Trying to get the best travel advice, plan your own trip, and save money doing it? This is the place to be! I have included some links to my best advice posts, and then websites I find extremely helpful for travel planning and inspiration.
General Travel Advice & Sites:
7 Ways to Beat Jet Lag – Don’t let jet lag ruin the first days of your trip! Check out my post on the 7 best ways to beat jet lag through your sleep cycle, food habits, and of course, using the best apps available for the job.
Beginner’s Guide to Finding a Homestay – I always believe staying with locals is one of the best ways to see a destination. If you want to find a homestay in order to get an insider’s feel for where you’re going, look over this guide.
Why Travel Is Less Dangerous Than You Think – One of the biggest myths floating around about travel, especially solo travel, is that it is an insanely risky thing to do. I (dis)respectfully disagree, and have written up a post to show that, while you should be careful while you travel, visiting most countries abroad can be just as safe as traveling around cities in your home country. The former economics nerd in me has included a table of statistics and comparisons. You have been warned.
The Ultimate Guide to Travel Insurance – Finding travel insurance that suits you and adequately covers both the destinations you want to visit and the activities you want to take part in is harder than you might think. This ultimate guide to travel insurance helps you sort through the loopholes in insurance, so you don’t end up learning after a theft or accident that something you thought was covered was not on the policy at all. You can also compare different travel insurances and see which one is best for you.
Trover – Trover is an amazing site for scoping out local recommendations for your next destination, especially if you’re visiting a major city. Users pin places and photos to give you an idea of what’s cool in their city.
Road Trip Advice & Sites:
25 Best Road Trip Apps – There’s an app for everything, so obviously there are several to help you plan, organize, execute, and save money on a perfect road trip.
10 Rules for Eating on the Road – Your stomach will thank you.
Beginner’s Guide to Off Road Cars & Driving – If you want to add a little more adventure to your road trips, this is basically a complete newbie’s guide to everything you ever wanted to know about off road driving. AKA what I wish I had known before my first couple of off road excursions led to me stranded in sand and/or ditches.
7 Best Artists for Your US Road Trip Playlist – A selection of singers and bands I love to listen to (and, if I’ve been driving long enough, belt out their songs) while speeding down the open road.
Music Road Trip : Fun site to help you arrange a playlist for the road. Fill in an artist you want your playlist to start with, and what artist you want your playlist to end with. It will fill in a playlist for you with musicians that transition smoothly from your first choice artist to your last choice artist.
Roadtrippers : My personal favorite site for planning out your road trip across the United States. Plan out your route, even get the site to suggest stops along the way, and it will figure out approximate driving hours, mileage, and gas costs.
Travel Websites to Save Money:
Travel Hacking Cartel – A great site to join if you want to earn frequent flyer miles without leaving the ground. E-mails with new deals come straight to your inbox. There is a small fee to join, but I’ve been a member for a year now and have found I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.
Flyer Talk – Again, another great site for miles, but also for mileage runs. If you’re the kind of person who looks out for great mileage run deals on flights, check out the FlyerTalk forum and look under “Mileage Run Deals” to get a heads up if an airline is running an especially low price on long-haul flights.
OneTravel – For some reason, I’ve always gotten the cheapest flight deals through OneTravel when I couldn’t find them elsewhere. Check out this site, especially if you’re booking a last minute flight and want to do it as cheaply as possible.
Adioso – I love this site for booking flights, because you can search for a certain flight route, and then put an alert on that route. Meaning every time there is a price drop for that route, you get a notification in your inbox so you can book your dream destination when its cheapest!
CouchSurfing – If you don’t mind crashing on someone’s guest room, couch, or air mattress, using the CouchSurfing site pretty much allows you to lodge for free in your destination! Just sign up, create a profile (I’ve had one for about a year), and then search for people hosting in the location you are planning to visit. You can message them asking if their place is available on your travel dates, or if they’re at least free to meet up with you and give you some pointers on touring their hometown.
Home Exchange: Swap houses with someone across the globe for a while – stay at their house when you get to your destination, and they stay in yours.
Priceline – I hope William Shatner has convinced you that Priceline has some of the best deals on hotel bookings, because it really does.
