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Take off for the Holiday Season

Those who travel are looking for the best deal on hotels and flights. With so many booking options out there, it’s hard to choose. Do price and convenience make a difference if you buy from china based apps?

When the fall season makes its appearance, Dongguaners are usually thinking about what to do during Chinese New Year (CNY). So, as a China resident, should I be booking with China-based apps, or should I go with more global mainstream ones? Therefore, we’ve decided to plan our vacation in advance and rate them for you on a five-star scale.

FEI ZHU

Fei Zhu was easy to find in the app store using its pinyin name. Finding the app listed with its pinyin denomination was a good sign, but the app comes in only Chinese characters. We mention this specifically because, as non-Chinese speaking expats this is one of the first things we look for—this and menus with pictures. The interface was not particularly intuitive, and searching for destinations in English proved to be a no-go. All in all, not the best for English speakers.

WECHAT

It’s already on your phone, so searching for destinations is easy. However, if you’re using a private network, you will quickly find out that WeChat is not keen on it. It makes searching slow and unreliable. If searching with your private network turned off, then you’ll find that the buying process is faster and has more straight-forward options than most of the others on the list. With WeChat you can pay with WeChat Wallet as well as Alipay, Chinese debit and credit cards. Something that global mainstream apps are not great for if your funds are in China.

TRIP.COM

Extremely efficient and intuitive, Trip.com took me less than five minutes to download, signup, find a flight and proceed to checkout. It’s probably the most intuitive and fast working option of the lot. Signing up can be done with a variety of fast action options including Google, Facebook, Apple ID or directly with email. The search features are simple, and simple in this case means good. You can even use it to book train tickets around China. Payment methods include WeChat as well as debit and credit cards, both Chinese and international.

SKYSCANNER

Although Skyscanner is not a marketplace for flight tickets, it has proven to be a reliable search engine that redirects users to the best marketplace for the intended purchase. The Skyscanner app is easy to find and download directly. An adventurous feature is the option to search for a flight with destination “Everywhere”, the app will then organize results in order of best pricing to different destinations. A disadvantage often found is not all possible flights are shown for lower-cost airlines when traveling long distances. If your goal is to travel cheap, regardless of what the flight time may look like, then Skyscanner might not be for you.

EXPEDIA

The search feature behaves quite well in China, and the search results come back with cheaper airline deals that do not show up on other search engines. However, search results do come back quite unclear, and it’s difficult to visualize all the relevant information at once.

 


If looking to pay with a Chinese bank card or WeChat, then you are likely better off with the Chinese apps. If you are looking to travel outside of Asia, then cheap might be your number one concern, so stick to the international apps. In terms of cost, it ultimately just comes down to what airline you are using and how much flight time you are willing to put in, so regardless of the search engine you use, pricing will be the same if not neglectfully similar.