flight information leads many a traveler to simply “settle” on the cheapest flight on the list.
As we know, “cheapest” doesn’t always equate to “best” and this holds true with travel booking as well. But how to sort through all that flight information to find what works best for your travel needs? Hipmunk to the rescue!
What is Hipmunk?
Hipmunk is a travel planning search site dedicated to taking the complications out of choosing flights and hotels. As travel search sites go, Hipmunk is a newbie, having just launched in June, 2010. But don’t let Hipmunk’s youthful age stop you from including them as one of your travel booking “go-to” sites. Why? Because Hipmunk really can help you book your flights and hotels faster and more efficiently.
How does Hipmunk do that?
By putting travel booking options into a visual color-coded timeline. It’s like having a “photo snapshot” of available flights and hotels for your specific travel window. The overall simplicity of the timeline easily shows you the “best fit” travel options for your destination. All you need to do is pick your option!
The Agony of of it all. But not with Hipmunk!
What makes Hipmunk different from other travel search sites? It’s in the “Agony” of their search and display process. They don’t just sort and deliver by price. Using an “Agony” scale that combines price, flight duration, and number of connections, Hipmunk quickly lets you know which flights might provide the least amount of “travel agony.” Then you chose if spending a few extra dollars is worth avoiding that 45 minute layover at Chicago O’hare International Airport. Especially useful when traveling with kids! Spending an extra $100 for a direct flight and avoiding dragging two kids through a connecting airport might save lots of “travel agony” – well worth it for many parents.
Searching flight options with Hipmunk
Let’s check out how easy it is to “save the agony” with Hipmunk. First, input the originating city or airport code. Then input the destination city or airport code. Now the travel dates. Lastly, the number of passengers. Hit “Search” and release the Hipmunk to find those “least antagonist” flight options!
While Hipmunk is off searching flights, the site “entertains” you with a pop-up window of handy travel tips such as “Tip #5: Filter by time to fit your schedule.”
Ahhh, the best flight options are delivered!
Once flights are compiled and “agony-rated,” you receive a timeline display of flight options, complete with prices, airlines, airports, and departure and arrival times, all ranked in “least agony” order. That’s it! Hipmunk’s visual timeline makes it easy to quickly identify flights that best fit your specific travel needs. You decide whether or not it is worth a few extra dollars to not have to drag the kids through Chicago.
Why is Hipmunk’s Timeline Search oh-so-handy?
Because you can quickly identify those travel hassles you would rather leave behind. Want to avoid connecting flights? Need extra connection times? Easy to find on the Hipmunk timeline – those off-white bars represent the time between connecting flights. Need to be at your destination by 2:00 pm? Check the Hipmunk timeline for flights with earlier arrivals. Hate flying through Chicago? Cross off flights through “ORD” (Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s airport code). Hipmunk’s timeline display lets you quickly and easily line up flights that match your travel style and needs.
Found a Hipmunk flight! Now what?
Hipmunk’s timeline has identified your “least agony” flight choices. Time to purchase that ticket. Begin by hovering over the preferred outbound flight, then click on it. Up pops a window providing full flight details. If this is “the flight,” click on “Select This Leg.” Repeat for the return flight.
Once both the outbound and return flights are chosen, Hipmunk provides options on where to purchase the flight. Click on “Buy” and Hipmunk redirects you to either the airline website or the Orbitz website for purchase. My personal preference is to purchase air travel through the airline itself. Less hassle if anything goes wrong with the flight.
Note: Hipmunk does not actually do any bookings. It is a search engine that provides you the tools to make the best decision for your travel plans, then redirects you to its’ recommended booking sites.
Have travel date flexibility?
Then search using the “Price Graph” option. Hipmunk provides a bar graph of cheapest flights available based on the outbound flight dates for your travel window.
Got a smart phone or iPad? Download the Hipmunk app for on the go travel planning. Hipmunk has apps for both iPhone and iPad as well as Android devices. And with the newest app update that enables integration with your calendar, the Hipmunk apps know your schedule, helping ensure you book the right travel plans. This handy feature shows conflicts between your schedule and possible travel plans before you book that flight.
We’re not the only ones who like Hipmunk!
Check out these accolades:
- Travel & Leisure included Hipmunk in it’s 2011 “Best Travel Websites and Apps” listing.
- Hipmunk has been nominated for a 2012 Webby People’s Voice Award.
Are you now ready to “Hipmunk” your next trip? Do you already fly with a little help from the Hipmunk? Let us know in the Comments section below.
All images from Hipmunk.