The Best Trip Planning Travel Websites, Resources and Tools
There are so many travel websites out there now it’s hard to know which the best ones are! I definitely have my go-to sites I visit as soon as I start planning a trip, but it’s all about personal preference. These are the websites I use most when planning a trip.
Hotel + Accommodation Websites
In terms of booking accommodation, I tend to reserve stays on booking.com, hotels.com and sometimes Airbnb. These just happen to be the sites I’ve used over the years. Over time on the first two websites I have built up higher loyalty status and many free stays. Prices can sometimes vary drastically across sites, so I always check multiple as well as the actual hotel’s site.
What I love about booking.com is that many of the hotels offer free cancellation or pay later. In my experience it seems to be more so than hotels.com. After a certain number of bookings you will get to different status levels and unlock their extra discount on some properties.
Hotels.com has a loyalty scheme where after you book 10 nights, you can 1 night free. The average of the 10 nights if what they will give you towards your free night.
This site is great for backpackers and cheap hostel accommodation.
You can find houses, rooms, apartments, tree houses or tiny houses for rent on Airbnb. It’s a great option for large groups, couples or even solo travellers. Prices range from budget to super luxurious.
VRBO is pretty similar to Airbnb. Homeowners rent our their properties.
Glamping Hub is also similar to Airbnb, but concentrates on unique finds like treehouses, glamping tents or quirky houses.
The Best Airlines and Flight Websites
Skyscanner is great for quickly comparing flights, but I still visit some airlines directly to cross reference. I typically use Skyscanner to search and compare prices, but I always book direct when possible. This is because I’ve had bad experiences with third party flight bookings – it just always seems to make things more complicated if you have issues.
Delta and Jet Blue are my two favorite USA airlines. In my experience, they have the best service and comfort levels.
I’ve used this website on multiple occasions, and it’s usually pretty good. Just be sure to double check what insurance you will need. Some credit cards have car rental insurance included, which means you don’t have to purchase it each time you rent. These details can really vary so look into it carefully!
The trainline is something I used frequently while living in the U.K. I got some great deals on here in the past and their app is super user friendly.
Essential for anyone looking to travel Europe by train!
Resources + Tools for Travel Planning
Google Maps is a great tool to find out distances and plan out logistics. I make maps for every trip in order to plan out my time efficiently.
Rome2Rio will tell you how to get from A to B. Meaning it will give you what options you have, whether it be taking the train, bus or driving. It give approx travel times and will refer to booking sites.
Pinterest is an awesome place to gather travel inspiration and tips! It acts like a search engine, but is way more visual!
Setting up a Travel Plan and Itinerary
First, decide on your priorities and do your research :
- How much time do you have?
- Are you looking to take the scenic route or the most efficient route?
- Are there certain locations you absolutely need to see?
- Are you looking to camp, stay in hotels or an Airbnb?
- Is trying the local cuisine/restaurants a top priority?
Then decide on your budget and make adjustments.
- Factor in for tolls, gas, food and drinks, activities and accommodation at your travel destination.
- Deciding how much you want to spend per day and week is a good way to keep to a budget. Obviously, you will spend much more in a place like New York City than you will in Puerto Rico.
Map out your route and make an Itinerary.
I’d suggest making a Google Doc so you can add dates, flight details and things you want to do and see.
Don’t over plan. Leave room for spontaneity!
You want to be organized, but you don’t want to be frantic trying to fit everything in. While travelling you’re always coming across news things, and you may just want to go with the flow sometimes!