When it comes to booking trips, especially to China, Trip.com has emerged as popular website. However, it has gained popularity as a travel site for booking trips to the United States, Canada, and other international destinations as well. But, is Trip.com legit for Internaitonal travel?
In this article, I will provide an overview of Trip.com, address the question of its legitimacy, and offer some valuable tips to save money while using the platform.
As a Chinese-based booking website, Trip.com has been steadily gaining traction in the Western market. So, let’s address the primary concern: Is Trip.com legit? Absolutely! Trip.com is a legitimate platform and safe to use, much like other well-known travel websites such as Expedia or Travelocity. Personally, I have been using Trip.com and its parent company, CTrip.com, for over a decade.
Trip.com is currently owned by CTrip, one of the largest travel companies in China, which acquired it in 2017. English-speaking users are now automatically redirected 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.
It’s worth noting that when dealing with customer support, you will likely interact with staff based in China. From my experience, there may be some cultural and language barriers when contacting customer support.
Pros and Cons of Trip.com
Like any other travel website, Trip.com has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some key points based on my personal experience:
Pros of Trip.com:
- Earn “Trip Coins”: Trip.com offers reward points called “Trip Coins” for each booking, allowing you to accumulate points and redeem them for future trips. You can earn approximately 5% of your purchase price as Trip Coins, making it a decent benefit.
- Competitive Prices: Trip.com often provides highly competitive prices, particularly for airline tickets. You can expect transparent pricing without hidden fees.
- Convenient Customer Support: The platform offers easy access to customer support via chat, with responsive and helpful staff.
- Ideal for Traveling to China: Trip.com is excellent for trips to China, especially for booking train tickets. It has become the go-to site for English speakers due to its user-friendly interface.
Cons of Trip.com:
- Overseas Customer Support: While Trip.com is improving its customer support, there may still be instances where you interact with overseas customer support, leading to potential communication challenges.
- Direct Booking Preferred: It is generally better to book hotels and flights directly through hotel or airline websites when possible. Direct bookings often offer better prices, flexible cancellation/change policies, and smoother customer service.
- Polarizing User Interface: The user interface of Trip.com can be a matter of personal preference. Some may appreciate its simplicity, while others may find it lacking in detailed information about hotels.
- Foreign-Based Company: As Trip.com is Chinese-owned, the fact that it is based in China may be a concern for some individuals, considering the current political climate.
Trip.com Reviews Compared to Other Travel Websites
When compared to other travel booking websites such as Expedia, and Booking.com, Trip.com tends to fare better in terms of reviews on platforms like Trust Pilot and the Better Business Bureau. While it’s important to acknowledge that Trip.com’s review scores may be somewhat inflated due to various factors, it generally outperforms its competitors.
Here’s a comparison of Trust Pilot scores and BBB ratings:
|Website||Trust Pilot Score||BBB Rating|
|Trip.com||4.0 (40,000+ Reviews)||1.2|
|Booking.com||1.2 (44,000+ Reviews)||1.0|
|Expedia||1.1 (7400+ Reviews)||1.1|
Why go for Trip.com?
Is Trip.com Suitable for Booking US Airline Tickets?
Although Trip.com is primarily known for booking travel to China, it is also a great option for booking trips to and within the United States. In many cases, Trip.com offers the most affordable booking options, particularly for airline tickets.
Based on my personal experience, Trip.com consistently offers lower prices for airline tickets compared to other travel booking websites. Despite the seemingly “too good to be true” prices, I can assure you that there is nothing to fear, having booked numerous flights through Trip.com.
Is Trip.com Good for Booking Hotels in the US?
Regarding hotel bookings, Trip.com is comparable to other platforms like Expedia or Travelocity. However, in most cases, I find that Trip.com is not the cheapest option for booking Western hotels.
One notable benefit of Trip.com is the ability to earn “Trip Coins” when booking hotels. These coins are equivalent to approximately 5% of the hotel cost, providing a unique advantage compared to other websites. Therefore, if Trip.com and another site offer the same price for the same hotel, consider the additional 5% bonus offered by Trip.com.
Is Trip.com Suitable for Booking China Trains, Hotels, and Flights?
While Trip.com is suitable for booking trips within the United States, its real strength lies in facilitating travel to China. If you’re planning a trip to China, Trip.com will be your best friend due to its extensive selection of options.
Why is Trip.com particularly advantageous for booking Chinese travel?
First, it is one of the few English-friendly platforms for train bookings in China. Second, when it comes to airline tickets and hotel bookings, most Western websites have limited options for Chinese flights and hotels.
How to Book China Train Travel with Trip.com?
If you don’t mind paying a $5 to $10 booking fee, Trip.com is the ideal platform for booking train tickets in China.
Traveling by train in China is a fantastic experience, but booking train tickets can be challenging. While most Chinese people use WeChat for train bookings, this option is not available to foreigners.
While Western platforms like Booking.com and Priceline offer some Chinese hotels and airlines, they cannot match the variety available on Trip.com. It is worth mentioning that if a Chinese hotel is not listed on your favorite Western travel website, it is probably not recommended for first-time travelers to China, as Chinese hotel standards can differ significantly from Western standards.
Regarding airline tickets, Trip.com provides a broader range of flight options to China compared to Western travel booking websites. While Western sites include major Chinese airlines like China Southern and China Eastern, they may not cover the smaller Chinese carriers.
Foreigners have three alternatives for booking train tickets:
- Book at the train station: This method requires arriving at the station hours in advance, navigating the train schedule, and dealing with language barriers. The advantage is that there is no booking fee.
- Book through the official Chinese railway website, 12306.cn: Unfortunately, this option is not viable for foreigners as it does not accept foreign credit cards.
- Book through Trip.com: Enjoy the convenience of an extremely user-friendly website, easy-to-understand schedules, and smooth credit card transactions. The downside is that you’ll need to pay a $5 to $10 booking fee.
In conclusion, Trip.com is a legitimate and trustworthy website for booking travel within Western regions such as the United States, Canada, and Europe, as well as in China. Trip.com consistently offers below-average prices for airline tickets compared to other major travel booking websites. When it comes to booking trips within China, Trip.com is the top choice.
Have you tried booking on Trip.com? If so, we would love to hear about your experience. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.