Looking to plan your next amazing vacation? Don’t stress. We got you covered with our favorite travel resources.
With so many travel resources, knowing which ones to trust can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of over 25 of our top travel resources for both work and personal travel.
As someone who coordinates travel logistics as part of my day job, I know how important it is to have reliable resources at your fingertips. And as a travel enthusiast, I love nothing more than researching and booking exciting new adventures.
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Favorite Travel Resources
1. Google Maps
⭐️ Google Maps is the ultimate travel resource that I rely on for all my trips. Whether it’s for work or vacation, I always start by pulling up Google Maps to get a clear understanding of the destination. From finding the nearest airport and hotels to deciding on transportation options like car rentals, Uber, or public transit, Google Maps has all the answers.
When planning vacations with my husband, we love to sit at a coffee shop and explore the points of interest on the map. We can quickly identify the nearest cities and decide on transportation options like flying or taking a train. We can even plan road trips and check distances and drive times with Google Maps.
Having a map at your disposal opens up a world of possibilities and helps you discover unexplored places.
- You can plan routes.
- Check distances and drive times.
- Take advantage of Street View when available.
- Figure out public transportation routes and timetables.
Travel Tip: Did you know you can mark locations on Google Maps by dropping pins and then saving the map for future use? See an example of my saved Kauai map here.
2. Travel Guides & Books
Travel guides are more than just guidebooks – they’re captivating novels that transport you to far-off destinations. Whenever planning a trip, I make it a point to purchase 1-2 travel guides for my destination.
I mark up the pages with notes, highlights, and bookmarks, noting what piques my interest.
Travel guides are more than just research. It’s a way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of a place before you even arrive. It’s a way to build excitement and anticipation for the adventures ahead.
Here are some of our favorite travel guides:
3. Facebook Groups
In the digital era, Facebook Groups have become a go-to resource for travel planning. Whether you’re looking for general advice, specific destinations, or travel awards, there’s a group for you.
These groups offer a wealth of practical and authentic knowledge, with members sharing their experiences and insider tips. From planning a cruise to exploring a new city or country, you can find a group that can provide valuable insights and advice.
So why not take advantage of this incredible resource? With a quick search on Facebook, you can join a group and tap into a wealth of knowledge to help you plan your dream vacation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with fellow travelers who share your passion for exploring the world.
Monitor & Research Flights
4. Google Flights
⭐️ When searching for the best flights and routes, you want to start with Google Flights. This tool lets you simultaneously see what all the airlines offer in one convenient place.
I rely on Google Flights for 90% of my flight searches, as it gives me a comprehensive overview of what airlines fly to a particular destination and if there are any non-stop flights available. The date grids and price graphs are also incredibly helpful if you have the flexibility to adjust your travel plans.
One of the best features of Google Flights is that when you find a flight you want to book, it takes you directly to the airline’s website to book. However, you should always compare the cost directly on the airline’s flight to check.
Tip: If you're just browsing and still have time to book, track prices and get email updates on your search.
Sometimes I may jump to Skyscanner, but I don’t find it as linear and easy to use as Google Flights. It is a popular choice amongst travelers.
A neat option is being able to enter “EVERYWHERE” as a destination. It will give you all the flights available from your airport location on the dates you’ve chosen. You can select a cheap destination and plan a spontaneous trip from there.
Find Flights on Skyscanner
6. Scott Cheap Flights
Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to receive a daily email with the deal of the day. These are deeply discounted flights that aren’t being promoted or have been posted erroneously by the airline.
Usually, you have to be flexible to take advantage of these flights. They are available to book when these deals reach our email.
Hotel Deals & Vacation Rentals
⭐️ Booking.com is our go-to for booking hotels outside of the United States. We’ve been using them since our first trip to Europe over a decade ago. Sometimes we even use it in the US when we find that rooms are sold out on the hotel’s site, but Booking.com has one or two left available.
We love its easy use and free cancellation option (depending on your book rate). While yes, booking directly with the hotel can sometimes have advantages, it’s not as easy to modify or cancel without going back and forth via email or phone.
The more rooms you book with Booking.com, the higher the discounted rate you can receive.
For discounted hotel rooms, look on Hotels.com. We like to use Hotels.com for last-minute hotel reservations. Their new One Key Membership (free sign-up) allows you to earn rewards towards more discounts.
