Thought Catalog
July 1, 2014

37 Essential Travel Resources For Your Next Big Trip

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These are all of the amazing travel resources that I have found overtime which can save you thousands of dollars and make you a smarter budget traveler. 

A. Accommodation:

1. AirBnB – AirBnB is becoming a large force in the travel industry and promises to only get bigger. The site allows you to rent rooms from people in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries. They also let you rent out a room to make some extra cash.

2. Couchsurfing – A huge site that connects other travelers. You can find someone that has an available couch or room to crash in while you’re on the road, for free. All of the people who are on the site have passed security checks and share the same desire for travel that you do.

3. Home Exchange – This site lets you put your house on a listing to exchange it for a time being for someone else’s. You can browse homes and contact other travelers if you like their home and the area they live in. The site costs money, but you can take a free trial to test drive it.

4. Hostels – A site that has a ton of great deals on accommodation with zero booking fees. The website also has guides, a podcast, videos, and a blog. You can find hostels on here for only a few dollars.

5. Hostelworld – An easy-to-use website that has a compiled list of hostels, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. This is one of the best sites to use for booking cheap rooms and has hostels all over the world. The large community leaves reviews and ranks each hostel based on value, security, location, staff, atmosphere, cleanliness, and facilities.

B. Air Travel:

6. Hotwire – They offer up to sixty-percent off of hotels and forty-percent off of flights. You can find cheap hotels, cars, and flights and if you bundle them, it’s even cheaper.

7. Kayak – This website compares hundreds of travel sites at one time and in one location. Don’t make this your only search engine you use though, make sure to run your flights through this entire list to find the best deal.

8. Momondo – Outside of a slick site design, they have been featured on CNN among other top news programs for their great deals. They offer a Fare Alert that alerts you if the price of your flight has changed to a low price so you can capitalize on the best deal possible. I have found that they consistently come up with the best rates out of this entire list.

9. Orbitz – Find deals on hotels, flights, cars, activities, and cruises. They have a ‘Hot Deals’ section on the main page that rival prices of some hostels. You can also become a member of their rewards program to save a little bit more cash.

10. Priceline – Known for the ‘Priceline Negotiator’ AKA William Shatner, this website finds deals on airfare, cars, cruises, vacation packages, as well as hotels. They have a ‘Name Your Own Price’ feature that lets you bid for the best price.

11. Skyscanner – They compare flights, hotels, and car rentals to find the cheapest deals like the others. A cool feature they offer is at the bottom of the page there is an explore section. This links you to the cheapest flights for each city or country in one compiled list of links.

C. Travel Miles:

12. Credit Cards – They compare credit cards right next to one another without bias. Check this site out if you want to see what travel cards are out there and which ones are best for you. Just go to the search bar and type in “travel cards” or click this.

13. Expert Flyer – You can get a free or paid subscription to their flyer app, which helps you pick the best seat on the flight. They also run an active and interesting blog.

14. Flyer Talk – A great community of travelers who are ready to talk miles. They have an active forum that you can have all your questions answered on. They also run an active blog on the latest travel mile news.

15. The Points Guy – An amazing source to stay up to date on the latest in the travel miles world. Brian Kelly, who runs TPG, has managed to earn millions of miles and wants to teach you how to do the same. If you are a beginner and/or want to know the best cards to get, use this site.

16. Webflyer – The site isn’t the best looking, but their information is solid. One of their best features is their program guide on the top left of the page. They give a rating and review to every program that is offered so you can see how it stacks up against other programs.

D. Ground Travel:

17. Crew Seekers – Do trains and buses bore you? Me too! You can travel by water (oops is this titled Ground Travel?) and join a crew. On Crew Seekers you can browse all of their sailing opportunities to explore where you would fit best. Some require professional experience, but others just need a useful hand. You do need to buy a membership for this site, but the price isn’t too steep.

18. Eurail – Book passes to travel by train around Europe. They have trains in 24 different countries and you can buy passes for up to 3 months at a time. They have different prices for Youth, Adult, and Families.

