This is a collection of our best travel planning resources. All items listed here are products we have personally used and recommend to others.
Search for flights and hotels in an incognito browser window. This ensures the site isn’t saving any information (cookies) about your searches, and you’ll actually see the best deals!
Search as many flight search websites as you can. Remember to search budget carriers as these aren’t usually included on search sites. Check the airline website to see if they offer a better deal.
Spend no more than one hour searching for flight deals. Make the best decision based on the information you have at the time you’re booking. You can’t predict a future ‘sale’ or ‘deal’.
Skyscanner — Skyscanner searches all the airlines, including budget carriers to find the best deal. You can look for flights on a specific date, week, month or even see the prices over the whole year. My favorite feature is the “Everywhere” option. Set the “To” box to “Everywhere” to select the cheapest destination from your point of origin.
Kayak — Kayak is easy to use. You can set price alerts if you’re watching a specific fare. On certain routes, Kayak also will show you the price trend on that route, and will tell you whether you should buy now or wait. It also has an “Explore” option hidden under the “More” tab on its site. Here, you choose your departure city and the month you’d like to travel, and Kayak shows you flight prices for destinations all over the world.
Google Flights – Google Flights lets you enter your departure airport and see flights all over the world in a map so you can see where the cheapest destination in. They also suggest different dates for cheaper flights.
Start with your preferred search site, research two or three other websites, and finally check the hotel’s website or call as hotels will often match rates.
Only spend 30 minutes of your time booking a hotel. The price variation between sites isn’t worth hours of your time trying to save a dollar or two. The larger booking sites have their own loyalty reward programs. If you consistently use one site, the rewards might be worth it to stay with that site, even if it isn’t the cheapest option.
Hotels.com – Great selection of hotels, B&B’s, condos and all-inclusive resorts with low prices, and no fees. I particularly like the Free Cancellation feature on most rooms. We like their promotion ‘Collection 10 nights, Get 1 free’.
TripAdvisor.com – Read reviews, compare prices, and book your perfect trip. Trip Advisor offers a wide variety of travel options with links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find great hotel prices. We consult this site many times while planning our trips to get information like where to stay, what to do, where to eat, how to get around, etc.
World Nomads – The World Nomads site is easy to navigate. The travel insurance is affordable and can be easily extended as many times as you’d like. Reporting claims is simple. As with all insurance, be sure you need it and read the fine print to make sure it’s right for you. I buy my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in depth coverage. They are also recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographic.
Viator – Viator is the easiest way to plan the activities once you arrive at your destination. You can book tours, plan day trips, buy tickets, and discover other things to do and attractions to see.
Photo Jeepers – The Destination Travel Guides & Photo Tips offered by Photo Jeepers (yes, that’s us!) include detailed information, color photos and photo tips specific to that location.
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