Before travel, we research.
We engage in some old-school travel planning before each trip, not only do this because it gets us excited about leaving, but also to gain information.
Could you have guessed that?
These are the main resources we use to expand our knowledge about a destination and to plan our trip. We mostly return to the same websites for flights and accommodation reviews, but sometimes we bump into new and interesting websites. These are the main travel planning resources we recommend.
LGBT and lesbian travelers can also consult our lesbian travel resources!
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Travel Preparation – Inspiration
Before taking off on a new adventure, you might be doing the same things we do. First, we decide where to go. We use Pinterest to find a lot of travel planning inspiration. There’s a lot of information to be found on this platform and it’s a great travel resource for inspiration to wake up your travel bug. Check out our Pinterest profile!
Travel Preparation – Transportation
Leaving your home to a new destination is an exciting part of your trip. We enjoy the feeling of stepping into unknown lands and the excitement it brings. Getting there is also a necessary step in the process. I’m just guessing nobody really likes long-distance flights and airport formalities. We don’t. As budget travelers, we do think it’s important to find good deals on flights and other transportation. These are our transportation travel planning resources.
Hopper is a fairly new player on the market, but it’s an interesting one. Hopper calculates when to best book your flight. It predicts when the price for your flight will drop and alerts you when to book. Hopper is only available as a mobile app and it has gained a lot of popularity the last years.
If you plan on traveling to Europe, a train trip might the perfect solution for you. No need to rent a car and take the risk of driving in a foreign country when high-speed train networks connect all major cities on the continent.
Rail passes are available per country or for the entire continent. Did I already mention that Interrail has a great travel planning app for mobile? We wrote an article about how to travel Europe by train and we listed the most scenic train rides in Europe.
Travel Preparation – Accommodation
For some destinations, we book accommodation in advance. For other destinations, it can be exciting to just find a place to sleep once you get there. It all depends on the destination and the time of arrival of course. When we’re looking for accommodation, we tend to go back to the same websites over and over. Every now and then we find a new gem. This is our list of accommodation travel planning resources. Learn how we get better prices on accommodation!
TripAdvisor is the number one research tool for any traveler. This extensive database holds information on all types of accommodation, as well as activities and tours. Looking for inspiration on things to do in a certain destination? TripAdvisor has decent answers for you!
Hostelworld is a well-known platform to find lodging all over the world. Backpackers and other travelers alike, everyone loves Hostelworld. This lodging website is great for finding cheap dorm beds, as well as private rooms in hostels or other accommodation. Hostelworld is our main booking app when we’re backpacking and the platform is easy-to-use. Hostelworld also has a mobile app and you can connect to your account easily in order to track your bookings and reviews the places you stayed at.
Booking.com is one of the largest and most used accommodation booking platforms in the world. We use it and we’re obviously not the only ones. This platform has a web version and a great mobile app. If you’re lucky, you can find awesome deals and promotions on this website!
Trusted Housesitters is an online platform where homeowners can get in touch with travelers. Via this secure system, people can find pet sitters and house sitters while they take a break. We tried this type of travel and we loved it. It’s a great way of saving money on accommodation and take care of mostly cute pets. You can read our full guide about house sitting here!
The last few years Airbnb has grown from a small rental service to a worldwide accommodation matchmaker. We used Airbnb numerous times and have never been disappointed so far. Sleeping in local houses is also a great opportunity to blend in and see a destination in a different way. Prices vary greatly, but we always found budget-friendly rooms and apartments on our way. We recommend this website to everyone. By signing up through this link, you’ll receive Airbnb credit for your first trip. If you decide to sign up and book accommodation through our link, we also get some travel credit.
Couchsurfing is the ultimate way to discover a destination on a budget while being submerged into the culture completely. The most hosts will gladly make time to guide you through their hometown or area. This hospitality platform is known worldwide and has hosts all over the world. It is possible to find a couch or a spare room almost anywhere in the world for free. You are expected to show enough gratitude and respect for your host.
Travel Preparation – Travel Insurance
Whether you’re still deciding if you need travel insurance or not, you might want to check the advantages of a good medical and travel insurance. In some cases, your medical insurance at home will cover some of the expenses you might encounter. On the other hand, full-fledged travel insurance will cover almost anything that could possibly go wrong.
Travel insurance: simple & flexible. You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Travel Preparation – Banking
Unless you’re already earning flight miles with your US credit card, you’re probably looking for a better travel card. We were… after discovering how much money our bank earned for each ATM withdrawal processed abroad. I ended up researching all different types of travel cards. This one is our favorite!
We ended up using the N26 travel card for various reasons. Check this post to see the differences between N26 and the other card we tested. We use our travel card when we’re at home too and as a semi-nerd, I must admit that the N26 app is just splendid and convenient to use. Read our N26 review and learn about how to open an account.
Travel Preparation – Tours
We love traveling on our own, but every now and then we like to join a tour for certain destinations or activities. Tours can take away a lot of hassle and organizational trouble. At the same time, it takes away some of the feeling of being lost which is so memorable. Due to cultural differences or language barriers, many people choose to take a tour with a trustworthy organization. We’ve tried a few and these are the ones we like best.
G Adventures has been around for a while and gets a lot of positive feedback. We toured China with them and were very satisfied. The tour groups are small and this is really a better way to explore than with a large group. Our guide was wonderful too. We booked a very cheap (discounted) tour with them and everything was taken care of last minute. Their help desk is great as well. Even if you’re not planning a tour, their website is still a great travel resource to find inspiration for self-guided tours. They usually have a few great promotions on last-minute listings. Find travel deals here!
Intrepid is another popular and cool travel agency offering tours for different budgets and styles. I traveled with Intrepid in Central America and was very happy with their tour and guide!
Travel Preparation Done Right!
We learned the hard way that travel preparation can make or break parts of your vacation. Sometimes it even impacts your entire holiday.
These are just a few of the resources we use when planning our vacation. Keep your eyes on this website to get more valuable information on how to plan your holiday. And more important: the things you need to take into account to guarantee an awesome trip and journey!
Let us know which tools you use before heading off on a holiday and which websites are most valuable to you for planning a trip!
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