Travel Resources

Wondering what sites I use to search for flights or book hotel rooms? Curious about what tools I use to run this site? Below you can find some of my favorite travel-related resources.

NOTE: I always suggest searching for flights and hotels in an incognito browser window. (If you’re using Chrome as your browser, simply go to File > New Incognito Window.) This ensures that the site isn’t saving any information (cookies) about your searches, and therefore means that you’ll actually see the best deals!

BOOKING FLIGHTS

Booking flights can be a huge pain! I HATE agonizing over flight prices and connections and the tiny, tiny seats — but these sites should help you find the best deals:

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Skyscanner.com — I often turn to Skyscanner when I’m looking for flight options. It searches a TON of airlines, and I’ve found some great deals using it (especially when looking for flights within Europe). I also really like the “Everywhere” search. Using this, you can choose your departure city, but then just choose “Everywhere” as your destination. The site then shows you where in the world you can fly for the least amount of money.

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Kayak.com — Kayak is another of my go-to sites when I’m looking for flight deals. It’s very easy to use, and you can set price alerts if you’re keeping your eye on a specific fare. On certain routes, Kayak also will show you the price trend on that route, and will tell you whether you should buy now or wait. Similar to Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” search, Kayak has an “Explore” option where you choose your departure city and the month you’d like to travel, and Kayak shows you flight prices for destinations all over the world.

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Momondo.com — This is another one of my favorite search sites. Momondo’s flight search is great because you get results sorted either by ticket or by timetable, and they also show you which flights are cheapest and which are quickest. Momondo also has a fun search function called Trip Finder. Using this, you can define the type of trip you’re looking for, your ideal weather, your budget, and even what mood you’d like to experience. Then the site gives you some suggestions.

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NOTE: While I usually search for flights on one or two of these sites in the planning stage of my trips, I try to book flights directly with the airline whenever possible. If something goes wrong with a flight or connection, the last thing you want is for the airline to claim no responsibility because you booked through a third-party site. (I know people who have run into this issue when booking with sites like Expedia and Priceline — it doesn’t happen often, but it CAN happen, especially if a site places you on multiple airlines in order to get the lowest price.)

BOOKING HOTELS

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Booking.com — Over the years, I have become a big fan of Booking.com. I like the information the booking site offers, and also the wealth of helpful reviews (which can only be left by someone who has actually stayed at the hotel). I also like that you get lots of options when booking rooms here — including options that include breakfast, and/or booking options that allow for free cancelation or the ability to pay later. If you write reviews after a stay, you can also earn “Genius” status, which unlocks more Booking discounts.

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Trivago.com — Trivago is another great site to keep in mind when you’re searching for a hotel. Trivago isn’t actually a booking site, though. It actually will search 262 OTHER booking sites and show you the results and best prices all in one place. You can then scroll through, add filters to your search using the options in the lefthand sidebar, add hotels to the “compare” bar on the righthand side of the page, and then click over to whatever booking site has the best price once you’re actually ready to book. If you want to search a lot of the most popular hotel booking sites at once, Trivago is your best bet.

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TripAdvisor.com — You should always take TripAdvisor reviews with a grain of salt because literally anyone can hop over to the site and review a property. BUT, I won’t lie: I still tend to go check TripAdvisor once I’ve already decided on one or two hotels I’m interested in. As long as the TA reviews aren’t horrible, then I usually feel confident with my choice(s).

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RELATED: Check out my personal recommendations for where to stay in cities around the world.

BOOKING OTHER ACCOMMODATION

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Hostelworld.com — My go-to when it comes to booking hostels has always been Hostelworld (though, now that they’ve merged with Hostelbookers.com, I would recommend them, too). Both of these sites offer a really comprehensive listing of hostels in a ton of cities around the world, complete with reviews and other useful information.

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AirBnB — Hotels and hostels definitely are not the only accommodation option to use when you’re traveling. Sometimes, renting an apartment can be the best option — especially if you’re staying in a city for a long amount of time, or if you really want to get a “local” feel for a neighborhood. I’ve used Airbnb to book full apartments and private rooms in cities all around the world.

(PS – If you head over to AirBnB through this link, you can claim free credit!)

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Homestay.com — If you’re looking for a really “local” experience, consider looking into a homestay, i.e. staying with a local person/family in their home. I tried this out in Dublin, Ireland, and really enjoyed it. This is a great option for a solo traveler, or someone new to traveling.

