The Best Sites For Booking Travel
I am knees deep in planning multiple trips all at the same time (to four different countries, all happening over a span of the next five months) – and lemme tell you – it’s kinda overwhelming… but I also LOVE it.
Planning and researching and weighing all my options for new upcoming adventures is one of my favorite parts of travel. I should have been a professional trip planner (I guess that would be a travel agent?). Maybe I missed my calling.
Either way, I love digging deep into a destination and figuring out what the F makes it so special, what are the things I absolutely must see, who are the locals I can talk to before I even arrive to help me plan out where to stay.
And while a lot of travel planning comes from word of mouth (or digital mouth via Facebook groups like this one), I also have my favorite, go-to resources for planning, booking and prepping.
Rome 2 Rio is an excellent site that lets you see all the modes of transportation for getting between destinations. For example, I’m planning a trip from Portugal to Morocco, but had no friggen idea how convenient that actually was to go from one country to another. Rome 2 Rio shows you all your options – from flights to trains to boats and even if you wanted to drive, plus multi-transportation options. It also shows you how much each route would cost, and how long it would take.
Foursquare is my favorite (and if you’ve been a loyal follower, that comes at no surprise) – you can make lists of all the restaurants and bars you want to attempt to visit, and their rating system is typically very accurate.
Anything above an 8.0 is awesome, and you get real reviews from people on the app.
You can follow m Foursquare lists here: https://foursquare.com/user/3230847/lists/created
TripAdvisor is a given, and comes in the clutch when you’re being indecisive and torn between two different hotels and need a little personal persuasion (and personal photos) to help you decide.
There’s two major things you typically need to secure before you go on your trip – transportation and accommodations.
For booking FLIGHTS:
Google Flights is. my. jam. It’s accurate, shows you all the different options, no matter what airline, time or price, and lets YOU pick which customized, multi-airline, RT route you’d like to take.
Skyscanner is my close second and a backup I use mostly for booking puddle jumpers and short flights between international countries. You can compare airlines, dates and prices all in one place.
Hopper is my favorite app for tracking flights. If you know you’re going to Ireland in August from date A to date B, you can set a convenient alert via the app and they tell you when to book. Prices are high right now? Wait and they’ll alert you when they drop.
On the flip side, if you don’t have your heart set on a particular destination but are just looking for a great deal, sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights newsletter and he’ll slide in your inbox with the hottest deals of the day.
For booking HOTELS:
Booking.com tends to be my go-to. I like that their prices are displayed in total trip time vs. per day – so you can see the total cost up front. Plus, they let you compare all the hotels in your destination within one browser window. I hate when sites open up four different windows for me to view all the different options. Booking.com makes that pretty easy.
Hotel Tonight is a close second for hotels that I dabble with, but haven’t really used much.
Google Trips keeps track of ALL your trips in one convenient place, tracks your reservations, gives you discounts and hits you with all the recommendations of things to do in that city. You can also download your guide for use when you don’t have Wi-Fi.
Google Translate (apparently I really like Google apps?) – download that shit before you go, and learn a few common phrases of your destination’s language (if different from your own).
Instagram is my final test of approval. When I’m deciding between hotels, I look to Instagram to view people’s real photos. When planning for a place I’ve never been, I stalk geotags to see what’s going on in the location. I view hashtags of all varieties to see what locals and visitors are up to.
Got any other great resources or best sites for booking travel that I should be aware of? Drop a comment in this post and let me know!