One of my favorite parts of traveling is actually planning the trip. I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling since I studied abroad in 2013, and I pretty much use the same tools each time I book a trip. 2019 is shaping up to be a big travel year for me so I thought why not share my top sites for trip planning.
Flights + Transportation
When it comes to booking flights Google Flights is my first stop. What I like about their system is that I’m able to enter a destination and find the most cost effective dates by scrolling through the calendar. Another feature that’s unique to Google is being able to input a timeframe, type of destination (beach, adventure, snow, etc.) or region to find flights.
When I’m trying to figure out the logistics of getting from one city or country to another, I uses Rome2Rio. It shows you the different ways you can get from one place to another (i.e. train, ferry, flights, etc.), and once you enter dates it will give you approximate pricing for all of them.
Places to stay
The reason I like looking at hotels on Booking is because they display the cost of your total stay (minus taxes and fees) instead of just the price for one night. Also, it seems like there’s usually more options to book now, pay later. Not sure if that’s accurate or if it just seems that way. Get $20 back after your first stay by using this link.
We all know Airbnb. If I’m looking for cheaper accommodations or just somewhere unique to stay this is where I go. Use this link to save $40 off your first stay.
Things to Do
Viator is a third-party booking service great for finding activities. Enter a destination and you’ll get a list of options of things to do in that particular place. You can find all sorts of tours and purchase skip-the-line attraction passes. Also, first time visitors usually receive a 10% off pop-up offer that can be used on their first purchase.
Get Your Guide
Get your guide is a great way to find smaller tours that might not be publicized on major sites. You can even find and book free walking or photography tours organized by locals.
Inspiration + Help
Trip Advisor is honestly one of the best travel resources out there. When I’m having a hard time finding info on something, there’s usually a forum that answers my questions or leads me to a resource that can. Also, I love that they have reviews on everything from restaurants to tours.
Whether or not I know where I’m going, I turn to Pinterest. If I have something in mind, I’ll search for that specifically and go through the pins to help me piece together an itinerary. If it’s up in the air, I’ll just scroll through the travel category looking for trip inspiration.
I love Instagram, it’s my favorite social media platform and one of my favorite ways to find travel inspo. I follow a bunch of travel accounts not only to look at the pretty pictures, but to put new destinations on my radar. Also, it’s good for finding spots locals go to that you might not find through other channels.
* Random Tidbit
Google Docs and Sheets are great for laying out itineraries and budgets. You can share it with others going on the trip, and then the trip planning process becomes a collaborative effort.
Do you use the same sites I do, or what are some of your favorite trip planning sites?
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