Save money by staying in someone’s home, a boutique hotel, and/or a vacation rental. While we have booked many times with Airbnb, we are leaning more toward booking vacation rentals with Vrbo.
Booking a vacation rental is a budget-friendly option for families needing the space and amenities like a full kitchen to cook at home. Also, significant savings for centralized locations that you may not find by staying at a hotel.
Read more: Advantages and Disadvantages of Airbnb
10. Cruise Critic
Apart from joining the cruise-related Facebook group, we love the Cruise Critic Community Boards, as it is full of real cruise lovers with a wealth of information.
Cruise Critic also has one of the best cruiser meet-and-greets. You can join a roll call for your sailing date and meet other cruisers on your trip.
11. Cruise Direct
Cruise Direct offers great deals on a cruise that is always worth checking out. Compare rates and promo offers between the cruise line and a booking agent like Cruise Direct. Their team is ready to help book your cruise and offers excellent customer service.
GotoSea, a cruise travel agency affiliated with US News, offers great cruise deals and customer service.
13. Cruise Compete
If you are looking for the best cruise deal, you’ll want to submit a quote on CruiseCompete and allow other booking agents to submit competing prices. You can then book the best offer.
While this is a great way to save money on a cruise, you may lack on the customer service side of things once you book. If the agent you use is absent to make changes, you’re stuck with whatever it is you booked, as the cruise line will not assist you unless you booked directly with them.
No matter where you’re headed, these travel quotes and cruise quotes will help get you excited about your next vacation. Whether you’re dreaming of a tropical cruise ship vacation in the Caribbean Islands or an adventure exploring European travel destinations, these words of wisdom will set the tone for your perfect getaway.
Sometimes it’s easy to book a vacation package that includes everything. All you need to do is show up. I understand! I’ve done this multiple times myself.
I visit these sites often to peruse and book all-inclusive deals and more:
13. Apple Vacations
14. Travel Zoo
15. Cheap Caribbean
16. Costco Travel
A Costco membership is needed to book via Costco Travel. It is worth signing up for one! They have great deals at their warehouses, and their travel department also provides amazing travel packages with Cosct gift card rebates that can add up to hundreds. [Sign up now]
While I love to explore independently, I also love great guided tours. Private tours are my favorite, but sometimes not as cost-effective. You can gain significant knowledge by having a local tour guide and maximize your time at a location.
Usually, how I book my tours depends on what tours I can find locally, like the Girona Food Tour in Spain, London Walks, etc. I’ll book through one of these sites if I can’t find something. You’ll see me mention them throughout my website, and sometimes I specifically will name a tour company.
⭐️ Viator is our favorite site to book shore excursions and other local tours.
⭐️ WithLocals is our 2nd favorite to book private tours with local guides in Europe.
19. Get Your Guide
23. Insure My Trip
Insurance is so IMPORTANT. I like to use Insure My Trip because it allows me to shop and compare multiple quotes from different providers on one site.
If I’m booking a cruise, I will always purchase insurance that allows me to cancel for any reason and get my money back. It will cost a little extra, but worth it if something happens and you need to cancel.
We are fans of booking directly with Avis. However, sometimes Avis can be too expensive or we can’t find one in the area we need.
This is when Rentalcars.com comes into play. We like to use Rentalcars.com to find the best deal out there for us with one of the many car rental companies out there.
25. Train and Bus Schedules Abroad
To research and book train and bus schedules in Europe, we use Trainline.com. There is an ease using it to find train schedules across different cities, whether they are regional or high-speed trains. The site accepts US credit cards without a problem, unlike sometimes when booking with the local train sites.
Travel Credit Cards & Rewards
26. Chase Sapphire Reserved or Preferred
So many travel credit cards are out there, but so far, I’ve been impressed by the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Besides the fantastic benefits Chase offers, their flexible travel points make it easy to transfer to your favorite travel partners to maximize booking free flights and hotels.
We’ve been able to travel more, taking advantage of our credit card points.
Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- earn 3x the points on travel and dining
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Membership – Access to airport lounges (another great travel resource)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (we have Global Entry from way before having this credit card. We love it. It’s a huge time saver.)
- Door Dash Yearly Membership
- Lyft Pink Yearly Membership
The annual fee is $550. With these benefits, it pays for itself.
You can also start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred with a $95 annual fee. Earn 2x the points on travel and dining.
27. Travel Rewards
If you need to know more about travel credit cards, points, and how to get the most out of your credit card rewards for travel, I defer to the gurus:
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