kayak

What is KAYAK and How Does It Work?

What is KAYAK?

KAYAK is a travel search engine. That means we look across the web to find your options on flights, hotels and rental cars. It’s all about giving you (traveler) the information you need so you can choose the option that’s right for you.

We also have useful tools and features to help focus your search. Price Alerts lets you track prices on flights and hotels (via email or phone notifications) so you never miss a deal. Trips organizes all your travel information into an itinerary that you can edit and add to build out your entire vacation. Want to travel but not sure where to go on your budget? Explore will show you everywhere you can fly to with however much you want to spend. Plus, other add-ons like Flex Search (see if you can save money if you’re flexible with your travel dates), Private Deals (save even more on hotels and rental cars just by signing into KAYAK) and Price Forecast (know when to book or wait for a flight).

What’s a travel search engine?

A travel search engine takes your query (hotels in Punta Cana for next weekend) and searches hundreds of other travel sites at once to find as many different options as it can. These “travel sites” include online travel agencies, discount suppliers, other search engines and the flight/hotel/rental car’s own website. By bringing them all together in one place, you have all the decision-making power.

What makes KAYAK different?

Because we’re a search engine, we’re not selling you anything. Yeah, it’s true. We don’t care if you book a hotel with XYZ.com or directly with the airline/hotel/rental car agency itself. We just want to make sure you know your options and are finding the best deal out there.

But, because we’re not selling anything, we don’t handle the booking or the customer service associated with your travel. It also means that we don’t have control of prices and availability.

Why is it called KAYAK?

It all began on a moonlit night when our CEO was out hunting fireflies on a vast plain, contemplating…

Yeah, no. That’s absurd.

We’re called KAYAK because reallyawesometravelsite.com was a bit long and travel.com was taken. KAYAK is fun to say, is a palindrome and is easy to remember. So we took it. It’s ours. You can’t have it.

Have more burning questions about KAYAK? Check out our FAQ’s.

Related
How does 1 person visit 52 places in a year? With KAYAK.

How does 1 person visit 52 places in a year? With KAYAK.

The New York Times is sending one traveler to all of their 52 Places to Visit in just one year, and they turned to us to help plan this epic trip.
KAYAK
planning travel at work

How Canadians Plan Travel at Work

When 12pm rolls around, what are Canadians searching for? (Besides some supermarket sushi, that is.) According to our data, they’re...
KAYAK
6 Tips for Planning Travel At Work Without Getting Caught

6 Tips for Planning Travel At Work Without Getting Caught

Sitting at your desk with reheated leftovers, frantically scrolling through flights before your boss gets back from her lunch meeting?...
KAYAK
KAYAK News See all
Everything you need to know to get travel-ready

Everything you need to know to get travel-ready

Little by little, we’re starting to test the waters around the world about what it means to travel post-pandemic. And...
KAYAK
Ways to celebrate the mom in your life

Ways to celebrate the mom in your life

Our friends at La Fleur, Canvas People and more have awesome deals for KAYAK users to treat mom this Mother's Day. Find great gifts, discounts and more.
KAYAK