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.
Disclosure: Some of the links provided are affiliate links or paid placements; however, I only accept and insert affiliates and sites that I believe are helpful to my readers, and align with my blog’s purpose and message.
General Travel Advice Posts & Sites:
101 Ways to Travel Like a Local – I firmly believe connecting with locals and living some part of the local lifestyle, to the extent you can, results in much more immersive and fulfilling travels. In this post, I give you 101 tips, apps, websites, guidelines, and other advice so you can travel like a local.
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.
Traveling With a Medical Condition – Some of my readers inquired about what they can do if they have a medical condition that makes traveling more of a challenge. I unfortunately don’t know much about this issue, but this insurance company’s guide seems like a handy tool for travelers who have such conditions, yet will want to explore the world!
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.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards:
Travel rewards credit cards can help you book dream trips you never though possible, or even get entire flights for free if you save up enough!
Choosing the right cards, getting sign-up bonuses, enrolling in loyalty programs, and using the cards to their maximum potential helps frequent travelers get by on a lot less money than they would otherwise need.
FULL GUIDE TO TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARDS – US News & World Report
If you read the report above from US News & World Report, you will get an excellent introductory crash course into using credit cards and loyalty programs for maximum gain. Here are the cards I personally use:
Barclaycard Arrival – The Barclaycard is an excellent card for frequent travelers; unlike many other cards that require you to book through card using the miles or points, Barclaycard allows you to redeem any and all travel expenses, including flights, hotel stays, and rentals. I got a 40,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $3000 in 3 months, but the offers change over time, so always be sure to check.
Chase Sapphire Rewards – The Chase Sapphire Rewards card gives you a 50,000 point bonus when you spend $4,000 in 3 months. Though Chase runs a lot of limited offers that are even better than this (such as a recent 100,000 sign up bonus for their new card), so always keep an eye out to know when to sign up.
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.
9 Reasons Everyone Should Try Solo Travel At Least Once – One of my favorite posts, and one of my audience’s favorite posts as well. I outline most of the reasons I love solo travel, and why I think it’s a great adventure everyone should undertake at least once in their lives.
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.
Glossika: I was a bit wary of Glossika when I first heard about it. Touted as a way to help you with accent, cadence, and pronunciation in a foreign language, and most of all, as a way to train your ear so you can understand native speakers, it seemed like a resource that would only be useful after you had already mastered a language to an intermediate degree. However, hearing common phrases you would ACTUALLY use in day to day life – I love you DuoLingo, but “I have three ducks” and “I carry the pen” are not things that generally roll off my tongue in daily conversation – repeated by native speakers at normal speed really drills the phrases into your brain. I consider success in learning a language to be when I don’t even have to stop and think about how to translate something; I just answer a native speaker’s question or comment on what they said without having to think too much about it. This is what Glossika helps you do SO fast.
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!
The Everywhereist – I laugh out loud on every single one of Geraldine’s posts.
Young Adventuress – Liz is authentic, funny, blunt, and sarcastic. That is the highest compliment I can give to a writer. Her photography is also mindblowing, which always helps.
Oneika the Traveller – I love Oneika’s opinionated, humorous posts as well as her videos. She writes eloquently about the almost 100 countries she’s been to, while also delving into relevant travel topics of the day.
Finding the Universe – The photography on this blog is truly amazing.
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 Blog Abroad – I have met Gloria many times, and I can tell you she is just as opinionated, warm and funny in real life as she is in her posts.
Borders of Adventure – Becki’s blog is one of my favorites, because she dives deeply into social and cultural issues on many of her posts, which I am keenly interested in, and also includes plenty of in-depth looks at little visited corners of the world.
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 a lot of enthusiasm, and a lot of concern for responsible and sustainable tourism.