I use a number of travel resources for accommodations, flights, rideshares, navigating public transportation, and even safety. The following is a mix of websites and apps that can enhance your travel experience and save you money!
This is actually a business tool meant for logistics companies, but travelers planning a road trip will find it very valuable. Say you want to find a new weekend getaway, and you want to see what destinations are within a 3-hour drive. Just type in your starting point, select your desired travel time, and the mode of travel you want to take. OALLEY will show you a map of exactly where you can go based on your selections.
You do have to register after the first two uses, but it’s completely free.
Rome2Rio is cool because it allows you to plan out the best way to get from Point A to Point B using all manner of options. Don’t want to fly? Rome2Rio can show you which bus routes you can link up to get you where you’re going.
If a destination exists, chances are TripAdvisor’s got it. Use them to help you plan out things to see and do and places to eat. Their rating system is highly respected. Also, if you have any concerns about a destination, be it for safety reasons or concerns for crowds, I encourage you to check out their traveler forums. You will often find the most up-to-date, on-the-ground information there.
If TripAdvisor doesn’t have it, AtlasObscura does! This self-proclaimed “definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders” is one of the more fun and unique travel resources I’ve come across. Ever wanted to see the Wave Organ in San Francisco, or the Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures in Paris? Atlas Obscura’s got you covered.
They also publish the perfect book for lovers of travel and mystery!
Booking.com is always my go-to for booking hostels and hotels. They have a Genius rewards program that can allow you to unlock up to 15% off your stay, free breakfast, and even free room upgrades!
Much like Uber allows you to rent out your car as a taxi, Airbnb allows you to rent out your home as a hotel! This is a great way to find inexpensive places close to the action and meet friendly locals.
Skyscanner is an aggregator that finds you the best deals on flights across a wide spectrum of airlines. The beauty of Skyscanner is you can browse countries by flight ticket price, if you just want to go somewhere and don’t care where. You can also find the best flights between countries, or (my personal favorite) select an entire month to see the least expensive dates.
Please be aware though that the system is not always perfect, and that you might occasionally come across prices that vary by a couple dollars from one screen to another. Also, if you’re looking at flights from budget airlines like, for example, Spirit, checked and carry-on luggage is always going to add $35-40 to the basic ticket price you see.
Similar to Skyscanner, Google Flights distinguishes itself with the analytics you would expect from a tech giant. Their program can tell you what day of the week your flight is most likely to be at its cheapest.
FLIO is the perfect app for the nervous flier! This handy app gives you not only the most up-to-date arrival and departure times, but it also shows you detailed maps of the airport, as well as the closest shuttle and tram connections.
By now most of us have used, heard of, or driven for Uber. While I prefer Lyft in the United States, I’ve found Uber to operate in more countries, like Mexico and Guatemala. In light of recent safety concerns, Uber has also taken steps to implement verification features to make sure you’re getting the right driver.
Lyft also needs no introduction, although I should point out it usually operates at a slightly lower price than Uber. While their service does not have the global reach of Uber, Lyft is very prevalent throughout the United States.
Waze is an app similar to Google Maps GPS navigation, but with far more features. It gives you crowd-generated real-time traffic data and other road conditions to help you get where you’re going as quickly as possible. Please note, however, that for safety reasons you cannot change your destination while in motion.
Recreational Equipment, Inc. has been around over 80 years and is one of the most-trusted suppliers of travel and outdoor gear. My daypack and travel towel all come from REI, and have never let me down. While their prices match the high quality of their equipment, you can always find deals through their Co-Op. REI is also the perfect place to have an associate help size you for a backpack.
While many budget travelers have gotten along perfectly fine without travel insurance, there are many instances in which you might want to seriously consider it. To that end, I hear World Nomads brought up literally all the time. They have been operating for many years and are the gold standard for insurance while abroad in the travel community. Their plans can cover you in the unfortunate event of a hospitalization overseas and help cover the cost of prescribed medications.
They also have a fun and light-hearted travel podcast you should check out!
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I hope this list of travel resources allows you to make the most of your time and money while traveling abroad. Have any other travel resources we should know about? Add them in the comments below!