Ready to plan your trip? See the compilation of our favorite travel resources and recommended travel companies to get started.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. At no cost to you, I receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking one of the links. I have personally used the companies listed or plan to do so after having met with representatives in personal at travel trade shows.
I first started using Hostelworld.com on my first solo trip in the early 2000’s. If you are looking for budget, independent, and youth accommodations and their all-important reviews, Hostelworld has got you covered. In fact, it’s the largest provider of hostel reservations worldwide.
Couchsurfing is a platform that allows users to stay on host’s couches or guest rooms for free. This is a fun platform for travelers looking to save money and connect with locals. As with all sharing-economy platforms, please use good judgement before booking. Even if you don’t want to stay on someone’s couch, this travel resource is a great place to find locals to meet for coffee to learn more about each other’s cultures.
My absolute favorite booking engine for accommodation is Booking.com. It’s easy to search and sort by your interests such as cost or distance to center. Each property listing is intricately detailed with key details such as room size, breakfast options, and cancellation policies. Booking.com activity seeks and compiles reviews which can also be filtered be keywords. Upon sign up (free), all your trips are kept organized.
Google flights allows users to choose their departures and see a flight options all around the world. Thus, it’s my favorite place to start my airfare search as I can easily see what works within my budget or time-frame. However, it doesn’t show all airlines, and flight prices are not always up-to-date. Head to the airline’s main website to book directly.
The most trusted travel site search in the world, Skyscanner often shows budget airlines that some of the larger search engines don’t show. I used this search engine almost exclusively living in Europe to find and compare cheap flights. Their innovative platform allows for great comparison capabilities.
Book with confidence on Momondo by Booking.com. With multiple search options and the ability to searches and compares over 700 providers, Momondo leaves no stone uncovered in terms of technology (yet is easy to use). You can also search by calendar, follow price trends and set up flight alerts to attain the best price.
We have used Allianz for years. They have various affordable options for single trips as well as annual memberships for frequent travelers. Available benefits include trip cancellation, lost luggage, medical emergencies, and more.
Many adventure travelers (under age 70) love World Nomads because of the medical coverage. If you’re planning and active and adventure trip (think hiking, scuba, or sports), you can choose a plan that covers these activities should you injure yourself. See more on World Nomads on our dedicated page.
Compare travel insurance plans at InsureMyTrip. Plans are easily searched by five main topics: comprehensive, travel health insurance, emergency evacuation, Schengen visa, and accidental death. Best yet, InsureMyTrip’s customer service is off-the-charts, ready and willing to help you make the best choice for your trip.
Travel Credit Cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The gold standard in travel credit cards, Chase Sapphire preferred helps you to rack up points through 2x dining and travel. With a $95 annual fee, this may be best for those who travel regularly. There are a lot of options to earn bonus points, and points quickly transfer 1-1 to your preferred airline partner. I earned several free flights when I used this card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Not a travel card per-say, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been a great choice for cashback that can be saved for travel expenses. This free card allows users to gain 1.5% on EVERYTHING. Easily redeem points for gift cards to purchase travel gear.
Costco Credit Card
If you’re paying a Costco membership, why not get the Costco Citi card? There are no foreign transaction fees bad 3% cash back on travel and dining, which makes it great for travel. It’s easy to rack up cash back to put towards travel, making this card a great travel resource. The only downside of the Costco card is that you can only redeem your cash once a year.
G Adventures offers small group camaraderie and the opportunity to get to know unknown sites and friendly locals. They offer various trip styles including age-specific groups and local living experiences. G Adventures is also dedicated to responsible travel and promises unforgettable travel that moves its travelers emotionally.
Intrepid is an industry expert in small group adventure travel. Solo or couples in search of once in a lifetime experiences to exotic destinations, look no further. Even better, Intrepid is committed to responsible business practices and investing in local communities. City tours with local guides are also available through Intrepid’s Urban Adventures.
