Best Online Travel Planning Resources

(Last Updated April 2018)
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Best Travel Planning Sites

These are the companies and resources we use to plan and book our travel. We consider these the best for comparing baseline fares & rates and finding great travel deals.


Travel Insurance Sites

We would never be without travel insurance and have been thankful to have it on a number of occasions so believe this is the most important part of travel planning.

We use World Nomads Travel Insurance as it offers more flexibility at the best rates, especially for longer-term travel. We find it is also one of the most popular travel insurance companies amongst other long term travellers.

It also pays to check if your house contents insurance covers any more expensive items such as camera gear while you are travelling. Many travel insurance policies do not cover associated equipment such as multiple camera lenses, tripods etc. These “accessories” are often grouped in as being one camera.

If find yourself in a situation where you need your travel insurance, make sure you keep all receipts for any out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of an incident while travelling. Also get confirmations in writing of flight or tour cancellations, a police report if you are a victim of crime when travelling or a doctors certificate if you require medical treatment. Every little bit of paper with help support your claim when the time comes.


Accommodation Sites

 The best deal is FREE Accommodation! Our favourite house sitting sites

Housesitting sites are not just for people looking to do house sits around the world, these sites are also perfect for home and pet owners wanting to travel.

House Carers    Membership $50 USD/ Year

Trusted Housesitters  Membership $119 USD/Year

Mind My House  Membership $20 USD/Year


When we are not house sitting- These are our next go to accommodation sites.

Booking.com

Booking.com has become our  “go to” accommodation booking platform. You will often find similar properties as on Airbnb but for less, because there are no hefty service or cleaning fees and most bookings will offer free cancellation. Frequent bookers can earn “Genius Status” very quickly which guarantees you an automatic 10% every time you book and in some instances, additional perks such as late checkout and airport transfers.

Airbnb

We have used Airbnb more times than we can count over the past five years. As full time travellers, it is inevitable you will end up in an Airbnb. However, we will say, it is not always the best value and lately, more often than not we bypass it in favour of Booking.com.

Where Airbnb still holds it’s own is for long term rentals. You can get all the comforts of home and sometimes good discounts. Look out for properties offering seven days or one-month discounts. These can sometimes be as high as 40%. They are not always advertised so play around with dates and look at the difference in price to identify long term rental discounts.

Kayak

We love Kayak for everything. Although, unlike with flights and car rentals, it’s not the first site we go to for accommodation. However, in addition to basic hotel searches, it also has a “Rentals” search function which searches all the best sites for apartment and holiday rentals such as Airbnb, Booking.com and VBRO. It’s a lot easier than trying to compare on Airbnb which has horrible search functionality.

Kayak is also great for setting Fare Alerts. They do the deal hunting for you and will email you when new deals pop up for your required accommodation.

Agoda

Agoda is great for Asia with the best rates, they also always have great villas and apartments, not just hotels.


Flight Sites

(OR NOT SURE WHERE TO GO!)

Kayak

Again, Kayak is a favourite for flight searches. Really easy to use with great tools and more often than not, the best deals. This is the first site we go to for all our travel planning. As well as Fare Alerts another favourite is their Explore Tool (Look under the More drop-down). Work out where you can go for how much just by putting in a departure point. This tool really helps to work out the best flight routes and narrowing down the cheapest cities to fly in/out of.

Google Flights

We love this search function It’s really really simple and a great planning tool. Enter your destination and your dates and it gives you the normal list of airlines showing best price. Click on the date bar and it gives you a 2-month view of the best average airfares which is fantastic when you are flexible with your dates. Don’t know where to go- Just enter your departure port and expand the map, It will show you where you can go for how much.

Skyscanner

Skyscanner also cover everything – Flights, accommodation, car hire and packages. They have access to a huge database of the best fares & rates which include the low-cost carriers some of the other sites overlook. Similar to Google Flights, put in your departure port and type “Everywhere” into the destination field and it will bring up the best fares of everywhere you can fly from that departure port. Click the prices and it will show you a view of fares for the entire month. Set fare alerts for flights & accommodation once you find where you want to go so you don’t miss any great rates.

Want additional information before choosing an airline or simply want to choose a good seat?  Go to Seat Guru This site has everything you want to know about your upcoming flight – Seat layouts, comfort factor, plane amenities, baggage allowances and excess baggage costs, even check-in times and facilities.Especially worth a look for long-haul flights.

Want to find single access airport lounges starting as low as $10 per access?  Check out the Lounge Buddy app to find airport lounges all over the world and enjoy premium serices without needing elite membership status or a first class ticket.


Train Travel Sites

CAR HIRE

AutoEurope

We often use AutoEurope all over the world as they not only offer the best local rates but often have better cancellation policies and fairer excess rates than other big car rental companies. This is always our first search place for car rental.

Kayak

Kayak also offers really good car rental comparison tools with up to the minute deals. We have found, sometimes it is cheaper to book through your home countries Kayak site (in our case Kayak.com.au) when you are already travelling than it is to book directly through local companies of the country you are in. This can be the case a lot of the time with hire cars so do price comparisons of booking locally or booking through your home site.

Skyscanner

Want to get another cost comparison or the top 2 don’t cover the country your in, Skyscanner usually will and are pretty competitive with pricing. Not our first choice though.

RAIL TRAVEL

The Man In Seat 61

The Man in Seat 61 has probably the most comprehensive information on train and overland travel around the world. (He also dabbles in ferries, timetables and ticket purchases). We are yet to find a country that Seat 61 doesn’t have up to date comprehensive information on overland travel. You don’t need any other site for this.


Tour Sites

Get Your Guide and Viator

These are the two biggest online platforms for booking local tour guides and activities all over the world. Anything from less than an hour to multiple day tours covering everything from transport tickets, skip the line access tickets to guided tours. While they both offer a similar service, the products may vary slightly and we often find Get Your Guide is cheaper for the same or similar product.

Tour Radar

Perfect for searching tours of three days or more. Search over 20,000 tours around the world by travel type or destination.

Amazon Travel Shop Morocco

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