About a month ago I read an article on The Points Guy about Greatescape.co. (NOTE THAT IT IS NOT .COM IT IS .CO) TPG raved about this websites brilliant design. I took a quick look, but just as quickly dismissed it. About a month later my dad calls me telling me that heard on Clark Howard’s show and my dad was shocked I didn’t know about. It was Great Escape. At this point I figured I might as well give it a try and see how good it really is.
What is Great Escape
Have you ever wanted to just hop on a plane and just go? Or have you had extra vacation time, and did not know where to go? They designed Great Escape just for this. All you do is put in the dates you want to travel and it tells you the cheapest places to go.
On first glance this is right up my alley. It is what i do, I find a great deal and I go. I am constantly using tools like Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Kayak’s explore function, to find the cheapest destinations. All of these tools however are imperfect. They all have some minor flaws which require me to utilize multiple sites depending on what I am looking for. For instance, Skyscanner is an aggregator that uses customer searches to get a price. Which means if no one has searched in a while the price may in inaccurate or non-existent. It becomes a lot of guess, check and revise.
So how does this one match up? Will it become a staple of my flight research website rotation? Will it replace all of the others?
What I Like About Great Escape
One of my favorite things about Great Escape is they have certain filters that are important to travelers, but that are significantly lacking on pretty much every other travel site. These filters include:
- No time to get a visa but you still want to travel internationally. No Problem! They let you narrow down your destinations to those countries that are visa free travel, visa upon arrival, and eVisa. This function, which I haven’t seen anywhere will really come in handy, as airlines don’t typically warn you about visa requirements before you book.
- lets you set a floor and cap on trip price. Though, why would you ever want a floor on budget? A trip budget for me is like limbo! How low can you go!
Simplicity of use
Greatescape.co is very simple to use. Literally just type in where you want to leave from, your dates, and go! It shows you all of the search results color coded by flight fare. The cheapest cities start off as green, and they get more red as the prices go up.
As you can see this is a bid of a drawback, as the further away you get from home, the worse the price is always going to get.
Variable Date Range
Since the initial launch they have added the ability to search flexible dates.
This means you can pick a range of dates, and a length of trip and they will give you the best prices in that range. This is a HUGE add, as it gives Great Escape more versatility from its original launch. When it launched you were stuck with the exact dates you inputted.
What I don’t like about Great Escape
While GreatEscape.co is a amazing concept. It seems to have launched before it is ready and it still has some of the flaws as the other sites.
Its simplicity is a double edge sword
The color coded layout makes it a great visual to determine how much a flight is. Great is low price, red is high. The problem with this is that flights to far off international destinations will always be higher than domestic flights. What that results in is the United States being covered in green, with the rest of the world being red and orange.
Visually this actually does not tell you what is a good deal. Basically the lowest prices will almost always be domestic and will almost always be green. Rather, they should flag it by what is a good deal.
Its pricing has the same flaws as Skyscanner
Great Escape uses SkyScanner and Kiwi to determine its prices. While they don’t post their methods on their site, it seems safe to assume that it has the same flaws as skyscanner as I discussed above. The less a destination is searched, the more likely the prices they will show are inaccurate. With these sites the prices generally update when you confirm a specific price. So what you see at the initial search could skyrocket when you select your dates and destinations.
Limited Search Dates
You can only search about 6 months out. That is probably fine for most people, but some (like me) like to plan their trips well in advance. Especially when there is a great deal. I find this surprising as it uses skyscanner which lets you search up to a year out. It is possible this is some sort of computing power issue.
The User Interface can be cluttered
If you truly don’t care where you go, and do not apply any filters. The User interface on a search becomes extremely cluttered.
Almost every airport will be represented on the map, and there are a lot of them. This results in lines being everywhere and makes it a bit of a pain to truly explore your options. Hopefully in the future they find a way to clean up the UI. One example could be the google flights approach, which is show only the best deals.
Great Escape is extremely clever idea, but is not quite ready to become a big player. I love the flexible ways to find best deals without having to determine a destination, but the user interface is flawed and cluttered. With some more work, GreatEscape.co could become one of the best travel search engines out there.