19. Eurolines – They have a great interface that is super easy to use. Again, they are limited to Europe and the UK, but they have great deals and keep an updated list of big festivals and events going on that you can travel by train to.

20. Go Nomad  – This site deals with freighter travel among other things like rail, equestrian, bicycles, and cruises. They also have a great FAQ section for information on how to travel by freighter. I suggest checking out their site just because of all of the great features they have on their website. It’s definitely worth a look.

21. Megabus – A website to find and book trips via bus. They are located in Europe, the United States, and Canada. They have a massive network of routes and they are all available in multiple languages.

22. Urban Rail – They map out all of the train courses in hundreds of countries. They break down each city and give great train information about the different lines.

E. Destination Guides:

23. Lonely Planet – The king of guides, they offer great guides that cover cultural tips, activities, maps, and so much more. You can order guides on their website or at any bookstore you go to. They have a lot of cool features on their website as well.

24. TripAdvisor – They offer tons of different free services that could put this in many of the categories on this page. But one of the things they are most well-known for is their guides and reviews. They offer a free app that has offline guides that I love to use. The app is super cool and can be used almost anywhere you go.

25. VirtualTourist – A great website interface that has guides all around the world. Their guides are completely free and include activities, nightlife, hotels, customs, transportation and more. If you’re not looking to spend any money, this is by far the place to go to plan your trip!

26. Viator – Outside of a cool name that sounds like either a Spartan or a pharmaceutical, you can search where you are staying to find reviews, deals, and activities to do among other things. They have 24/7 support if you need help and they feature expert advice on places to go. Their main priority is budget travel.

F. Student:

27. Go Abroad – If you’re looking to study abroad this is a great resource. They have all the information you need on available programs and how to go about applying. If you’re into volunteering instead, they also have programs to go abroad for that as well.

28. Semester at Sea – A great website to find a trip that will take you across the world. They have a really cool website with many programs and options to choose from. You should be able to find all you need to know about studying abroad by sea from this site.

29. STA Travel – They have a lot to offer students who are short on cash. They have a search engine to find cheap hotels, hotels, tours, and rail passes. They even offer great discount cards that can save you on activities and supplies while traveling. Their site is filled with helpful information.

30. Student Universe – They also offer a search engine for cheaper flights, hotels, tours, activities, and rail passes so I suggest running your information through both of them. They offer great guides on things to do and how to get around town among other things.

G. Volunteering:

31. HelpX – Through this organization you live with a host and work on their farm for 4 to 6 hours a day to earn your keep and the rest of the day is yours to explore. In return for your service you get room and board.

32. Idealist – Their easy-to-use interface makes searching for volunteer opportunities fun and they have over 13,000 of them! They have everything from hosting children for a weekend to volunteering at walks. This is a great organization that not only helps people overseas, but at home as well.

33. VolunTourism – They have over 10,000 available volunteering programs that you can join to see the world. Though them, you can help people who are in need and are living in terrible conditions. What’s better than traveling and bettering the local community with more than just your money?

34. WWOOFING – This has been pretty popular lately among budget travelers. It’s the same idea as HelpX, where they match you with a farm to volunteer on and you work for 4 to 6 hours a day for a place to stay and food.

H. FAQ/General:

35. Bed Bug FAQ – If you’re worried about running into bed bugs and don’t know how to deal with them, this is your place. They give you all the information you need to know to stay safe and avoid the annoying little things!

36. BootsnAll Traveler’s Toolkit – Everything you can imagine you would need information for travel on is here. They help you with food, transportation, advice, accommodation, health guides and so much more. I highly suggest digging into this wealth of information.

37. CIA World Fact Book – They give you basic information about each country you plan on traveling to. They will let you know the population of the country, the main language that is spoken, as well as the economic state among other things. It’s pretty fun to go on here and search random countries too.

There are a lot of great websites in this list, but there are a lot more out there to find. Do you have any helpful or fun travel websites that you use that didn’t make this list? Let other travelers know in the comment section! TC mark

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