Here’s my tried and trusted list of travel resources I actually use every time I travel.
Everyone who has ever travelled independently knows the value of good travel resources for planning a trip. You want to be sure that you get the right information and preferably all in the same place, so it’s important to know where to look. Whether you’re already a seasoned traveller or just starting out, I hope my list of the travel websites I use will help you out and maybe give you some new ideas for where to look.
Getting to your destination
- Skyscanner: best search website for finding flights. It compares flight prices for all airlines and finds the best deals. It also lets you search with “everywhere” or a whole country as a destination if you’re just looking for cheap flight options, as well as search for flights within the whole month if your dates are flexible. In my experience, it actually includes all the airlines, even the small local ones, so it’s always the only place I look, but Momondo is also pretty good.
- RentalCars.com: search website for car rentals allover the world, although it’s good to find local rent a car websites for more obscure destinations.
- Omio: search website for trains around the world, but it’s always best to check the local websites for the best deals.
- Trainline: another search website for buses and trains in Europe (particularly in the UK), but doesn’t cover all the countries yet.
- Hitchwiki: a collaborative travel resource with information about hitchhiking and cheap transport options around the world. Since the information is randomly contributed by travellers you should double check it to make sure it’s valid though.
- You can also check out my ultimate guide to getting around Europe containing a list of all local train websites, buses, budget airlines, ridesharing and everything you need to plan your trip anywhere in Europe.
- Booking.com: best search website for finding accommodation. It has a huge number of properties listed (hotels, hostels, homestays etc.), doesn’t charge booking fees and lets you cancel your booking for free before a certain date. It also has a solid reward system, so you get discounts if you book with them a lot and later on they also give you a referral link through which your friends can book and you both get some money back. Here’s my link if you want to use it and get a discount.
- Hostelworld: a search website focused entirely on hostels. They charge some money upfront and tend to screw the hostel owners a bit, so I don’t normally use it unless there’s no other choice.
- Homestay: a website focused on homestays, i.e. staying with locals in their spare room that they’re renting out. Similar concept to Airbnb, but I personally dislike and boycott Airbnb, because the company refuses to acknowledge its role in overtourism and the housing crisis in many cities. It started off as an authentic way to stay with a local and bring them some extra income, but eventually landlords realised that their properties make more money as vacation rentals for tourists than long-term rentals for the locals, which raised the housing prices into the sky. In certain cities the locals have been completely driven out of the city centre and we’re also feeling the effects of that in Ljubljana. In some countries there are now laws about Airbnb rentals, but the company refuses to delete the illegal listings or interfere at all and it’s also impacting the customer experience – more on that here.
- Couchsurfing: an online community which helps you connect with locals so you can stay on their couch for free. It’s my favourite way of travelling, because you can make real connections with your hosts and I’ve actually stayed in touch with most of mine. You can check out my guide to couchsurfing to get started.
Ideas and information on where to go
When I’m planning a trip I usually use Google to find local websites and information, but there are some travel resources I like to check to get a starting point or additional information.
- Atlas Obscura: my favourite travel resource for finding strange, interesting places to visit off the regular map. I always check it when I’m planning my trips and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
- Lonely Planet: their travel guides are among the best for a reason and even their free content is pretty good. If you want the real deal though, you’ll have to buy the books, which are now also available as e-books.
- The crazy tourist: travel resource website, which covers things to do in all possible destinations. It’s my least favourite one, because I feel like they only feature the most obvious things to do and their writing style has no soul, but it can be a good starting point because their lists are practical – short and to the point.
- Trip advisor: world’s largest platform for reviews on basically anything related to travelling – restaurants, destinations, tours etc. I don’t normally use it for what it was intended, because I don’t often read reviews, but their forums are a great last resort for finding obscure information like local bus travel times or hidden hiking paths.
Other travel resources
- Taste Atlas: a great food database for all the world’s local food. Food is an important part of my travels and since I found this site it has saved me a lot of time searching for which traditional dishes I need to try. P.S.: They have a world cheese map!
- Sleeping in airports: a frequently updated website which covers every airport in the world – whether it’s possible to sleep there and what to expect. Spending a night at the airport can be a convenient way of saving money, so you can check out my post about sleeping in airports and everything you need to consider when deciding if you want to.
- Duolingo: an app and a website for learning a new language. It’s free and has a cute user-friendly interface, so you can pick up the basics of any language, including Klingon, in 5 minutes.
- Oneika the traveller: a travel blog with a great vibe. Oneika is a Travel channel host who likes to tackle important travel-related subjects. I tend to agree with her opinions, but I’m not the biggest fan of her travel guides.
- Nomadic Matt: the best budget travel blog out there. Matt has tons of travel resources on every possible topic and travel guides covering all the basics about the destinations and how to visit them for cheap. He also has great tips on travel hacking and how to start your own travel blog etc., but I feel like most of his advice on that applies to U.S. residents.
- I like to consider myself a responsible traveller, so I also recommend that you look into carbon offsetting your flights, if you can afford it. Since this is a site-specific thing I can’t give you a single website, but this is a good guide on getting started and this is a good discussion of the pros and cons.
- On a similar note, here’s my post on reducing your waste while you travel.
This is pretty much everything I use when I’m planning my travels, no secrets, I promise. In case I need any additional information that can’t be found here, I do a deep dive in the local Internet pages and hope for the best, because they’re often outdated. The rest can always be found on the road with the help of a friendly local or two, so there’s no need to plan everything in advance.
I hope this list comes in handy for you and if you have any questions you can ask me in the comments. And as always, if you like it, feel free to share it with people you know and spread the word! 🙂