TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES
Here are some of the key travel resources I use and trust for researching and planning trips, including flights, accommodation, tours, insurance and guide books. I may earn a commission from any product or service purchased through these links, at no extra cost to you. I only link to products I use and love, therefore feel comfortable recommending.
Google Flights is where I do most of my flight schedule and airfare research. My favourite features are the fare alert system which allows you to set a price tracker on flights you’re interested in, and the airline alliances filter for those trying to earn status or spend miles.
Google Flights does not index all carriers. Several budget carriers such as Southwest Airlines opt-out of third-party aggregator websites. So remember to check directly with low-cost airline websites separately.
Another flight aggregator to have in your arsenal of travel planning resources is Kayak. They have a cool tool that can help you decide where to go, when you are overwhelmed with options. Kayak Explore lets you put in basic parameters like dates, flight budget, flight time and type of trip – in turn it will provide destination options that fit your criteria.
Tripadvisor is my go-to when searching for hotel accommodation, I like their advanced filters and map functionality. I generally make the final booking direct with the hotel website.
National Car Rental
National Car Rental is generally our go-to for renting a car, mostly because a work trip got us to Executive status – since then, the prices have been difficult to beat. However, if you are unlikely to rent enough to achieve or maintain status, compare other rental car companies.
Generally, I don’t find any benefit from booking with third-party providers, but occasionally, just occasionally, I’ve found an unbeatable deal on Booking.com. It’s always worth checking!
Quite simply, no one does it like Lonely Planet – their guidebooks are still the best IMHO. Yes, they might seem expensive but remember you can often borrow one from your local library or maybe even a friend has a copy they are willing to lend.
Travel insurance is an absolute must! I use Seven Corners because of their great-value annual plan with hazardous sports add-on since we like to ride bikes down volcanoes and other adventurous stuff!
Priority Pass gives you access to a network of airline lounges worldwide, independent of the usual airline rewards programs. Some credit cards offer a bonus Priority Pass, which is how we got on board. If you don’t have airline status, Priority Pass can be a real saviour on those long layovers by getting you airline lounge access worldwide.
Smart Destinations Multi-Attraction Passes
Save some money on entry fees to top sightseeing locations and attractions with a multi-attraction pass. Smart Destinations is another company offering multi-attraction passes to save you some dosh on top attractions.
Big Bus Tours
When you’re pushed for time in a destination hop-on, hop-off bus tours help you see a lot in a small amount of time. They’re also a great way to get orientated in a new place before you go out exploring independently.
City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tours
City Sightseeing is an alternative to Big Bus Tours, also providing a hop-on, hop-off service in destinations around the world.
If you’re not using Uber yet, you are missing out. I am turning to it more and more often, whether it’s to get around a new city or as airport transfers (they are great for avoiding astronomical airport parking fees).
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