PLAN & BOOK YOUR TRIP
Need some help deciding where to go, what to do, or just wondering how to find the cool local spots in any city you visit?
Well don’t worry AT ALL because I have all the resources below to help you travel like a local. Full disclosure, some of the options below do include affiliate links, so if you use their services I get a small percentage – BUT I only recommend companies and services that I myself have used and think are great. You get the double benefit of signing up for a great service, AND helping me out with beer money! (Beer makes for better travel stories I can then share with y’all).
Also, I have included my own travel planning services I offer over at Plansify, so if you need direct help, shoot me any questions or plan a Skype session so we can figure it out!
STAY With a Local
Airbnb ($20 Credit With Link):
- This has to be one of the best services for local travelers anywhere in the world. I used Airbnb almost exclusively for a 6 week, 7 country solo trip, and staying in local apartments and houses rather than an impersonal hotel chain really made me feel like part of each neighborhood I visited, rather than just another tourist. You also have the option to stay with hosts who can help show you around.
- Best of all, since I am now an Airbnb affiliate, if you sign up using my referral link you get $20 off your first stay! Sign up for my newsletter as well, as my readers get exclusive access to upcoming discounts and deals for Airbnb!
- If you’re looking to exclusively crash with someone local in the next place you visit, check out Homestay.com. You get a live-in host who can talk to you about their town, their life, and recommend places you might never have found otherwise. Check out the homestay possibilities on their site.
As an alternative, you can always use Booking.com to find a cool guesthouse or hostel.
EAT With a Local
- VizEat lets you sign up for a home-cooked meal provided by a local host with several other travelers around the table to share stories and travel tips. It’s like having a distant relative in the destination of your choice that you can drop in on for that quality, home-y feeling. I tried VizEat for the first time in Budapest, and the experience was one of the best travel nights of my life!
EXPLORE With a Local
- Context Travel has a variety of walking tours throughout Europe (with some in North American and Asia now), led mostly by locals who really know their stuff. I got led through the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona by a local architect who was a walking encyclopedia of both Catalan history and Gaudi’s architecture.
- You know how sometimes you’re going somewhere and really wish you had a friend there you could ask something random? Like what’s the best neighborhood to stay at if you want to be close to the good bars? Or if its worth it to go to Santa Fe in winter? Well Trippy is here to help you out. Any time a random thought like that flits through my mind, I put it out to the community, and usually get one to multiple responses within 24 hours. Try it out!
PLAN it All Out
- TripIt is truly a blessing for the lazy traveler (yes, I’m looking at me. And probably you too). You sign up, forward your confirmation e-mails to the service, and from then on EVERYTHING you plan just gets sent to you in one nice itinerary. Honestly, I haven’t sent a confirmation e-mail in ages, and they still know when I book things and send me an itinerary. They’re the organizer for travelers who hate organizing, but are also lost without it. It’s perfect!
- I offer travel consulting services on Plansify, and my specialties include solo travel, adventure travel, US travel, Greece travel, Italy travel, and helpful information on a bunch of countries I’ve been to (33 and counting) plus travel in general. You can arrange to either ask me three questions you need help with when planning your trip, or book a 1-hour Skype call with me.
CAPTURE Your Travels
- You can buy any DSLR body, lenses, and accessories you could possibly need for your travels on the Ritz Camera store. This is where I bought my Canon 5D Mark III.
- Everyone has probably heard of GoPros by now, and they really are great for taking action shots, underwater shots, attaching to any vehicle/helmet you need, etc. The only thing I would not use them for is night shots – there is a definite downgrade in resolution.
As a bonus, below I have included my top articles relating to booking, planning your travel, and having a great time. Read everything from packing tips, to how to get over jet lag, to how to find the perfect homestay!