This is the second in a series of articles where real travelers share their stories and insights as to what they’ve done during their adventure experiences.
In the first article we created a list of more than 50 inspirational travel quotes on lessons learned while traveling which we hope has proved handy as well as providing plenty of food for thought.
In this article we’d like to present a wide selection of travel tools and travel resources that the pros use when planning their trips. We hope this resource will be valuable to anyone who’s planning their next lifetime journey and please feel free to send us a postcard and let us know how you get on.
From the household names to the unknown gems, there’s plenty to get excited about within the list below but before we get started let’s summarize and pick the most used travel planning resources as mentioned by travel bloggers.
Here we go!
Unsurprisingly – bloggers are the most used travel planning resource!
Travel bloggers always add inspiration and invaluable advice as well as providing first hand recommendations and specific reviews.
As we received so many answers relating to travel resources, we’ve grouped them into the following categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for:
There are many travel planning resources online which provide the starting point when searching for specific information on various travel destinations.
As mentioned above, travel bloggers were picked as the most used resource when looking for travel information and inspiration. In our previous article you can find the list of more than 50 travel bloggers that share their own personal lessons which have been learned whilst traveling.
Check out the quotes below from some of the world’s most respected travel bloggers as to why they rely so heavily on their peers for travel advice.
To be honest, I prefer planning a trip without making plans. I may peruse travel blogs for inspiration – I put my favorite RSS feeds into an app called Newsify to have them merge together in a newspaper format – but other than that I really only research flights.
It’s actually travel blogs. Being travel bloggers ourselves this might sound a bit fake, but we have found blogs to be the number-one place to find up-to-date, insider travel information. We don’t always read blogs on a regular basis, but we do always turn to them as our number one online resource.
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, I typically search a number of sites to find the best deal. It also depends on what part of the world that I am traveling to where I will search and what online resources I will use. Most often I will even use other travel bloggers, blogs for ideas and inspiration.
Over the last year I’ve met so many amazing travel bloggers from all over the world, that their websites are now the first place I will go for travel tips and inspiration. It’s the real people behind the stories, that have actually visited these places and can give me the tips I will not find in the guidebooks that attract me most.
Before I travel I do intensive documentation, when necessary also going to the library and checking literary references if helpful. As I often do travel planning and consulting myself, I rather use various local resources and blogs, preferably in local languages that I know instead of big websites and particular online resources.
Other blogs of course! Normally I Google a topic or destination along with the keyword “travel blog” and it brings up the best results. I find that blogs are the least biased, most up to date resources for travel information.
Trip Advisor was second in the list of most used travel planning resource as voted for by travellers and here’s why:
TripAdvisor is an all in one travel resource. Whether you need to find a hotel, things to do or a place to eat, this is every traveler’s’ number one planning website. Reviewed by Savi and Vid from Bruised Passports:
Tripadvisor – reviews don’t get more real than that! We love the fact that it’s real travellers leaving unbiased reviews.
Although I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this, I have to say that I still use TripAdvisor the most when using it as a starting point for all of my trip planning. The reviews aren’t the be all and end all of planning as you really have to take what you say as a grain of salt. The goldmine is definitely in the forums though because real conversations happen there and you can find really good nuggets of information.
I like to go through TripAdvisor’s list of attractions to plan my trip. I spend way too much time reading the reviews, especially when I’m traveling to a place where I don’t speak the language. There are often some really useful, practical tips hidden in the most obscure reviews!
Wikitravel comes in handy when you need to know important information regarding a specific destination. Recommended by Michael from Time Travel Turtle:
One of my main goals when I travel is to find things to do beyond the obvious. So I normally start with resources like WikiTravel and Wikipedia to get a good overview of the important things in a destination. Then I start to search for blog articles to try to find some different experiences people have had.
I like usingTraveldudes.org. This is a huge library of travel blog entries contributed by travel bloggers and travelers categorized by continent and country. If you are ever visiting a new country check out the posts on Traveldudes for where to eat, what to do, and what to see.
I actually use EuropeUpClose.com to help plan my trips. There are articles about unique places to visit by writers who have been there. I read the hotel and dining revues and plan my trip incorporating those recommendations.
Nomadness Travel Tribe – is an invitation-only platform, where people share stories, advice, photos and conversation about their personal experiences around the world. Recommended by Bianca from Its All Bee:
My favourite travel planning resources are of course other blog sites and travel magazines like TravelNoir and Nomadness Tribe, which has over 10 000 travellers where you can ask questions and have a response in minutes. I am also quite organised and use my blog drafts to put down things that I would like to see, where I would like to eat in places I am planning on visiting. These all stay in drafts and easily accessible while adding or removing items on the list.
