Another day, yet another new travel booking site.
But hold up.
Before you dismiss Escape (https://greatescape.co) as just another Kayak ripoff, I recommend you give it a shot.
What Makes Escape So Awesome?
First of all, Escape is simple: Go to the homepage, and all you see are two options—your origin city and dates of travel.
No upselling. No brilliant colors. No BS.
Secondly, Escape is perfect for budget travelers: Its goal is simple—to help you find the cheapest destinations to travel to from any given city.
It’s way better than just picking a particular city and tweaking dates endlessly with your fingers crossed (at least for budget travelers).
AND… sort by rain, snow, and temperature!
Oh, and for travel junkies like myself even sort by visa requirements!!!
Brought to you by researchers at MIT (who previously brought us the link between cancer and genetics and lithium-ion batteries), Escape is destined for great things.
On their about page, they describe themselves thusly: “Escape is an inspirational flight search engine that helps you choose a destination and find the cheapest flight for your next vacation. It is developed by the MIT Senseable City Laboratory, Singapore.”
How to Use Escape Travel Booking Engine:
Though simple in design, Escape is a powerful tool. I mean, it comes from the minds of MIT researchers, remember?
So, here’s a step-by-step guide to delving into Escape:
1. Go to the Escape Homepage
Go to (https://greatescape.co). Here’s what it looks like:
2. Add an Origin City and Dates
Just choose your origin city and dates (either roundtrip or one way).
As of the time of this writing, you can only choose exact dates, not the common +/-3 days thingie common on other booking engines. Also, right now, it seems you can only type in a city name or abbreviation, rather than the specific airport or its IATA code. (I tried for JFK airport.)
Oh, and one more neat feature on this page—public holidays and weekends are marked in yellow, making it really easy to plan long, spur-of-the-moment weekends.
The calendar even comes (at least for me, what I noticed) pre-set with the next long holiday weekend already entered!
Now click “search.”
3. Sort and Filter
This is where things get interesting. Here’s your search results page:
Instead of a list like other travel booking sites, Escape’s search results are centered around a map with flight lines.
You’ll see one price per continent, at first. However, just click on that price, and things drill down to the continent level, country level, and then to the city level.
All your sorting and filtering options are located all around the central map:
Top left: Sort by budget, direct or indirect flights, visa requirements, popularity, and weather.
Top right: Set your currency preferences and number of passengers traveling.
Bottom left: Sort by price range and region.
Top center: Reset your dates and origin city, or you can jump straight into setting a specific destination city.
4. Pick a Flight
Once you’ve pressed all the buttons appropriate to your specifications, you get to the next screen, which looks like this:
As you can see, you do get the list of flights you’re familiar with, which you can sort by price, time of departure/arrival, flight duration, and layovers.
On the left, you get a host of other neat features: the estimated weather range for your dates of travel, its popularity level, the categories of attractions you can expect to find, a map of nearby destinations, and even a photo gallery to get you further excited.
Now, just click the flight which interests you, and a modal window pops up with dozens of booking sites to click through to in order to book that specific flight.
Final Thoughts on the Escape Travel Booking Tool
Escape is rather new right now, but if I ever had unlimited resources and could create a flight booking site, this is exactly how it would work.
Escape is incredibly robust and impressive, and though it still has a few bugs to work out, I’m sure they will resolve them quickly.
I’ll be using Escape for my next trip, and I’ll post an update soon.