Insight Vacations goes out of their way to create authentic, local experiences for their small group tours. Travel comfortably and in style on luxury coaches with plenty of leg room before resting in hand-picked accommodations. With your small group, dine on fresh, local cuisines, creating unforgettable memories.
If you prefer a professional to handle all the logistical details for you, Globus is a leader in escorted tours. With several trip styles to choose from under the Globus Family of Brands, many may find an escorted tour to suit their interests, budget, and travel style. Check out any of Globus vacations in 73 countries to decide what works for you.
MSC is the fastest growing cruise line in the world. MSC’s young fleet of European-designed cruise ships offer clean and modern accommodations. MSC offers the best bang for your buck with cabins starting from just a few hundred dollars for a week. Relax in the Caribbean or hop around Europe. Drink packages are usually included, and kids sail free.
Uncruise is just what it sounds like. Hope on one of Uncruise’s exploration vessels for an adventure cruise to a remote and scenic destinations. Various adventure and active activities are available such as kayaking, beachcombing, and whale watching.
Rivercruising through Europe sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Choose an itinerary and slowly float from town to town, picking your favorite excursion each day. Ama is pioneering active travel excursions such as biking and walks. Experience luxury at a great value.
Don’t want to book yourself? Let a travel agent do the work for you. In business for over 30 years, Dan specializes in Europe, Turkey, and China travel and cruises worldwide. He also runs bucket list tours with his noteworthy solar eclipse tours. Full disclosure: Dan is my dad.
Travel Leaders Network
The world’s largest consortium of travel advisers, head over to travel leaders network to find a travel adviser that specializes in your dream destination.
Rail Europe offers rail passes and train tickets on over 50 European train companies. If you’re planning to backpack throughout Europe or in a specific region, you may want to consider a rail pass. Rail Europe also make planning easy by providing all the information you need ahead of time.
Trainline allows you to book in 45 countries and then keep your digital tickets in their APP. Search and compare train and bus tickets for hundreds of distributors. This is one of my favorite travel resources as I’ve had good luck mixing bus and train travel on Trainline, as it shows combined options that some of the other search engines miss.
Rome2Rio shows extensive transportation options for trip planning in 15 countries in Europe, Canada, and the United States. What makes Rome2Rio unique is they including plane, train, bus, ferry, and car directions. This a great site for trip planning as you can quickly compare these options, helping you to decide between a flight or a train, for example.
Bla Bla Car
Share a ride with a new friend by pitching in for gas. Train and bus schedules don’t always fit our timetable, budget, or destination. Use the Bla Bla Car APP to create a profile before finding a carpool headed to your (perhaps) obscure destination. Save time, money, connect socially, and do your part to reduce your carbon footprint.
Let’s face it. REI has everything you need for your next trip: travel gear, expert advice, and a stellar return policy. Check your local REI for a comfortable new day pack, quick dry clothing, and your new favorite hiking sandals. REI associates are knowledgeable and committed to helping you chose the right gear, making investments that will last you for years.
Take the guesswork out with T-Mobile’s plans, which now include international data at no extra charge. When others are fretting over buying a SIM card, I’m smiling away because I can use T-Mobile data in countries world-wide. T-Mobile greets you with a text reminder upon arrival in in-country for reassurance. Emergency? Calls are affordable as well or can be made via T-Mobile WiFi-calling.
I highly recommend the The Business of Travel Blogging from Nomadic Matt if you’re interested in starting your own travel blog. Matt freely shares his knowledge, and his entire team is ready and willing to support start your blog (or take it to the next level). See my full blogging course review.
Sign up for domain hosting with Bluehost. Having never created a website before, I can say Bluehost makes the process straightforward with no gimmicks. Their customer service is some of the best I’ve ever come across. Integrates perfectly with WordPress.
Convertkit is made for content creators. Start with their free or upgraded version to start creating your newsletter email list. Easily create forms, schedule newsletters, and access customer service as needed. Convert offers free education to help you grow your email list; beginners welcome.