I don’t know what I’d do without Skyscanner. Even though there are really amazing flight deals out there, having one site where I can quickly check and compare prices is invaluable. I usually start with a wide search – from country to country across the space of a month e.g. UK to Italy in May. That’s always been the best way to pick up super cheap deals.
Tripit helps me keep all of my travel plan information at the tip of my fingers. From times, dates, contact info to delayed flight notifications for airline, car to hotel reservations, everything is in one easy to navigate app.
I love to do my travel planning on the go, so I don’t do that much research before a trip. I mostly read other travel blogs for tips and inspiration and booking flights through Skyscanner or Momondo and accommodation through Booking.com or Agoda.
If you have a favorite airline or hotel chain, sign up for their email newsletters and get info on sales and packages straight to your inbox. You should also follow them on social media as a lot of companies tend to have flash sales that are only on Twitter or we’re seeing more deals that are mobile-only if they have an app, etc. My favorites are The Flight Deal and Airfarewatchdog.com for airline specials.
AwardWallet keeps track of your reward programs, such as your: frequent flyer miles, hotel and credit card points, in one convenient mobile app for your smartphone. Recommended by Raffles, editor at Head for Points:
For anyone redeeming airline or hotel loyalty points for a trip, a visit to my own site Head for Points will open your eyes to the best way to maximise your miles and points. To manage all of my frequent flyer and hotel loyalty accounts, I swear by Award Wallet which tracks your balances in real time.
And do not forget to check websites of budget airlines as well.
Accommodation and hotel booking websites
Booking.com is probably the most visited website when searching for accommodation. Recommended by Frank from BBQ Boy.net:
I use TripAdvisor to research hotels but always book with Booking.com.
I also double check prices for find better accommodation at around the same prices with Booking.com (I always look around first).
Airbnb for accommodation. This is one of the fastest growing travel industry websites, where people rent their homes to travelers. Reviewded by Michael from Go, See, Write:
When it comes to planning my travels online I like to use websites that are easy to navigate and help with costs. Yonderbound and Airbnb have both been helpful at finding cheap accommodation. I also like to follow a lot of my fellow travel bloggers so I can get an idea of what they experienced.
Yonderbound tries to change how hotel reviews are being made. From now on people who make hotel reviews can earn money. It’s fair enough and well worth following this company. Recommended by SJ Begonja from Chasing the Donkey:
I love to use the new service ofYonderbound. While they are still growing, it’s great to connect with other travelers and see what recommendations they have for the areas I am planning to travel to.
At Luxury Travel Diary I hope to inspire people about new destinations and hotels as well as to tempt them back to the greatest luxury destinations (Capri, Gstaad, Cote D’Azur, St Barts) and I use my knowledge from years of travelling and websites like HotelChatter to find out about any hotel openings I may have missed.
It may shock most people, but I find it is one of the best tools out there for getting an overview of a city and/or destination. It also provides more in-depth profiles on many of the key sites, their history, and an insight into both the historic and modern incarnations of a city or famous site.
If I need to name one, I guess it would be Google. I don’t really use some kind of planning app, but I use Google Search every day to search for information on destinations and to find the best places to visit. Google Maps is incredibly useful for navigating your destination. and I use Google Images to find the best angles to take that awesome photo.
To be honest, I hardly ever plan. My travels are confined to the country of Turkey so I already have a good idea of food to eat, budgeting, booking hotels, using the country wide bus system etc. The only thing I do plan is what to see and do in the destination I am going to, in which case I use Google search so I can get information from a number of sources.
Instagram makes a perfect tool to meet and be inspired by people who travel and share their experiences.
YouTube is good for insider tips and more detailed information on travel destinations. Hopscotch the Globe is an excellent channel for travel tips and advice curated by Kristen Sarah.
Foursquare helps to discover the best local experiences in one simple app, just like Tinggly has the world’s best experiences in one gift.
WhatsApp and Viber helps you stay connected with your family and friends when traveling.
There are more choices of course, but this list should cover everything you might need we believe. Enjoy your travels and do not forget to talk to the locals as Marysia from My Travel Affairs does:
I do not plan my travels, I always go with the flow, just buy a ticket and book first night in the hotel after landing… I buy a paper guide which I do not read until being in the plane. I always makes plans as I go, those are often influenced by conversations with locals.
What is your favorite? Do you know another great travel tool or service that’s worth mentioning? Please drop us a message or leave a comment below.