Plan Your Trip With These Travel Resources

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Trip Planning

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Our Favorite Travel Tools

Planning your next vacation? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with these trusted travel resources. As someone who manages travel logistics professionally, I understand the importance of reliable tools.

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  • We book flights directly with the airlines but use these tools to search for the best flights and keep up with the latest deals.

Google Flights

For the best flights and routes, start with Google Flights. It shows all airline options in one place for easy comparison. And it takes you directly to the airline to book.

Scott Cheap Flights

Subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights for daily emails featuring exclusive, deeply discounted flight deals not widely promoted or mistakenly posted by airlines.


⭐️ is our top choice for international hotel bookings, a reliable option since our first European trip over a decade ago. .We value its user-friendly interface, free cancellation (depending on the rate), and potential for higher discounts with multiple bookings.

For discounted hotel rooms, look on

We like to use for last-minute hotel reservations. Their new One Key Membership (free sign-up) allows you to earn rewards towards more discounts.


Save money with Vrbo for budget-friendly vacation rentals, offering space, amenities, and central locations for significant savings compared to hotels.


Expedia offers a wide hotel selection with competitive pricing, exclusive deals, and the convenience of bundling flights and car rentals.


Experience the local vibe – book an Airbnb. Despite pros and cons, Airbnb offers great budget-friendly stays for travelers seeking unique accommodations.


Cruise Critic

Explore Cruise Critic for valuable insights from fellow cruise enthusiasts. The Community Boards and their cruise roll calls offer a wealth of information and the chance to connect with other cruisers on your trip.

Cruise Direct

Check out Cruise Direct for excellent cruise deals. Compare rates and promos with the cruise line directly, and their helpful team provides excellent customer service for booking.

Cruise Compete

For the best cruise deal, use CruiseCompete to get competing prices. The downside is that booking through this platform may lack customer service support afterward.


GotoSea, a cruise travel agency affiliated with US News, offers great cruise deals and customer service.

Costco Travel

Costco has amazing cruise deals with extra perks that the cruise lines won’t offer. We have used them and always check their offers. The downside is it takes forever to get through customer service.

Book a Cruise

Travel Books

yellow cruising duck sitting on a pile of travel guide books, a bronze venetian gondola in front of it and a pile of hats next to it

Travel guides aren’t just books but captivating narratives that transport you to far-off destinations. I always buy 1 to 2 for my trips, marking up pages with notes and highlights to immerse myself in the culture and history, building excitement for the adventures ahead.

Getting Around

While we prefer booking directly with Avis or Hertz, is our go-to when they are pricey or unavailable in the area. It helps us find the best deals with various car rental companies.

Train and Bus

For European train and bus schedules, we rely on It’s user-friendly, covers regional and high-speed trains, and accepts US credit cards seamlessly.

Tour Guides

  • I love exploring independently but enjoy guided tours, especially private ones, though they can be pricier. Local guides offer valuable insights, enhancing your experience and maximizing time at each location.

⭐️ Viator

Viator is our favorite site for booking shore excursions and guided tours by various local tour operators. Their pay-later and cancellation flexibility makes it easy to research and book.


WithLocals ranks as our second favorite for booking private tours with local guides in Europe. It’s our go-to for personalized experiences, connecting us with knowledgeable locals who offer unique insights.

Get Your Guide

Like Viator, Get Your Guide offers great guided tours, tickets, and shore excursions by various local operators. Sometimes, we find unique tours not offered anywhere else.

Free Tours By Foot

Find free tours (or very low-cost tours) guided by locals at popular US destinations. It’s worth a look to see if there are tours available where you’re visiting.

Devour Food Tours

For food enthusiasts exploring European cities, Devour Food Tours is a must-try. Dive into the local culinary scene with their foodie tours, discovering hidden gems while savoring authentic flavors.


EatWith stands out from other European guided tour sites by offering a unique experience. It connects you with locals who open their homes for a home-cooked meal or a cooking class.

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