On this page, I’ve curated a list of all of the resources that I use and love to plan my trips, find travel inspiration, and build my blog! There are plenty of tools out there, and I’ve tried quite a few of them, these are the tools that have helped me the most. Bookmark, or pin, this page to help you plan your next trip. I consistently update it with useful tools I discover!
By the way, some of the links below are affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. I use all of the companies listed below because they’re legit and have helped me in my travels. If you’re booking a trip and would like to support this website so I can keep bringing you awesome information using these links is one way to do that!
Now that the business is out of the way, let’s get to it!
Airfare is typically the most expensive and challenging aspects of travel. Deciding when to book a ticket so I get the best price possible is a difficult game, that I don’t always win, but I try my hardest! Once I find the cheapest and most direct option with the resources below, I always book directly with the specific airline, unless I’m using my points. Booking directly with the airline helps in the long run if there are any problems with the flight ie: delays, cancellations, or changes I need to make.
I typically start with Google Flights and use the explore option which allows me to discover if I can get a flight to a close destination and then take a local train or cheaper airline to my final destination.
Then I move to Skyscanner to compare prices with Google Flights results. Skyscanner has a wide variety of budget airlines as well.
I love the Hopper app. I put in the date I’d like to travel and a few options for destinations and it tracks the flight prices and fluctuations. It also gives recommendations based on if I should wait or book immediately. Honestly, I don’t follow those recommendations blindly. I’ll let the app track for about a week and pay attention to the prices when I find a flight that suits my budget, I’ll book directly with the airline.
Quite possibly the second, and perhaps the first depending on travel style, biggest expense for a trip is the accommodation. But, it doesn’t have to be! There are great budget-friendly, and even free, options for where to sleep as well. I rarely stay in hotels, opting for hostels or CouchSurfing with the occasional Airbnb.
When I get tired of the hostel life, I will get a private room in an Airbnb for a few days. Airbnb connects homeowners who rent out their entire home or a room to you. Staying at an Airbnb is an excellent way to get the comforts of home, stay in a local neighborhood, and pay much less than a hotel room. (Use this link to save $40 on your stay)
Hostelworld is my starting point for finding cheap, but awesome, accommodation. It has a great selection of hostels, is easy to use, find reviews, and book through the site. It’s also not just hostels anymore, there are some B&Bs listed too!
Booking.com is an excellent resource for finding hostels, cheap hotels, and other accommodation. I’ve started booking through them as most hostels on Booking don’t require a deposit and they have a nice rewards program. I used it frequently in South America as it had more budget-friendly options than other sites.
CouchSurfing is a great way to stay for free on someone’s couch or sometimes a private room. The website allows you to message hosts in cities you’ll be visiting to request a stay. It’s a great way to meet locals, get insider tips, and see a different side of the city, all for free! If you decide not to CouchSurf, the website also has events for locals and travelers to meet up! For more insight on how to succeed with CouchSurfing check out this resource.
Trying to find the most cost-effective and direct route between destinations is a lot of work, let these resources help you!
Rome2Rio is the ultimate website to plan transportation between cities. All you have to do is input your destinations and Rome2Rio will provide multiple modes of transportation to help get you there including; planes, trains, buses, uber, bla bla car, etc. The site also provides approximate costs and links to where to purchase tickets in advance, if needed.
I took Flixbus throughout Europe and only once was it delayed, which I found out through the message they sent! The buses are comfortable, have toilets, WiFi (sometimes it works), and charging points. For longer journeys, the bus will stop along the road so you can pick up snacks. It’s an affordable option for getting to your next destination!
At this point, I think everyone uses Uber and it’s available in many countries. It is a reliable way to get from point A to point B! For free Uber ride (up to $5) use this link!
Travel gear has become my favorite thing to shop for! I oddly enjoy wandering around a store trying to find the best organizational system or latest gear to help me travel lighter, smarter, and safer! These resources have been my favorite!
REI is my go to store for my travel gear. I purchased my backpack, packing cubes, hiking boots, clothing and much more from REI. I also like their REI Garage on their website where you can find discounted items.
I discovered Moosejaw while I was living in Detroit. It’s a small version of REI with many of the same great brands at competitive prices. They offer free shipping on orders over $35 and 10% back on full price items that you can use for a future purchase.
