There are soooo many booking platforms and services out there. It can be really confusing knowing which ones will save you money versus rip you off.
I’ve done the research for you through my own travels, and some resources have most definitely come out on top!
These are all the travel resources I personally use, through every stage of the travel booking process (I’ve even included my fave blogging tools at the bottom).
Some of the links on this page (but not all!) are affiliate links. This means if you click a link and make a purchase, I may make a commission, at no extra cost to you.
Or head to my travel shop to see my fave travel products!
After travel planning, the first things I always book are my flights. Rumor is that eight weeks prior to departure is the cheapest time to book – I’ve found this is generally true.
Skyscanner is my go-to tool for finding super cheap flights. I ALWAYS use Skyscanner when searching flights. It’s how I find $200 roundtrip flights to London!
You don’t book your flight through Skyscanner – it’s a search tool that looks at hundreds of airlines and finds the best route.
I recommend using Skyscanner in an incognito browser, and also using their ‘everywhere’ search function.
After you book flights, buy your travel insurance – it’s a must-have that will save you in case of canceled flights, lost luggage, sickness, and so much more. It’s important to do this now because some insurance policies won’t cover you if you’ve already left on your trip.
I’m not 100% loyal to a specific travel insurance company because each trip is different, and will need different levels of coverage.
I do, however, recommend using Insure My Trip to search for the best price and best coverage for your specific trip.
World Nomads is the one travel insurance brand I go out of my way to recommend.
It is hands down the best insurance plan for adventure travel (I used it when I trekked in Nepal). World Nomads is also one of the only insurance companies that lets you purchase a plan after you’ve already left for your trip
My next step is usually to book accommodation. Hotels can sometimes be an expensive option, but I still love them! That’s why I use these three booking platforms to find the best prices.
I’ve used Booking.com to book hotels countless times over the years. It is my top recommended hotel booking platform.
You’ll find incredibly good rates, tons of details on amenities, and the best cancellation policies out there – like free last minute cancellation, or paying when you arrive.
VRBO is an alternative to Airbnb that has actually been around a lot longer! Like Airbnb, VRBO is a home rental platform, but the difference is it only offers entire home rentals (not rooms).
You can definitely find some gems on here that aren’t available on other platforms. I also like that they make the cleaning fee more obvious than Airbnb, so you know what you’re getting into!
Hostelworld is the ultimate booking and search platform for hostels. I’ve used it many, many times.
I’m a big user of hostels and love bucking the stereotypes around them.
There are so many boutique hostels out there, and many offer great community events, dinners, and tours. PLUS – hostels are undoubtedly the cheapest accommodation option of all!
If your trip has multiple destinations, it’s important to consider how you’ll actually get from one place to the next! Of course, this will depend on where you’re traveling, but here are some of the reliable resources I trust.
Rentalcars.com is the world’s largest search engine for car rentals. It’s always my first step when looking for a rental car.
They cover 53,000 destinations and search companies like Enterprise, Hertz, Alamo, Budget, and more, to find you the best price for your trip!
Cruises are a great way to combine your transport and accommodation in one!
Cruise Direct is the absolute best search platform when it comes to finding the best cruise for you. I’ve used it in the past and highly recommend it!
Trainline is the #1 resource for booking train travel in the UK.
I love the UK train system. There are lots of different regional train companies and the Trainline app or website lets you search these and buy tickets.
Your ticket, reference number, and live train time updates are all available in the app.
12Go Asia is a good tool for booking transport throughout many Southeast Asian countries.
It covers train, bus, ferry, flight, and even taxi transport in countries like Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and many others.
At this point (if you haven’t already) you should start looking into what you’ll actually do at your destination. Be sure to book tours or events ahead of time, as these often sell out and timings might determine your itinerary.
Viator is a really useful resource for booking tours – including day tours, overnight tours, and unique experiences.
It is the biggest tour booking platform on the market, so you will find tons of options around the world.
Viator is also a Tripadvisor brand, meaning it’s got that same reliability and millions of honest customer reviews.
Get Your Guide is another booking platform for tours. Honestly, it is very similar to Viator but the company is much smaller.
This means that while there are less tour operators available on Get Your Guide, they are also more thoroughly vetted and I’ve found this sometimes leads to a more authentic experience.
I usually search both platforms, and if a tour is available on both, I will book through Get Your Guide.
Saving, spending, transferring, splitting, and multiple currencies… managing your money before and during travel can be really overwhelming! These are some of the tools I personally use to manage my travel money.
I LOVE Transferwise and am one of their OG customers since 2012.
TransferWise is without a doubt the best, easiest, and cheapest way to transfer money abroad. It is 8x cheaper to use than transferring money with your bank.
I used TransferWise a lot when I lived abroad, and I still use Transferwise to pay (or get paid) in other currencies, and when I travel.
Don’t sleep on travel credit cards!
I’m not a big spender, but through travel credit card starting offers and reward points, I’ve been able to score free flights around the world (I’ve flown to London round trip for 1 cent, and roundtrip to Seattle for free!).
The Bank of America Travel Rewards card has no annual fee and is a great starter card.
Tricount is a free app that makes it really easy to record and track expenses between multiple people.
I use it when I travel with Dan or friends, and it makes it so simple to split costs.
Just input who bought what (and in what currency) into Tricount, and the balance is automatically generated.