YonderBound – A great site for finding hotel deals, and making “Yonderboxes” (like Pinterest boards) of hotels to plan your trip.
Google Flights – If you want to book a cheap trip, and are flexible on your destination, Google Flights is a great tool. You can input your prospective travel dates, and it will give you prices to EVERY major destination on the globe. Pick an affordable one (and you’ll be surprised sometimes by which cities are affordable), and book the trip! The only drawback is, it only works if your starting location is in certain countries, such as the USA.
5 Personal Benefits of Living Abroad Alone – If you’re scared to take that first step to long-term exploration of another country, read this article to learn why it may be the best thing for you to do.
10 Quotes That Will Make You Want to Travel – Inspiration from the greatest minds and writers, both travel and otherwise, of the last century.
Matador Network: This online travel site has great articles on traveling tips, destinations, and also possible jobs to take on to help you pursue long-term travel. In addition, Matador University provides online courses for three careers in travel work : travel photography, travel writing, and travel filmmaking.
I’ve found an amazing article on the BlueGala fashion site on packing efficiently for a trip, and it has been my guide ever since. The easy-to-understand infographic is below, and you can link to the article by clicking on the picture.
For those of you who would like to pick up a little of the local language before heading abroad, but don’t want to purchase expensive programs like Rosetta Stone, there are so many free or cheap resources for language learning online. I love learning at least basic conversational skills in as many languages as I can (so far I know English, Greek, Italian, and am trying to pick up conversational Spanish and German), so I’ve researched quite a lot of sites and these are the ones I like best:
Duo Lingo: Free instruction in Italian, Spanish, German, French, or Portuguese. Uses similar method to Rosetta Stone, merging picture & word association, audio and pronunciation exercises into your learning method. Also gives you a good indication of how many words you’ve learned so far and how far you have progressed.
Memrise: A site containing courses to help you learn almost any subject (medical, science, language, trivia, etc.), but very useful for language as well. Has a better selection of languages than DuoLingo (I found 15 I could at least learn the basics of on the site), but cannot check your pronunciation.
Fluent in 3 Months: Benny, the Irish world traveler who runs the site, has a system that he says guarantees fluency in 3 months. Though his ebook is not free, it is relatively inexpensive and a great deal for what you’re getting. If you know you’re going to spend an extended amount of time in another country and have a couple of months to prepare, definitely go hear Benny’s tips on language learning and get his book on the site. Benny himself speaks 11 languages, and he only knew English even up until his early 20s.
Blogs I Love:
This is going to be a pretty long list, but there are a lot of travel blogs I can’t get enough of. I’ve included it here because these bloggers give excellent advice about destinations, and browsing their sites can give you ideas for trips you’d never even dreamed about!
Never Ending Footsteps – Lauren has had quite a lot of bad luck on her travels, but she keeps such an awesomely positive attitude about it all.
The Everywhereist – I laugh out loud on every single one of Geraldine’s posts.
Young Adventuress – Liz is authentic, funny, blunt, and sometimes sarcastic. That is the highest compliment I can give to a writer.
Finding the Universe – The photography on this blog is truly amazing.
Beers & Beans – Great writing, great photos, a lot of posts on food, and they love beer. What else do you need, really?
Goats on the Road – One of the best blogs to get inspired to take an adventure.
The Planet D – Dave and Deb recently won the 2014 award for Best Travel Blog, and it is highly deserved.
The Expert Vagabond – If you’re into extreme adventures and travel stories, you’ll love Matt’s blog. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.
Green Global Travel – I met Bret and Mary at this year’s TBEX in Athens, and they are truly wonderful people. Their blog is a great insight into sustainable, eco-oriented travel.
Tourist 2 Townie – Gareth is all about super-slow travel, so he can experience each place like a real local. I love his philosophy of really getting the inside scoop on a place.
Uncornered Market – Daniel and Audrey love off the beaten path travel and experiences.
Just One Way Ticket – Sabrina is awesomely quirky and fun, and it comes through in her writing. Her posts read like e-mails from a friend abroad.
Girl vs. Globe – Sabina is a young travel blogger with an eye for fashion, beautiful places, and cute boys around the world.