Travel planning is a serious business, especially if you are on a budget. I created my very own travel planning guide for friends, family, and whoever is willing to read a short novel on the planning process. Throughout my post, I mentioned numbers of websites that I use for the planning process – I decided to give those links a post of their own because ya know, they deserve it.
Kayak: searches over hundred websites to find you the best deals on airfares.
Kayak Explore: The best tool there is for planning spontaneous trips! Just type in your home airport, the month you’d like to get away from your responsibilities, find an exotic place, and book your ticket! It’s that easy. Is it budget friendly? That I don’t know, but if you have done it, please tell me all about it!
Travel Pirates: Powered by Kayak, Travel Pirates brings you the best deals on airfares, hotels, vacation packages, etc. However, you are in charge of booking everything on your own.
The Points Guy: The guru of Rewards Cards – the Points Guy provides a substantial amount of insight into the best travel rewards available on the market, learn how to maximize your rewards, and other travel trips. If you have a rewards card or looking for one, check out his site for more info.
Best Travel Rewards Cards: Nerd Wallet created the best of the best list for travel rewards credit cards and their benefits. You can compare cards and find out which card is best suited for you.
HostelWorld: The best place to search for over 33,000 hostels in 177 countries. Their website and app are incredibly user-friendly and provide 24/7 customer service. It’s the only website I use to book hostels.
Couch Surfing: A free way to stay abroad if you are traveling solo. I have heard the good and the bad, and personally, haven’t had the pleasure of using the service but when I do travel solo – I am going to give it a go.
Priceline: gives you the power to name your price for hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, etc. Before booking a “name your price” deal, make sure to read terms and conditions.
Groupon: offers a great deal on hotels, all-inclusive vacation packages, and activities. Their getaway deals are one of the best you can find on the net.
Visas & Other Documents
CDC: Before planning any trip, always check the CDC’s website for any vaccinations you may need for a trip. There are several countries that will prevent you from entering the country if you do not have vaccination certificates. CDC also has an up-to-date Health notices around the world.
State Department: For Visas, and other related travel documents, always check State Department’s website to see what’s required.
Global Entry: A US Customs program that will help expedite your pre-clearance process at the custom’s line. In order to qualify for Global Entry, one must complete an application followed by an interview before being accepted to the program – the fee is around $100, and your membership will last for five years. It also includes TSA Pre-membership which will make the checkpoints a little better. Check out the website for more detailed (and better) information.
Travel Resource Websites:
Lonely Planet: LP guidebook are widely known and used among backpackers – they provide practical information on any destination, maps, sample itineraries, history, etc. If you aren’t interested in purchasing LP books, worry not! LP’s website offers insights on anywhere from adventure travel to family travel to guided tours. It’s easy to access and search for the information you are looking for.
STA Travel: If you are a student and/or under the age of 25, STA is a great place to look for affordable flights, tours, accommodation, etc. In Spring of 2011, my bestie and I found roundtrip tickets to France for $700! It was a steal, especially since the flight was out of our smaller home airport. This past summer, I was able to find a multi-city ticket (New York > Santa Cruz, Galápagos > Quito — out of Lima > New York for $892!). If you plan on doing multiple country routes, send an inquiry to one of the STA travel agents – sometimes, they can find better and cheaper options than you can on your own.
Viator: My go-to website to purchase tours. Viator. The booking experience with Viator is easy and efficient. Their tours, in my humble opinion, have always been well organized and tour guides are super knowledgeable. PS always search for coupon codes before booking your tours! I’ve saved over $20!
If you have any helpful links I should I add to this list, please feel free to comment below or direct message me.
As always, thank you for reading.