Mint is a free budgeting app that I’ve been using for years.
I use it to monitor my spending categories, set budgets, and create achievable savings goals.
With Mint, I was able to save $20,000+ for long term travel. I highly recommend it!
Gluten Free Travel
Gluten free travel takes a little extra planning, and these tools help with that. You can also visit my gluten free travel shop or my gluten free travel page for more information and resources.
Select Wisely offers gluten free translation cards in 69 languages. They also have vegetarian, nut, dairy, shellfish, and other allergy cards.
If a language isn’t available through Legal Nomads, I always get my card from Select Wisely. You can read more about why I like these cards here.
Visit my gluten free travel shop to browse all the products I personally use to make gluten free travel easier!
You’ll find everything from the best portable tupperware to toaster packets (my secret weapon!), and more.
Navigation + Staying Connected
I have zero sense of direction, so, as I’ve learned over the years, having navigation tools and apps is really important! One game changer for me was investing in a portable wifi device, but there are also some great offline map options.
Tep Wireless is honestly my savior when I travel. It’s a small device that gives you portable wifi pretty much anywhere in the world! I’ve used my Teppy device to access the internet in India, Sri Lanka, and Canada – which has helped me navigate on road trips, find gluten free restaurants, stay in touch with family, meet work deadlines, and more.
You can read my full review of Tep Wireless here or purchase your own below.
My favorite app for navigation when I’m traveling is Google Maps.
Not only is it reliable and accurate, but Google Maps has sooo many features that make it ideal for travelers.
My favorite feature is Google My Maps, where you can create your own maps with specific destinations marked (like your hotel, restaurants you want to visit, etc.) and use offline.
Maps.Me is a free app dedicated to 100% offline maps. It’s a must-have if you’re traveling without the Teppy device or any other wifi or cell data.
With Maps.Me you have to download a map to your specific destination while you have wifi. Once it’s downloaded, you can use it freely on the go!
I’ve used Maps.Me since 2012 and it’s only gotten better. I highly recommend it!
You’re almost ready to leave on your trip! The last step is to pack your bags (the night before, if you’re like me – whoops!).
I’m a packing cube convert and let me tell you… packing will never be the same again.
These are the exact packing cubes I use, which I’ve found to be both affordable and durable.
I first used packing cubes when trekking in Nepal, and now I always use them when I’m traveling longer term, to multiple climates, or on pretty much any international trip.
My other packing secret weapon? A filter water bottle.
I’ve used both the GRAYL filter bottle and the Berkey Sport filter bottle. I like both. The Berkey is more affordable but the GRAYL is better quality.
Not only does a filter bottle make it more convenient and safe to drink tap water abroad, but it’s also great for the environment as it means less disposable plastic bottles!
Visit my travel shop, where you can see all my hand picked, favorite products that I take traveling!
This includes my recommended luggage, travel clothes, my exact camera and electronics picks, and so much more.
I also have a page dedicated to packing lists for destinations around the world – because every trip is different!
That sums up the resources I use for travel booking, but what if you’re like me and travel so much you turn into a travel blogger? Here are some of my favorite travel blogging tools I recommend investing in!
Keysearch was one of the first blogging tools I ever invested in, and for years it has remained one of my essential expenses!
With Keysearch, I’m able to find keywords I can rank for on search engines. Ranking on search engines helps me drive traffic to my blog.
Without Keysearch, it was hit-or-miss whether I’d rank, and now I do for almost every post!
Canva is a super user friendly graphic design tool that I use to create all the Pinterest images and graphics on my blog.
I used the free version online for years, but now I definitely recommend upgrading to Canva Pro.
This lets you use your brand fonts and colors, and generally sets you apart while still being incredibly easy to use.
Six Figure Travel Writing Roadmap, a book by Gabi Logan (who I met at the Women in Travel Summit), has been really instrumental in my freelance travel writing development.
Breaking into travel writing can feel impossible and obscure. Reading this book was the first step in my own journey to uncovering the secrets of my dream profession!
The Dream Of Writing pitching database, also designed by Gabi Logan, is an incredibly useful tool for anyone who wants to get into travel writing.
It’s basically a huge database of high paying magazines, that lists rates, sections, and contact emails for editors.
This was a key tool in my journey to breaking into travel writing! I highly recommend subscribing for at least a month.
I use the Canon EOS M6 camera for all my travel photography, blogging, and campaign shooting needs.
I did SO much research before deciding on this camera. As a mirrorless camera, it has all the power and precision of a DSLR, but is SO lightweight.
I trekked through the Himalayas with this camera around my neck and it wasn’t even a nuisance. It fits perfectly into bags and purses and takes incredible photos on manual or auto!
Travel Blog Prosperity is a FABULOUS all-in-one travel blogging course by Jessie Festa.
Unlike other blogging courses that just cover the basics (AKA information you can find for free online), this course goes above and beyond, spilling all of Jessie’s secrets from years as a professional blogger.
It’s appropriate for beginner bloggers, but more geared toward mid experience or advanced bloggers. After 5 years of blogging I still found it SO useful – especially the Facebook and mastermind groups.
I highly recommend the Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers course by Amanda Williams, the blogger behind the successful blog A Dangerous Business.
Even as an experienced blogger, I found this course really useful and I took away some very actionable advice.
For the price I think it’s good value for money and can make a big difference in your earning potential!
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