There is so much information on the internet these days and so many helpful websites, but I guess the point of writing this blog is to help you narrow down the information and give it to you in a simplified format aka save you the hard work. These are the website I use and I hope you will use for planning your next trip abroad. They will save you money AND introduce you to some cool and unique things in each destination.
9 websites for planning your next trip
I’ve been using World Nomads travel insurance since 2012 and it’s the first step for me in travel planning once I know my dates. I know I’ll have to buy travel insurance anyways, so I try to do it right away so it will just be done and taken care of. It’s also good to do right away so that it doesn’t pop up as an expense you’ve forgotten about later. World Nomads is the brand trusted by most bloggers, Lonely Planet, and other guide books.
I found out about Next Vacay a few months ago and think it’s a great website to help you plan a trip because it might just inspire your next trip. I wrote a full review here, but to sum it up, you pay $25 a year and in return they send you only the craziest and best deals from your closest airports to fun places around the world (not a random Tuesday, last-minute flight to some random US town). If you don’t see a deal you like, you can cancel and get your money back so it’s a win-win. I’m holding out for a Christmas deal for my parents because we want to meet up somewhere in the middle next year.
This is SUCH a useful website when you’re planning. You can type in your point A to point B and it will tell you the price, distance, and time in transport for all the available forms of transportation available: ferry, taxi, car rental, train, bus, flying, etc. It’s the perfect way to set your route at the best price taking into account all the parameters. Definitely download this app.
I live for booking through Kiwi.com! I wrote all about why I always book with them here. They use a unique method where they don’t just search for flights that are in code-shares but also ones that are not related, meaning you’d have to re-check in during your layover and recheck bags. It saves a ton of money, though. If you do a multicity trip, that won’t matter though if you use their anwhere tool. I’ve even shown exactly how you can use their flight search engine to travel cheap with these two examples:
- Flying to all India’s tourist cities for under $200
- Flying to 9 cities in 7 countries in Europe for $355
As soon as I know where I’m going, I check out i-escape to see what cute, unique, boutique properties there are. They do not post just anything- only the coolest more unique properties. I can tell you from experience (having visited all the best properties over 3 years in Goa) that they have the ones that matter on their site. It seems to be the case for other cities too. I love their reviews and the easy interface. I don’t book through them though, I then heard over to Agoda.
This is my go-to booking site for travel in Asia. I have gone back and forth with others, but lately the best deals have been here on Agoda. I usually have an idea of where I want to stay based on blogs and i-escape before I go to Agoda and book. When I travel elsewhere around the world, I book with HotelsCombined.
Need a visa where you’re headed? If you want an easy process you can use iVisa. India’s visa is a pain in the ass and some people can’t be bothered to go through so much hassle and would happily pay iVisa’s fee to do it all for them. They do it for everywhere though, not just India and if you’re overwhelmed with planning it’s one thing you can delegate and cross off your list. The bonus is if you apply on your own for a 30 day visa to an embassy, the day it gets approved is when the visa starts. That means you can’t do it very far ahead of time. If you let iVisa do you can cross it off your list early and they will wait to submit so you have the most days where you are going.
Of course airbnb must be on this list! When people come in a group to Goa, I always say get a villa on airbnb not multiple hotel rooms. You will save so much money! Plus, you have a kitchen, pool, housekeeper, and usually security. There are benefits all over the world to airbnb though, not just India. If you use this link, you’ll get $35 off your first airbnb booking.
Maybe I’m biased but blogs are the perfect help in planning your trip. I know that I can give more information about Goa than some top guidebooks just by checking their recommendations and realizing they are outdated or missing something incredible. That is because their writers often come for two weeks and visit the places suggested by other guidebooks and I’ve been here 3 years. It’s the same with other bloggers. When planning for Nashville, I was all over Camels & Chocolate. She’s been there for years! You can just search “travel blogger ____” or “food blogger ____” and insert the city to find someone who focuses on a certain place. It is priceless information. Here are my 17 favorite bloggers from 2016.
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Thank you for the list! I already knew some of these, but it’s nice to make an update from time to time…
Hey John, happy to help!
Thank you for this list and for your kind words about i-escape. We’re really pleased that our painstaking hotel research and detailed reviews are appreciated. But may I ask why you don’t book through us? As you probably know, we promise to match any like-for-like price, and our guests usually get a little extra on arrival (massage, welcome cocktail etc) – plus the support of our travel and bookings consultants throughout the trip planning process. Even if you don’t publish this reply, I’d be really keen to know your reasons :-)
Hello Michael, I actually only found out two months ago you could book through i-escape. I thought it was only a research website (more like a blog). I am a creature of habit, and just haven’t switched over from my normal routine. Thank you for sharing abou the like-for-like price and the extras on arrival – that’s great for my readers to know.
Thanks Rachel – yes, we try to present a stylish and not-too-commercial look, but perhaps we should accentuate the booking feature more. Please do put our booking system (and consultants) to the test! Michael
Thanks as always (I signed up to get your blog updates) for great info, Rachel! That Rome2Rio app sounded good, so I just downloaded it. Plugged in a couple places, and it looks like it will be very useful!
Thanks Kimberly! I hope you enjoy following my blog :) Rome2Rio is fantastic and saves so much research time – I haven’t found another similar that I like more!
YAS — I’m a major fan of several of these sites, and just bookmarked the ones I’m not familiar with. Thanks for keeping me up to date so I can spend less time travel planning and more time enjoying the destination :)
Hi Chelse, awesome I’m happy they helped!
Thanx for the list. I love Rome2Rio and i-escape.
These are great suggestions. I’ll have to check some of these out, and definitely good point on the bloggers as a best source of information. On that, feel free to hit me up if you’re planning on visiting Southern California :)
Great advice for sure. Thanks for sharing!
I must also ask, where in the world did you find that beige Aztec dress in the photo above… I AM swooning for it!
I actually made it! I got some tribal pattern in NE India from the Apatini tribe there – and made it into a dress with the cream satin silk fabric back here in Goa.
Is there still some $377 round trip Paris deals? Was that deal found thru My Next Vacay? I read the whole article but got distracted by all the other information. I saw several round trip around $400 to Paris in 2016-2017 but I haven’t seen some for 2018 so far.