Trip.com is the only website I use when booking a trip to China. However, it has increasingly also become a popular travel site for booking trips to the United States, Canada, and abroad.
In this article, I'll review Trip.com, let you know whether it's good for travel in the United States, and give you some helpful hints for using it to save money.
Is Trip.com Legit?
Let's start with the first question: Is Trip.com legit? Yes, Trip.com is legitimate and completely safe to use (at least as safe as any other travel website like Expedia or Travelocity). I've used Trip.com and CTrip.com (its parent company) for over 10 years.
Trip.com is now owned by CTrip, one of the largest travel companies in China (it was acquired by CTrip in 2017). If you've used CTrip to book your flights, you'll notice most English speakers are now automatically directed to Trip.com while Chinese speakers are directed to CTrip.com.
Is Trip.com a Chinese Company?
Yes, Trip.com is owned and operated in China.
Politics aside, this means that you'll often be dealing with Chinese customer support staff. In my experience, there are definitely some cultural and language issues you'll encounter if you need to get in touch with customer support.
Pros and Cons of Trip.com
Just like any other travel site, there are good and bad things about using Trip.com. Here are some based on my personal experience:
Pros of Trip.com
- Earn “Trip Coins” (reward points) every time you book
- Often very cheap prices (especially for airline tickets)
- Easy to contact customer service via chat
- Excellent for trips to China
Cons of Trip.com
- Overseas customer support means there can be language and cultural issues
- Still better to book hotels and flights directly through hotel/airline websites when possible
- Polarizing User Interface (UI) – You'll either love it or hate it
- Foreign (China) based company
Let me give a quick overview of the pros and cons:
(Pro) Trip Coins – When you book with Trip.com, you get Trip Coins, which are basically reward points you can use for booking future trips. It works out to around 5% of your purchase price, so it's not bad.
(Pro) Cheap Prices – Trip.com offer prices that are often much cheaper compared to competitors like Travelocity and Expedia, especially for airline tickets. You're typically not going to be surprised by any hidden fees either.
(Pro) Easy to Contact Customer Support via Chat – Opening up a customer chat is extremely easy (and not buried in a million sub-menus as is often the case with other websites).
(Pro) Great for Chinese Travel – This won't be applicable to a lot of people reading this, but if you're traveling within China, Trip.com is basically the site to use, especially for booking Train tickets.
(Con) Overseas Customer Support – Trip is getting better in regard to its customer support but it's still not uncommon to get overseas customer support which can lead to communication problems.
(Con) Better to Book Direct – There's one flaw with all travel booking websites (whether it's Trip.com or any others) and that's that it is better to book direct through airline and hotel websites when you can. Often you'll get better prices, more flexible cancellation/change policies, and easier customer service when you do.
(Con) Polarizing User Navigation – You're either going to love the UI for Trip.com or hate it. There's not a lot of bells and whistles which means you're not going to get inundated with a million upsells but you also won't be able to find detailed information on hotels.
(Con) Foreign Based Company – Trip.com is Chinese owned. For better or worse, I recognize in the current political climate this can be an issue for some.
Trip.com Reviews vs. Other Travel Websites
Trip.com ranks far better than other travel booking websites such as Travelocity, Expedia, and Booking.com on review aggregator websites such as Trust Pilot and the Better Business Bureau. To be blunt, most other travel booking websites rank terribly while Trip.com ranks fairly well. To be fair though, there is likely a bit of “gamesmanship” involved with how Trip.com is managing its reviews, i.e., the score is likely over-inflated.
|Website||Trust Pilot Score||BBB|
|Trip.com||3.9 Stars (36,000+ Reviews)||1.2 Stars|
|Booking.com||1.3 Stars (40,000+ Reviews)||1.0 Stars|
|Expedia||1.1 Stars (7,000+ reviews)||1.1 Stars|
|Priceline||3.7 Stars (90,000+ Reviews)||1.0 Stars|
|Travelocity||1.2 Stars (8,000+ Reviews)||1.0 Stars|
Is Trip.com Good for US Airline Tickets?
Trip.com is the website for booking travel to China, but it is also good for booking trips to and within the United States. In many cases, Trip.com is the cheapest booking option, especially for airline tickets.
In my experience, the price of airline tickets on Trip.com is lower than on other travel booking websites. You might be suspicious of these prices that are “too good to be true” but, as someone who has booked countless flights through Trip.com, I can tell you there's nothing to fear.
Is Trip.com Good for Booking Hotels in the US?
When it comes to booking hotels, Trip.com, in my experience, is very comparable to other websites such as Expedia or Travelocity. However, I rarely book Western hotels through Trip.com simply because it's usually not the cheapest option.
With that being said, it's worth noting that most hotel stays will earn you approximately 5% back in Trip Coins, which most other websites don't offer. So if Trip.com and another website offer the same price for the same hotel, keep this 5% bonus in mind.
Is Trip.com Good for Booking China Trains, Hotels, and Flights?
Trip.com is good for booking US trips, but where it really shines is travels to China. This probably won't concern many of the people reading this, but if you're planning to travel to China, then Trip.com is going to be your best friend.
Why is Trip.com so good for booking Chinese travel? First, in terms of train bookings, it's essentially the only English-friendly booking website. Second, when it comes to airline tickets and hotel bookings, most Western websites have limited options for Chinese flights and hotels.
How to Book a China Train Travel with Trip.com
Traveling by train in China is wonderful—booking train tickets is a different story. Most Chinese people use WeChat to book train travel, but this isn't an option for foreigners.
Foreigners have three options for booking trains:
- Book at the train station. This requires you to get there hours in advance, try to figure out the train schedule, and deal with language barriers. The only advantage is there's no booking fee.
- Book through the official Chinese railway website 12306.cn. Not an option for foreigners really, as you can't pay with a foreign credit card.
- Book through Trip.com. Enjoy an extremely Western-friendly website, view easy-to-understand schedules online, and book easily with your credit card. The downside is you'll have to pay a $5 to $10 booking fee.
Is Trip.com Good for Booking Hotels and Flights in China?
Trip.com is also a better option for booking hotels and flights in China than other Western travel booking websites because of the number of options.
Western travel booking websites like Booking.com and Priceline will have many Chinese hotels and airlines available, but they won't have as many as Trip.com. Now, to be fair, if a Chinese hotel isn't available to be booked on your favorite Western travel website, you probably don't want to stay there if you're a first-time traveler to China (Chinese hotel standards are vastly different than Western Hotel standards).
For airline tickets, the same is true: Trip.com will have far more flight options to China than Western travel booking websites do. Western websites will have the major Chinese airlines like China Southern and China Eastern, but they won't have the smaller Chinese airlines.
In conclusion, Trip.com is a perfectly safe and legitimate website for booking travel both in Western regions like the United States, Canada, and Europe, as well as in China. Airline ticket prices tend to be priced below average compared to other major travel booking websites, and when it comes to booking trips within China, Trip.com is the best choice.
Have you tried booking on Trip.com? If so, what has your experience been? Let me know in the comments below.