As we start to think about upcoming trips, these resources I use for travel planning are always at hand. I find that it’s good to have a rolodex of go-to books, websites, and blogs to aid in the process. I’ve shared a bit about how I choose what to book and when and these resources are the main sources behind those decisions.
Take a peek!
The Resources I Use For Travel Planning
How to book flights? I always scan a few sites first and crosscheck. It gives me an idea of what the costs are and if there are better dates to fly. When it comes to booking, I always book direct.
Kayak: I find this to be the easiest to use for myself when it comes to cross-referencing dates and pricing.
Google Flights: If you have some flexibility or want to even set up price alerts, Google Flights is a trusted resource. Read my guide on how to use Google flights for the cheapest flights. Here’s my guide on how to use Google Flights.
The Points Guy: For those of us who love to play the points game, there is no greater person than the Points Guy for redeeming points. I highly encourage using his website to figure out the best strategy for using points.
Seat Guru: Ever showed up on a flight and felt disappointed in your seat selection? I always cross check Seat Guru before picking a seat as it shares all the secrets of each aircraft.
LoungeBuddy: If you don’t have status on every airline (because who does?) and you want access to a lounge, check out the daily passes you can purchase on LoungeBuddy to ease travel.
With this day in age, there are PLENTY of deals to be had with hotels. But did you know a lot of them give you better rates and added perks when you book direct? It’s always good to do some poking around.
Booking.com: If you’re looking for a good deal or you want to book a room and be able to pay later, I couldn’t recommend booking.com more. I use them frequently to book in advance and many of the hotels offer good options for paying later and cancellations — especially in Europe and Asia.
Airbnb: When it comes to the vacation rental market, I book almost exclusively on Airbnb. I’ve used them for years and really love the experience of staying in a local’s home. Be sure to use this link to get $40 off your first booking.
Kiwi Collection: When I think about booking a nicer hotel, I want to book with a company who curates hotels that I know I will love. I’ve stayed with Kiwi Collections, and the added perks like early check-in or upgrades based on availability, really add value to the stay. I couldn’t recommend Kiwi Collection more.
Preferred Hotels: If you’re looking to stay with private hotels and want to collect points for it, Preferred Hotels released an opportunity to gain rewards with their iPrefer program. It’s great way to be rewarded for your stays in hotels.
I never leave the country without travel insurance. I exclusively use World Nomads for the comprehensive and affordable insurance.
How to book all of those trains? Here’s what I use.
RailEurope: Admittedly, this is not always your cheapest option when booking a single journey in Europe but if you’re purchasing multiple, this can save you money. I use RailEurope for my trips frequently to find routes and prices.
Rome2Rio: Not sure how to get somewhere? Plug in your route and your best options via train, taxi, and more are given to you.
Mozio: Something I love to pre-arrange is transfers on arrival. I don’t want to deal with a taxi when I’m tired and have no local currency. So I pre-book almost everything on Mozio.
Car Rentals: I always check prices on Hotwire and then book to direct to avoid any hidden fees.
Bloggers: I often look through some of my favorite bloggers to help get some extra first-person information about a place. Did you know blogs are the number one source for travel planning? There are so many to look at — I recommend finding a few that resonates with the way you like to travel.
Pinterest: This is a gold mine for finding travel inspiration. You could spend half a day searching through the back alleys of Pinterest.
Instagram: One of my favorite tools is the ability to save to a collection — I do this all the time when I see something that catches my eye.
Condé Nast Traveler: I don’t subcribe to any magazine but Condé Nast. It’s wonderful and awe-inspiring. I look forward to this magazine every month and tear out the sheets for inspiration.
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: