Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start!
Between finding the best flight deals, hotel prices, car rentals, or tour operators, travel planning for adventures can cause you a massive headache. With over 15 years of experience traveling and living abroad, I have used many different travel companies and below are the exact ones I have tried and tested myself. From travel gadgets, through to flights, accommodation advice and preferred tour operators, here are a few sites and services I simply couldn’t ever travel without!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I use all the companies listed here and recommend them because they make planning my trips easier and have made my travels memorable. If you are ready to book your trip and would like to support this website, using these links is one way to do that. Please do not spend any money you don’t feel they are right for you. If you have any questions about the companies, feel free to e-mail me.
My go-to website for searching for flights. Skyscanners compares a lot of different airlines including budget airlines such as Easyjet, WizzAir and Ryanair. I also love their “Everywhere” function, which allows me to search for the cheapest flights from where I am and their “Cheapest by month” which shows you the cheapest fares to your chosen destination so you can plan your adventures smartly!
Another awesome flight research tool that I use alongside Skyscanner. Great tool if you’re searching for multi cities or are flexible with your dates and routes. They also have a cool nomad feature where you can enter the destinations you would like to visit and then it calculates the cheapest possible route between them. I have yet to use this feature yet but having tested it numerous times, it has come out with some great money-saving options.
Under 35 years old? It may be worth checking out STA Travel, a reputable student/youth tour operator who has some great around the world tickets and flight offers for under 35-year-olds. We have booked 2 long haul flights with STA Travel, which also allow you to pay a small deposit to book your flight and you can pay the balance later, which helps when you have to budget for your trip and can’t pay the full amount up front.
I very rarely use any other website for booking my hotels. Booking.com has the largest selection of accommodation options from hostels to five-star hotels, apartments, and villas. They also offer free cancellation, no booking fees, and some great money-saving deals if you sign up for their “Genius” program.
I used Agoda a lot when I was traveling in Asia as I found it had the best selection of hotels and guesthouses. They have good regional offers which you can’t find on any other hotel aggregator website and most places have reviews which were useful to read before booking.
Connecting homeowners to people like you and me, Airbnb is where you’ll find local apartments, houses, villas, and quirky accommodation options. This is a great option for those traveling as a group or who want the space and comforts of home. Sign up with this link to get off your first stay!
Sometimes having searched through Trivago.com I have found cheaper hotel offers on this website. I have reverted to Hotels.com if the price is the same or very little difference to booking.com because they offer a rewards program with a free hotel night for every 10 nights booked.
Flixbus is my go-to method for cheap travel around Europe. I have used Flixbus multiple times while living in Prague as it connects to 99% of European cities. It has super cheap fares, comfortable coaches that are clean and have free WIFI. If you don’t mind sitting on a bus, Flixbus is a great cost-effective method of travel. They also have a useful app where you can book tickets on the go and last minute with no need to print your tickets.
DayTrip is one of the best city to city transfer companies out there. If you’re looking for more comfort then trains and buses offer, Day Trip is the perfect option for you, connecting many European cities by private car. We have found this useful for getting to cities that aren’t easily accessible by public transport. They also offer great stopover options for a few hours as you travel from city to city, great if you’re on limited time.
Since we do not own a car, we hire cars a lot and we have found RentalCars.com to consistently offer the best prices with some of the top worldwide car rental companies as well as local car rental companies that sometimes do not show up on larger price comparison websites. They operate in over 160 countries worldwide and there are no hidden fees or small print catches which we have found on other rental car company websites.
I used to work for Busabout so perhaps I am a little biased however, they offer a stress-free way to travel around Europe, Asia, and North America on a Hop-on Hop-off travel network system which allows travelers the ability to create their own adventure when they purchase a country or regional pass for a set period of time. They also offer some great cruises in Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and Thailand for a very reasonable price.
Small-group adventure travel operator that has an emphasis on fun and local experiences. We traveled to Vietnam with them in 2010 and they gained our seal of approval. They offer a wide range of trip styles, from National Geographic Journeys to budget style YOLO adventures, family and wellness retreats.
Thanks to their handy app and huge selection of tours available, Get Your Guide has become our go-to company for booking city tours and excursions. We have used them in over 10 countries since have a wide selection of activities, although be sure to read the tour reviews before booking.
Renowned for being the party company for youth travel, Contiki still has some of the best tour options for those looking to travel on a budget, in a group style and mingle with like-minded people. They cover every continent (excet Antarctica) and have great deals for those with flexible plans.
If you plan on traveling around solely by train then this website needs to be bookmarked right now. I can’t count how many times I have used this site to find out information on train travel and how much money it has saved me with its valuable information vs booking through Eurail or RailEurope which often have elevated prices. It tells you how to travel from Point A to Point B via train and contains all the info you need, including routes, prices, timetables, where to book the cheapest tickets and more.
Disclosure: While I work for Go Real Europe, they are one of the best online trip planners for independent travelers coming to Central Europe. With over 30 destinations you can put together your ideal European vacation including hotels, tours, transportation and things to do and see in under 2 minutes and receive a personalized itinerary tailored to your interests and total trip package with no hidden costs which can be booked with a small despoit. Plus you’ll receive 24 hour emerganecy assistence during your trip too
This website allows you to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B in the fastest or cheapest method possible. We love this website and have used it multiple times while traveling and love that it works offline too. It pulls in ferry, bus, and train timetables, as well as flight fares and routes and all the related costs. The fares shown aren’t always the cheapest so we use this alongside other websites mentioned above to work out the best route and costs.