Athleta clothing has been a staple in my backpack since the start. I love their leisure wear for travel days and their hiking pants held strong on my hike to Machu Picchu. Plus, if you’re a yoga teacher or a fitness professional, you receive 30% off!
I started using World Nomads travel insurance because it provides in-depth coverage, competitive pricing, and good customer service. Plus, it was recommended by Lonely Planet and the National Geographic which must mean it’s legit.
Lonely Planet Guidebooks are my preferred guidebook to help me plan budget-friendly trips. I much prefer their books to their website. If you’re doing a multi-country trip, I highly recommend downloading the books on Kindle so you’re not carrying them around!
Workaway is the ultimate source for finding volunteer opportunities abroad. Volunteer opportunities include working in a hostel, on eco farms, with child care, etc. After creating your profile, type in your destination to find unique opportunities to give back in exchange for room and board. I’ve even seen some that offer payment as well.
Angloville is an English immersion program in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary. They connect native English speakers with individuals who want to learn English. Your role as an English teacher is to have conversations with the participants for the week. You can choose to volunteer with adults, children, or kids and in a variety of locations in exchange for room and board for the week. Additionally, after completing three weeks with them, you are eligible for the TEFL course which will open up additional opportunities to earn money on the road.
DaDaABC is an online platform where native English speakers teach English to children in China. A TEFL is not a requirement as they provide all of the materials for the classes. If you’d like to earn your TEFL, they do offer TEFL programs as well.
YogaTrade connects yoga teachers with locations around the world interested in offering yoga. At times these locations are yoga retreats, hotels, hostels, or camps. YogaTrade also posts jobs related to yoga, such as vegan chefs, meditation teacher, massage therapist, and even photographers and marketers!
If you’re considering starting a blog to document your travels, and want to earn income with it, these resources have helped me greatly. I believe in learning from people who have been successful where I’d like to find success. Blogging takes a lot of work and patience, so what’s the point in recreating the wheel? Below are courses I’ve found success with and resources I used to start and grow my blog. If you’d like a quick rundown on how to start a travel blog, read this.
Nomadic Matt was the first travel blogger I discovered when I planned my first trip and I’ve been following him ever since. His blogging course helped me go from fumbling to focused. But it’s not just blogging, it’s a full school of photography, writing, and vlogging. The courses are easy to follow, there are monthly webinars, and amazing tech support to help you get your blog started!
Make Traffic Happen
I met the women behind Make Traffic Happen at my very first travel blogging conference and they changed the game for my relationship with SEO. They offer two incredible books that break down SEO in an easy to understand and implement way. But if you’re not ready to make a purchase, that’s cool too, they also offer a free Facebook group where you can get your questions answered, find collaboration or guest posting opportunities, and find a community of bloggers!
Pinterest is the number one traffic source to my blog right now, thanks to this Pinterest Course. It’s geared toward travel bloggers and helped me take my Pinterest from a mess of random boards to a focused place for my readers to find the content they need.
There are lots of hosting sites out there, Bluehost is the one I use. I’ve used their customer support multiple times and always received a prompt, and helpful, response. It’s cheap to start out and they offer everything you’ll need. I highly recommend them!
The one thing you’ll learn early on is the importance of building an email list. I used MailChimp for a year before I switched to ConvertKit. Why did I make the switch? I found ConvertKit easier to use and while MailChimp is free, it does begin charging after a certain number of emails each month. The customer service at ConvertKit is great as well! Get a month free trial here!
The majority of the websites mentioned also have an app version. In addition to having those on your phone, I also recommend using the following.
Locals respect you when you at least try to speak their language. Learning a few words will go a long way with making you feel comfortable in a foreign country as well.
TripIt connects to your email and imports any itineraries into the app keeping everything in one place. No more having to scroll through your inbox to find your flight or hotel info.
WhatsApp is my favorite way to communicate with people I meet on the road. It’s free and works through WiFi so there’s no need to use data for it.
The following books will inspire your wanderlust and help you overcome fear so you can act on that inspiration!
How to Travel the World on $50/day
Another recommendation for one of Nomadic Matt’s products. This book goes into detail about How to Travel on $50/day which makes travel more accessible to many people.
A Year of Living Danishly
This informative read details a UK woman’s move to Denmark, the happiest country in the world. She embarks on a year of discovering what makes Danes so happy.
You are a Badass
One of my favorite personal development books by Jen Sincero. It helps you understand and overcome fear so that you can get out of your own way and start living the life you desire.