How to Make a Website like Expedia

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Ben Sibley

“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”

Travel is one of the world’s biggest industries.

In fact, global travel revenues in 2016 were in excess of one trillion dollars.

And this industry keeps growing every year!

So how can you take advantage of this market and capture a piece of the pie?

Create your own travel site

There is still plenty of room to compete with a new website, but you need a hook.

You need some sort of distinction between your site and major players like TripAdvisor and Expedia.

As long as you’ve got that and a solid marketing plan, you stand a fighting chance at building a profitable small business.

But I know why you’re here right now – you want to learn how to build the site!

So that’s what I’ll help you with 🙂

In this tutorial, you’ll find the tools you need to create a travel booking site on your own. It will work flawlessly and look amazing. And you won’t have to hire any expensive developers. In fact, the whole site is only going to cost around $150 to complete.

And one more thing…

The site will have a complete booking system for selling your own tours or you can simply operate as an affiliate and fill your site with existing tours, hotels, and car rentals and get paid for the traffic you deliver.

Sound good?

Here’s a sneak peek at the site before we get to step #1 of creating your site.

Sneak peek

I know the design is the most exciting part of making the website, so here’s a quick look at the site you’ll make:

Traveler theme like Expedia
This is the Traveler WordPress theme

You can switch out the images, menu items, logo – everything. Here are a few more images from different pages and designs available with Traveler.

Traveler Tour
Tour page
Traveler Sidebar Search
Tour search page
Traveler Map
Google Maps homepage
Traveler Search
Advanced search homepage

Excited now??

As you can see, you’ll have a ton of freedom to style and brand your site, but it’s not time to worry about the design yet!

Let’s get to the first step now.

Steps to create a site like Expedia

There’s no need to complicate things. To create your site, you just need to follow these five basic steps:

  1. Get a domain name
  2. Signup for hosting
  3. Pick a WordPress theme
  4. Brand your site
  5. Add starter content

After you’ve completed the five steps, you’ll be ready to show your site to your beta users or first visitors. Then it’s simply a matter of growing the traffic and publishing new trips and content.

The first step is to register an available domain name.

Get a domain name

Domain names are simply the addresses entered into your browser’s address bar to visit a website.

Visual representation of a domain name's components

The “.com” ending is called the top-level domain (TLD) and we normally refer to the domain and TLD together as the domain name. For instance, this website’s domain name is

As you likely know already, the web is a very competitive place. So you may not be surprised to learn that finding available domain names can be extremely challenging.

I’ve been doing this a while and have come up with some handy tips for finding gems that are still available for registration, and you can find all of my tips in this domain guide.

Domain Name Post

Follow along with that guide and you’ll be able to find the perfect domain name for just $10 instead of paying thousands.

But don’t purchase the domain just yet! You can get it for free if you follow this next step first.

Signup for hosting

Hosting is one of the major costs of running a website, but it’s a necessary expense.

To get started, I recommend picking a relatively affordable host. Nexcess is affordable while providing reliable and fast hosting.

Nexcess WordPress Hosting

Nexcess is great for new WP users because they auto-create the site for you and offer lots of handy services with their hosting.

For example, they’ll automatically backup your site every day and update your plugins for you. And since their hosting is fast and capable of handling more dynamic websites like a travel directory, you won’t have to switch hosts once your site gets a lot of traffic.

Pick a WordPress theme

Once you have your WordPress site online, it’s time to pick a theme.

The theme you choose will completely change the design of the site, and oftentimes, it will also add lots of useful functionality.

To build a site like Expedia, I recommend the Traveler theme, which adds all the tools you need in addition to providing a gorgeous style.

Traveler theme like Expedia

Traveler is an extremely comprehensive travel theme. You can publish hotels, activities, tours, car rentals, and flights. Traveler has beautiful templates for each and a complete search engine with sorting and filtering options.

When it comes to monetizing your site, there are tons of options. You can sell services yourself with WooCommerce or a payment gateway like PayPal or Stripe. You can charge a membership fee to use your site, or you can list services from other vendors like Expedia and and get paid for your referrals.

Traveler has over 5,000+ sales and hundreds of positive reviews. It’s a dependable and impressive choice for anyone making their own website like Expedia.

Alternatives to Traveler

While Traveler is my top recommendation, there are quite a few WordPress themes that you can use to create a site like Expedia.

Check out our collection of the top travel agency WordPress themes for some more inspiration.

Travel Agency WordPress Theme

Brand your site

With a travel booking theme installed on your live WordPress site, you have all the tech you need.

Now it’s just time to customize the site.

There are some basic settings built into WordPress that you should work your way through to get started.

Our guide on basic WordPress customization is a great place to begin.

Beginner WordPress Customization

Then you can work your way through your theme’s options panel to change the colors and logo.

You can take things even further by adding a page builder to your site if you want additional control over the templates on your site.

Next, you’ll need to add some foundational content so that your first visitors will understand what your site is all about.

Add starter content

There are some foundational pages you need to get your website ready for traffic.

Our guide on creating your first WordPress site covers tips for creating essential pages like the About and Contact pages.

Since you’re making a travel booking site, you’ll need to get some offers published as well. This is especially easy for affiliates you can simply publish deals sourced from third-party sites.

Once you have your site fully branded and some live offers to promote, you’re ready to launch.

Add analytics for your launch

Before you launch your site, it’s a good idea to add analytics. This way, you can see how many people showed up for your launch and every day after that.

The Independent Analytics plugin makes it easy to add analytics to WordPress.

Analytics dashboard

You can install it from your Plugins > Add New menu, and tracking will start right away. There’s no tracking script to copy, and you don’t have to create an account anywhere to use it.

Launch your site!

When making a complex site like Expedia, you need a ton of functionality.

Luckily, the WordPress platform is so popular that you can find cheap pre-made tools with everything you need.

To review once more, you can create your site with these steps:

  1. Get a domain name
  2. Signup for hosting (Nexcess)
  3. Pick a WordPress theme (Traveler)
  4. Brand your site
  5. Add starter content

Once you’re done preparing the site, you can focus on growing your traffic and improving your profitability.

The initial setup might seem intimidating, but it only needs to be done once!

If you have any questions still about how to create a website like Expedia, don’t hesitate to post a comment below.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley
This article was written by Ben Sibley. He is a WordPress theme designer & developer, and founder of Compete Themes.