App of the day: Expedia review (Android)
The internet now offers an abundance of choices when it comes to making travel plans. There are websites for just about every everything, from online agents, to individual travel companies, to all the services you might want on your travels and more.
With such saturation, it's easy to be drawn off in various directions and ignore one of the stalwarts of online travel: Expedia. While many of these travel companies offer no app, some also make the mistake of not offering a website optimised for mobile devices. Expedia, on the other hand, has an app that's rather good.
- Google Play
As far back as we can remember, we've been using Expedia for making bookings online. It has been one of the first ports of call when we had impeding travel, a place to check prices, a place to see what your options might be, whether you buy there or not.
The app for Android focuses on the two main areas of flights and hotels, rather than complete holiday packages, car rental and any extras. We can understand why, as flights and hotels are the basics you're more likely to choose on the move, avoiding the complexity of all the extras which really demands a larger website.
One of the great things about the Expedia app for Android is that it is optimised both for smartphones and tablets. There are some areas where the tablet app could make better use of space, but the hotel booking pages are packed with information and easy to navigate, making it easy to make an informed decision. The design drops in lovely rich backgrounds, has great fluid scrolling and just feels like good quality.
The tablet app is seemingly geared towards booking hotels: when you open the app, you're presented with hotel booking pages, so you can quickly select the destination, dates and travellers. On the smartphone app, you have two columns, nicely pre-populated offering hotels or flights, and we love how visually engaging it all is.
On the flights side of things you get to select from a wide range of operators, with the ability to sort quickly and easily. You can then click through to select the outbound and return sections of your flight to get the times that are best for your needs.
When it comes to payment, be it for flights or for hotels, the Expedia app uses your existing Expedia account, so it's easy to pay using the card details you have on account, or via Google Wallet. You also get the option of adding other travellers if you're taking a companion, or family, with you, just as you can on the regular website.
Once you've made a booking, you'll have access to your itinerary through the app under Trips. If you've booked a hotel, for example, you can jump straight through to the details, phone the hotel and get navigation from Google Maps. It's all very convenient.
As we said, the Expedia app is aimed at the essentials, so if you're looking for multi-destination flights, then you'll have to use the website.
Overall we love the app. It's quick and convenient, it provides the essential details, like map views in hotel searches and guest reviews. But the thing we like the most is the engaging visual design which works on both smartphone and tablet.