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TOUR COMPANIES

The following tour companies are ones that I support and recommend:

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Intrepid Travel – I’ve traveled quite a few times with this adventure tour company. I love their small groups, local guides, and dedication to sustainable, responsible tourism. They have tours literally all over the world, and they are the first tour company I recommend to people.

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Wandering Earl Tours – Fellow travel blogger Derek “Earl” Baron has been successfully running tours to some of the world’s more remote and exotic corners for a couple of years now. Whether you want to explore India, Mexico, Romania, or somewhere more adventurous like Iran, these tours are worth checking out!

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Urban Adventures – When it comes to day trips and walking tours, Urban Adventures (a sister company of Intrepid) is one of my favorites. Their tours always employ local guides and get you really deep into the culture and vibe of a place.

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TRAVEL INSURANCE

I definitely believe in travel insurance – you never know when you might lose your luggage or have some sort of accident on the road. And that old “better safe than sorry” saying really does apply here. I recommend World Nomads for travel insurance because they cover all the important stuff for a really affordable rate.

GETTING TRAVEL DEALS

Everyone wants to save some money on travel, right? Here are a few newsletters I subscribe to for great deals:

TravelZoo — This deal site is always full of goodies, from flight deals to cheap vacation packages. I’m signed up for the Top 20 newsletter, which collects and sends out the best travel deals once a week.

Living Social EscapesLiving Social is good to follow for all kinds of deals, but I especially like checking out their “Escapes” section every once in a while. I’m told Groupon often has similar deals.

Get airfare alerts — I’m also signed up to get airfare alerts from my home airport through Hipmunk. You can also get some great fare alerts from Airfare Watchdog, search for current flight deals at The Flight Deal, and check Secret Flying regularly for sales and error fares.

TRAVEL GEAR

I have a whole separate Packing Page where I lay out all my favorite travel gear.

TRAVEL BLOGGING

Here are some of the tools I use to keep this site running!

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MailChimp — I use MailChimp for my newsletter, as well as sending weekly blog summaries to my subscribers. There are plenty of email services out there to choose from, but I like how easy MailChimp is to use.

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SmugMug — When it comes to photo storage (and just creating a nice portfolio of images), I really like SmugMug. I host most of my photos either on SmugMug or Flickr, and then insert them into my blog posts using html code. You can also buy prints of my photos on SmugMug.

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CoSchedule — When it comes to social sharing, CoSchedule is a tool I couldn’t live without. I use it to schedule 4-6 social media shares of all my new blog posts, and also rely on its handy editorial calendar to plot out what I’ll be publishing and when.

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Bluehost — If you’re just starting out with a self-hosted blog and don’t want to shell out a ton of money for web hosting, check out Bluehost. I used Bluehost to host my site for the first nearly 6 years, and only moved when I started getting too much traffic for them to handle.

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Synthesis — Once my site outgrew Bluehost for hosting, I switched over to Synthesis, which is WordPress-specific hosting. The transition was pretty painless, and I’m extremely happy with the service. Synthesis IS more expensive, but it’s worth it to me to know that my site is going to be up 99.9% of the time.

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*Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning if you book/buy something after clicking, I may get a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. This is a great way for you to support my site by doing something you were going to do anyway!

22 Comments

  • Alan says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering if we could exchange links
    We are a family who left England in November 2008 and set off with round the world tickets to escape a failing business and failing health – We are now living in Malaysia and continue to travel.

    Our Site is: A Big Adventure, (4 Tickets, 1 Year, No Plan and More) – http://www.worldtravelgapyear.com/ check it out if you have a minute.

    If you do add us, drop me a line and I promise I will add your site within 24hrs!

    regards

    Alan & Sofia

  • could you include this link its website that offers volunteer programs in third world country
    Volunteer Capital Centre provides quality and affordable volunteer abroad work programs and opportunities in third world countries

  • Alexandra says:

    Really nice blog, I appreciated reding some of your travel articles. It’s really informative, and that’s what I contact you.

    Atucally, I’m managing a meta-blog about Luxury Travel around the world : http://www.oneluxurytravel.com/

    I read some of your articles about Italy and New Zealand carefully and your content can be really useful for my readers looking for luxury travel news, tips and activities around the world! they are both luxury destinations.
    In consequence, I decided to select your blog!

