We’ve made a lot of mistakes while traveling. We’ve booked hotel rooms in dodgy neighborhoods, paid way too much for bus tickets, forgotten important items behind, and even accidentally flooded a bathroom in an Airbnb by not putting the washing machine hookup into the bathtub.
Through trial and error, we’ve discovered some of the best websites, apps and tools that can help travelers avoid (most) of those problems. Some are better than others, so we compiled this list to help you find the resources out there and make your travels go as smoothly as possible.
63 Travel Resources That’ll Help You Travel Like A Pro
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Hotels & Accommodations
AirBnb – We stayed in Airbnbs exclusively during our travels in Europe, but they’re a bit more sparse in Asia. Plus, you can find some pretty unique places to stay! Use this link to get $55 off your first Airbnb booking!
Agoda – Discount hotel booking site that’s popular in Asia. They often have the cheapest hotel prices in Southeast Asia, but beware of hidden fees.
Booking.com – We love booking hotels through Booking, because they have the best customer service. We’ve booked enough through them that we are “Genius Level 2,” which gives us 15% off select hotels and even the occasional free breakfast and room upgrade.
Hotwire – We’ve found some pretty stellar deals on Hotwire…the only catch is that you don’t know the exact hotel you’re staying at until you book. But you will know the location, star rating, etc. This allows them to offer better deals.
Hotels Tonight – If you need a last minute hotel room, it’s worth checking out for last minute deals. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it pays off!
Google Hotels – Google’s search engine for comparing hotel deals. It’s a good place to begin your hotel search if you aren’t sure which platform to use.
TripAdvisor – Awesome for checking what other travelers are doing in a certain destination. You can also book tours on TripAdvisor, but we’ve found they’re often overpriced.
Culture Trip – They make great listicles on things to do in many locations around the globe.
Atlas Obscura – Do you like doing unique things while traveling? Us too! This website helps give info about under-the-radar things to do around the world.
Reddit – Look up “r/[country or city name here]” and you’ll find some practical information from Reddit’s community of travelers. r/Travel and r/SoloTravel are good communities to look at too.
Pinterest – A visual search engine that’s perfect for finding in depth blog posts on destinations around the globe.
Google Flights – We’ve found that time and time again it’s the best way to book cheap flights. Pro tip: always book directly with the airline (if possible) to have more security in the event of cancellation or delays.
SkyScanner – Great platform to search for flight deals, we love it for it’s “everywhere” destination feature.
Kiwi – Another budget booking site. It’s most popular in Europe, but often has great deals worldwide.
12Go.Asia – This is our go-to website for booking transit in Asia. They sell plane, train, bus, and ferry tickets in pretty much every country in Asia.
Rome2Rio – Covering over 160 countries, Rome2Rio is the best way to figure out how to get from point A to point B. We used it frequently in Europe to find the websites for train and bus operators since it offers click-throughs to book tickets.
GetByBus – We used this platform for booking bus tickets in the Balkans and southern Europe.
BookMeBus – Another bus ticket booking option for Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
FlixBus – The best (and most often cheapest) way to get around Western and Central Europe. They have WiFi and clean bathrooms on their buses. What’s not to like?
Grab – A MUST-HAVE for travel in Southeast Asia. You can book cars, motorbikes, and even order food delivery on the Grab app.
Uber – A great way to not get ripped off by cab drivers in foreign cities where you’re not sure of the going rate.
Bolt – a European ride-sharing app which is most popular in Central and Eastern Europe. Bolt also has a presence in a handful of African countries too.
Google Maps – Google Maps is king for a reason. Pro tip: Download offline maps to save on data and to have a back up if you don’t have cell service!
Expedia – with options to book lodging, flights, and rental cars, Expedia is a good all-around site. It’s particularly useful if you need a 24-hour refundable flight. Note: this is best used if entering a country that requires proof of onward travel. We’ve never personally encountered anyone asking, but it’s good to have Expedia as an option.
Apps We Use
Books – we all know we should read more. Regardless of what app you use, browse the bargain section as there are always great reads for $4 or less.
Narwhal – the best mobile application for using Reddit, in Jack’s humble opinion. Download for iOS only.
Credit Cards, ATM Cards, and Finance
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – best for premium perks, such as Priority Pass lounge access. Earn 3 points per dollar on travel and dining worldwide.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – offers great travel perks, such as primary rental car insurance. Earn 2 points per dollar on travel.
Capital One Venture Card – easiest travel rewards redemption program. Earn 2 points per dollar on all purchases.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Card – good for US domestic flyers flying Southwest frequently
Charles Schwab ATM Card – a must for Americans travelers who travel internationally thanks to its monthly ATM-fee refunds and no foreign transaction fees. Also includes $0.00 commissions on stock trading!
Cellular and Internet Connectivity
Google Fi – great international phone plan for Americans. Phone plans start $20/month and then $10 for every GB of data.
ZTE Mobile Hotspot – any mobile hotspot should function about the same, but we like our ZTE hotspot. We put a new SIM card in when we get to a new country, and then can connect up to 10 devices at a time.
Private Internet Access – there are tons of reasons to use VPNS, and plenty to choose from, but Jack has been using PIA since 2014 and loves it. They have servers in 29 countries so worldwide connection speeds have been consistent everywhere we’ve been.
How to buy a local SIM card – a great guide for how to buy a local SIM card in much of the world.
Travel and Safety
SafetyWing. If you want to make sure you have health insurance while traveling the world, we use Safety Wing Health Insurance. It’s made for digital nomads…plus it’s very affordable! It’s $40 bucks a month and it only takes about 5 minutes to sign up.
US State Department Travel Advisories – look up travel advisories, visa requirements, vaccination requirements, and currency restrictions. The colored world map is a great tool as well. Most countries have pages setup for travelers, and here are the link for our Canadian and European friends.
CDC’s Yellow Fever Vaccine & Malaria Prophylaxis Information, by Country – find out if your destination requires yellow fever or malaria prevention.
List of US Embassies – find out where US embassies are worldwide.
Global Entry– skip the lines at US Customs and Immigration with Global Entry. The process takes at least a few weeks so start this process well before you travel. Once you have Global Entry, you’ll also get TSA PreCheck.
TSA PreCheck – skip the lines at security. With PreCheck you don’t need to remove your: shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets.
WorldTimeBuddy – Easy conversion of time zones across the world.
Money Saving Tips
We’ve got a full post on 53 Ways To Save Money While Traveling, but here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks for saving money while traveling.
Free Walking Tours – Many major cities are now offering free walking tours. They’re an informative way to explore a new city on the cheap. Simply google “free walking tour” with the name of the city you’re visiting to see if they’re offered.
AirHelp – If your flight is delayed or cancelled and it was going to, from, or within Europe, use AirHelp. They help you take advantage of a European Union law, where passengers experiencing delays are eligible for refunds. You can file claims directly with the airline, but AirHelp does all the heavy lifting. We have personally received over $1,000 USD in refunds thanks to AirHelp!
LifeStraw Water Bottle – These will save you a ton of money, particularly if you are traveling to a developing country where the tap water isn’t safe to drink. The water bottle has a removable filter that allows you to refill it with tap water from anywhere in the world. It’ll save you money, and reduce plastic waste!