Travel planning and preparation can be almost as fun as your actual travels – but only if you know which resources to look at. There are so many different agencies, booking websites and travel products. But which are the best?
On this page I explain my go-to resources and tips to ensure you have a safe, cost-effective and the most stress-free trip you could possibly have.
You may wish to use this page as a checklist to ensure you have everything before you set off on your travels.
Flight Search & Booking Services
Skyscanner is my favourite flight search platform. I absolutely love their ‘to everywhere’ destination search feature. You can also search for any flights in a whole month or even the cheapest month in the year. If you have flexible travel dates, an ‘everywhere’ search for the cheapest month is guaranteed to fill you with joy. I’ve booked flights to destinations I never considered before, just because I found an absolute bargain!
When it comes to actually booking the flights, Trip.com somehow always ends up that little bit cheaper than all other agencies and airlines.
If you know where you want to go, I would check flights to the destination directly on Trip.com first. If you search for flights to the destination elsewhere beforehand, this information is saved by those cookies that you are always being asked to accept on a website. Websites sometimes inflate the prices if they know you are looking around or if there have been multiple clicks on a flight.
Accommodation Booking Websites
The industry leader when it comes to searching and comparing good value accommodation from across the world is by far Booking.com.
The search function is simple and user-friendly and best of all, they have some of the best prices around. The fact that you can often ‘book now and pay later’ with relaxed cancellation terms is ideal for the non-committal traveller or for when things change, as they often do.
You can search for accommodation using this widget:
Another channel I often use is Hotels.com. Like Booking, they have some great deals, but I often find accommodation here that doesn’t appear on the Booking website, so I usually check both.
Personal insurance is an absolute must-have if you are heading abroad. If you get hurt and end up in hospital (or worse), your belongings get stolen, end up in a natural disaster or have flights cancelled on you, insurance can save your ass and reimburse you for your woes.
If you are taking either one or two trips then it would be wise to get cover just for the dates you are travelling. However if you travel often, it may be more cost-effective to get a yearly coverage plan. A multi-destination 12 month policy is what I have purchased before when I travelled to 12 countries across 365 days.
I would recommend you get a quote from World Nomads first. They aren’t an insurance ‘giant’ which I like and have a much more personalised service.
You can a quote for World Nomads here:
It’s also worth checking out Travelex Insurance who are sometimes a bit cheaper:
Group Tours and Activities
If you like to organise your activities before you go, I would absolutely recommend that you use TourRadar to search and compare different group tours. Bringing top-rated tour companies together in one place, TourRadar covers all name of activities, across all seven continents.
There’s also Klook, another great platform connecting travellers to operators.
For up to 50% off tours, click on one of the banners below:
Eco-friendly Travel Gear
When I’m travelling – be it backpacking or staying in a luxury resort, I try and travel as sustainably as I can so I minimise my impact on the planet. I’m no expert, but you can read a few things I’m doing to be a more eco-friendly traveller here.
A few of my favourite eco-friendly travel products, which I would highly recommend can be found below:
My Travel Gear Essentials
There are some items that I’ve learnt over the years are absolute essentials to travel with. This list contains all the staple products that can be found in my backpack, no matter where I go:
- Universal travel adaptor – this product gives absolute peace of mind and saves you researching what the power outlet is in the country you are visiting – it has them all! There are even FOUR USB slots so you can charge multiple devices at once.
- A sarong – there are so many uses for a sarong; for modesty when you’re visiting a place of worship, to make some shade, to use as a makeshift towel, lie out as a beach towel, use as a laundry bag and so on. It takes up hardly any space and I find I use it in one way or another, basically every trip.
- Shampoo and conditioner bars – solid toiletries save heaps of space and weight in your luggage. Best of all, you can pack them into your hand luggage and take them on your flight – ideal for hand luggage only travellers!
- Hand sanitiser – just in case there’s no soap and water or just to stay hygienic on the road, I will always carry a travel-sized bottle of alcohol-based hand gel!
- A fold-up day bag – whether I just want to grab some things from a market or need to pack a small bag for a day trip, a small, splash-proof bag is a really convenient and useful item to pack. I use the lightweight ZOMAKE brand.
Lonely Planet Guides
You either love or hate a guide book. However in my opinion, even if you don’t want to lug a book in your backpack everyday, they make a perfect resource to help plan your travels either from home before you go, or as a reference document to leave in your hotel room. Yes, there’s loads of fun to be had stumbling upon something cool that isn’t in a guidebook, but you don’t want to miss the highlights, right?
I have stacks of guide books and if anything, I find them incredibly inspiring to read even when I’m not travelling (or planning).
At home I have the Lonely Planet’s guide to the world (yes, I go through and ‘tick’ destinations off – don’t judge) and I also love Lonely Planet’s top 500 places to see… ranked. The latter makes an especially good gift for a travel-lover.
You can shop the top picks for Lonely Planet guide books here:
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