    I would like to know if you would be interested to appear on my web portal? It will increase your visibility on internet, increase your visits, and provide good information for my users.
    Send me an email at greenty.com@gmail.com and I will try to answer within 24h.

    Good job again !

    Alexandra

  • Leif Harum says:

    Hey Amanda, I just stumbled on your blog recently and I think it’s sweet. You’re a really good writer and seem like a really cool girl. I was wondering if you wanted to exchange links with me? I’m a new comer to the travel blogging scene but I really want to get into it. Also, if you have any advice, I would really appreciate it. Thanks,
    Safe travels, Leif
    Leif Harum recently posted..How To Become A Pirate

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the nice compliments, Leif! I’d be happy to exchange links with you. And I’ll shoot you an e-mail, too!

  • Duncan says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I hope all is well over at the DB blog!!

    I wanted to stop by and let you know you receive the honour of being my first blogroll link on my new travel blog i have set up.

    It would be great if you could add me to your blog exchange – i would appreciate the help.

    Many thanks

    Duncan
    Duncan recently posted..Top Alternative Dining Locations In Central London

  • So many awesome new bloggers to follow. Where will I find the time. Thanks for your suggestions Amanda!
    Jen Seligmann recently posted..5 reasons why I love Sydney

  • Caitlin says:

    Hey Amanda,

    Looks like you’re doing some cool things. Great inspiration. Wondering if you would be interested in an exchange of Links.

    http://www.joyfulleisure.com

    Take a look and let me know what you think.

    Cheers,
    Caitlin

  • Lindsey says:

    Hi, I love your blog… very helpful.
    Lindsey recently posted..Aurora Borealis: Dance of The Spirits

  • Ricky Chin says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I stumbled on your blog somehow and I’ve spent the last hour at work going through so many of your posts and awesome advice regarding travel blogging! As I’m constantly trying to do more traveling while working, it’s great to read that you make travel your #1 priority and manage many adventures, but do not travel blog full-time. Thanks for writing such amazing content. I have an amateur question to which I can’t seem to find an answer. A lot of people are writing that they would like to “exchange links”. Does this just mean permission to feature each others’ website links on the other’s site? Do you keep a list of blogs you follow on your website somewhere? Thanks so much!
    Ricky
    Ricky Chin recently posted..Pocaterra Ridge: In Photos

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Ricky! It’s a good question! And yes, a link exchange usually just means you put my link somewhere on your site, and I’ll put yours on mine. Many bloggers have a “blog roll” or page where they list other blog links. I used to have a page like that, but I got rid of it because it was too hard to keep updated – travel blogs unfortunately come and go quite frequently! You’ll also get people asking for link exchanges who are secretly trying to get a link to a commercial travel site. And you should never give away those links for free!

  • Ricky Cbhin says:

    Awesome, thanks for the response! I can imagine that a blog roll would be a challenge to update. Just reading the comments, I was thinking, “wherever this list is located, it must be huge!” And thanks for the tip about links to commercial travel sites. Good to know 🙂
    Ricky Cbhin recently posted..Mount Sparrowhawk… a 3rd Time!

  • Alex Johnson says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I’ve read your blog for a little while now, I love your writing, and your personality. You really have an approachable style. (plus a solid knowledge of Tolkien)

    This page in particular is really useful, though I’m wondering what resources / links / tools you have for finding out if you need a visa or something to that effect when visiting a particular country.

    Also, do you do much research before visiting a new country or try to experience it in the moment. If you prep, what do you find is the best source of information?

    Alex.

    • Amanda says:

      When it comes to visa and vaccination requirements, I usually just turn to government sites since I know they always have the most up-ti-date info for Americans. (So usually travel.state.gov for visa questions, and the CDC for required vaccines.)

      And the research I do before going to a new country is usually just done through Google or other travel blogs!

  • Are these the best sites to find trips and buy trips?
    João Henrique recently posted..Curso Mini Site Ninja, Eu Não Recomendo. Saiba Por Que.

  • Elton Bonfim says:

    This page in particular is really useful, though I’m wondering what resources / links / tools you have for finding out if you need a visa or something to that effect when visiting a particular country.

    • Amanda says:

      I just use the US government’s travel.state.gov to look up visa requirements – but what site people use totally depends on which country they’re from!

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