Welcome to The Life Outside’s travel resources hub. Sometimes travel companies just don’t cut it and you need to find the good deals yourself. So, to save you time and frustration in planning your next big adventure, below is a list of websites I use when researching my next trip! Make sure you check more than one resource to ensure that you found the best deal.
If you have a recommendation to add to this list, or have any questions about these companies, please email me.
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Skyscanner – This is probably my favorite airline search engine. It seems to find the best budget airlines that are non-existent in other airline search engines. I always check this one first when searching for a flight and usually wind up finding my cheapest tickets here. Skyscanner is great for international and domestic flight searches.
Vayama – This is my second favorite flight search engine after Skyscanner. However this one is best for international flights outside the USA.
Momondo – Third favorite airline search engine. I always check Momondo when researching flights.
Kayak.com – Kayak is a good starting point for anyone searching to fly within or out of the USA.
RyanAir.com – Decent site to find ridiculously cheap airfares around Europe.
AirTreks – Top of the line RTW trip planning and booking site. They are extremely helpful in planning your next around-the-world trip. Definitely give them a call if this is your next journey.
Oneworld – Another good RTW planning and booking site.
Airfarewatchdog – Great place to sign up for fare alerts to tell you when prices go down or on sale for your flight. Airfarewatchdog finds many fares that are not advertised elsewhere.
Hostelworld – I love staying in hostels every time I travel so needless to say Hostelworld is my go-to booking site. They have the largest inventory and one of the easiest search interfaces I’ve ever used. I highly recommend this site for your hostel search.
Hotwire – Great website if you are looking for a hotel. I always do the secret hotel where it does not tell you the hotel name until after you buy. A bit nerve-racking but never a disappointed. I used this to book my hotel for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, we wound up in a clean hotel not even a block of Bourbon Street and the parade route. Always a good experience with the site so definitely use them in your accommodation search.
Airbnb – Cheaper than a hotel, but an upgrade from a hostel. Airbnb connects travellers with home-owners who rent our their homes/apartments. You get a home away from home while spending time with the locals.
Couchsurfing.org – A website of people who allow you to stay on their couch or spare room for free! Most people on this site seem willing to show you around and offer the local’s eye view of the place you are visiting. A great resource for connecting with like-minded people and finding places to stay to keep your travel costs down.
TripAdvisor – A general resource to help find various types of accommodation especially ones that can’t afford to advertise on major search engines. TripAdvisor is also a good resource for reviews on just about anything travel. I always check them before booking anything.
Housesitting is a great way to have free accommodation around the world. Here are two quality sites to link you with potential housesitting opportunities. You are required to care for the home and potentially give care to pets, gardens, lawns, etc. depending on the opportunity.
World Nomads – I always use World Nomads to buy my travel insurance. They have great rates and quality customer service.
Clements Worldwide – This website is most helpful if you are an expat more than a short trip traveller. If you need long-term insurance (i.e health) this is a good site to check out.
Want to give yourself a piece of mind while abroad but not sure what insurance policy is right for you? I would always recommend travel insurance because you never know what life can throw at you. This travel resource is a great resource to compare different policies and get you started on what policy is right for you. Compare now!
REI Travel Gear – I’ve had a store down the road from me for years and I’ve never felt the need to go anywhere else. This outdoors store has excellent customer service and experienced staff to help you pick the proper gear you need for your trip. Even online you can chat with person who can help you select what you need. High quality for a great price.
PacSafe – Although you can purchase this at REI or other outdoors/travel focused stores, I wanted to point out this excellent product. PacSafe produces leading travel security bags, locks, packs, and more. I usually have a PacSafe bag to house my laptop, camera and other important items thieves may want to get their hands on.
Lonely Plant Guidebooks – I never leave without one. I always recommend having one as a reference. I prefer Lonely Planet because of their focus on budget/cheap travel. They highlight popular hostels/guesthouses as well as hotels. They books are a bit big but you can easily download them on the Kindle or other ebook devices or apps for easy access and a lighter load.
Contiki Tours – Contiki tours is responsible for kick-starting my love for travel. They cater to travellers ages 18-35 and offer solo travelers with a great opportunity to make new friends. Tours are great for groups and solo travelers.
G Adventures – Environmentally conscious tour company that caters to small group sizes. They have a great combination of planned activities and free-time.
Intrepid Tours – These tours tend to run cheaper than Contiki but they are less planned out. They cover the basics (hotel, transportation, and some food) but the rest is up to you to customize your trip. If you do not like a packed itinerary and more free time, this is the tour company for you.
STA Travel – Well established company that is great for travellers under 30 or students. I’ve used them a few times to help with my visa applications. They offer tours, airfare, work visas, and more. If you fit the requirements to use their service, definitely check them out.
GoToday – A one-stop shop for the last-minute traveler. If you are not on any schedule, this website has tons of highly discounted, last-minute hotels and tours. Always worth a check.
Headed abroad? This travel resource gives you insights on what types of visa you need and notice of any other requirements you may need to enter a foreign country. Check out your next visa’s requirements to start off on the right foot.
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