Essential Trip Planning Resources
The following are my top travel resources and I'm excited to share them with you! I rarely plan a trip without using all of them. I hope you find them as helpful as I have!
I discovered Rome2rio while planning our 2-week honeymoon to Thailand and now I use it for every trip I go on! I'm seriously obsessed! It is a website that shows you all of the possible ways to travel between 2 destinations. It shows you routes by: car, taxi, shuttles, boat, planes, trains, etc. and an estimate of what each method of travel will cost. The website will also connect you to the websites you will need to coordinate the travel. This is how we booked our boats and domestic flights in Thailand. I highly recommend it!
I know that pretty much everyone knows about Tripadvisor but I love this website. They also offer an app. I like to research things to do, restaurants, hotels, etc. You can save what you find to your favorite and go back to them when you start your trip. I use the website to plan and the app when I am actually traveling.
This website, that is also offered as an app, was recommended to me by a friend when I was researching for our honeymoon to Thailand. It is similar to Kayak or Expedia, but it offers a broader search in concern to domestic and international airlines. This is how we found all of our domestic flights within Thailand. You can search roundtrip, one ways, or multiple destinations. I usually search the flights and then book them from directly from the airline’s website. They also offer a calendar with prices if you are flexible on dates. That way you can find the cheapest days to fly.
This is a great site to use when I am looking to go on a trip but may not have a specific destination in mind. I love to use the “explore destinations” feature. You enter your origin airport and it will show you all of the prices for flights to various destinations throughout the world. This is perfect for a spontaneous trip or traveler!
We used this when we received free flights from United. We had a budget of $400 per person so I entered our price range and it showed me all the places we could fly for less than $400. It also shows you a calendar with the different prices based on days. If you are not set on specific days, you can use the calendar to find the days with the lowest prices.
I started using this website when booking our honeymoon. I use it because it their membership offers you 1 free night for every 10 nights you book. We earned 14 nights on our honeymoon, so we were able to book a free night for my birthday getaway that year. I have found great hotels through this site and have never spent more than $100 on a night’s stay.
Airbnb is probably a website you have heard about by now. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it! If you click this link, you will receive $40 off your first stay! My husband and I often use Airbnb when we want to cook meals on vacation, or when we are traveling with other people (its usually cheaper to do a hotel with 2 people.) We prefer to rent an entire property for privacy, but you can also rent just a room within someone's house. People will host their accommodations - with photos, house rules (pets, smoking, etc.), rates, and a calendar with availability. You can rent all kind of properties - from downtown lofts to tipis!
While I typically use Airbnb to book lodging, they also have added "experiences" and "places" to their website. The experiences are similar to the lodging, but with a service being offered vs. a place to stay. A person will offer an experience (anything from beer tours to sailing lessons) that you can add on to your vacation. The places are basically guides or lists related to where you are staying. Here you will find anything from a guide of local cocktail bars to kids activities.
Lonely Planet may be known for their amazing travel guidebooks, but they have a great website as well! You could spend hours on the website and barely scratch the surface. They have travel information on places all over the world, even Antarctica! You can also search by interest (beaches, budget, luxury travel, etc.) if you have a certain type of trip in mind.
Another great aspect of the website is their booking section. You can book hotels, flights, sightseeing tours, adventure tours, cars, and even travel insurance! There is a reason why they are such a well known name in travel!
Hostelworld is exactly what it sounds like, a website to reserve hostel accommodations. Hostels are a great way to save money and meet people while traveling. Most have dorm style lodging but some offer private rooms as well. I have stayed in both types while traveling, it just depends on your privacy preferences! The hostels often offer shared kitchens that guests can use, WIFI, bike rentals, and other amenities. They are known for being very affordable, sometimes only a few dollars per night's stay. Don't forget to consider hostels next time you travel!