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Travel By Air
Skyscanner: Not only can you select whole countries as either your origin or destination, but once you have selected an origin, you can select ‘anywhere’ as the destination. How cool is that?! Additionally, you can select ‘whole month’ or ‘cheapest month’ as the date, making Skyscanner one of the most flexible booking tools out there. Not to mention, the deals they find are normally the best available as they scan various sites in one go, and will combine airlines if this makes it cheaper. In addition to flights, you can search hotels and car hire, as well as setting up price alerts!
Momondo: Like all its predecessors, except that it is better. It searches more airlines and comes back with better deals. You can even search holiday packages, if that’s your jam. The results come back on a calendar view, allowing you to pick up the best deals available. You can even click on popular cities and see the best times to book and get some quick facts about the city, including the average cost of beer and amount of rainfall. Momondo has some awesome rates, so we always make sure to search on there before we book anything anywhere else.
Google Flights: We know – doesn’t Google already run the world? But we have only recently started using Google Flights, and we’re super bummed we didn’t discover it earlier as it is quickly becoming one of our favourites! The site lets you view your destinations on a map, in case you are more interested in a general region, rather than a specific place, as well as showing your dates on a calendar with rates for each day. Google Flights also alerts you when new flights have gone up. Definitely check out Google Flights before you fly!
Rome2Rio: is an incredibly comprehensive, user-friendly website that helps you get from point A to point B, no matter where you are in the world. Just type in your origin and destination into the search bars, and the site will let you know the buses, ferries, trains and flights available and their estimated associated costs (including fuel rates if you are driving yourself). Your route is displayed on google maps, and allows you to find any other stop you might want to make along the way. We love using Rome2Rio to plan any journey!
Omio: We love Omio and book through them regularly for most of our land travel. They are great as they compile prices for bus, trains and planes from various different companies. I will admit, they’re better in Western and Central Europe than Eastern Europe in terms of breadth of providers. Nevertheless, we’ve used Omio to travel all across the continent. They’re also good for finding companies in case you just want to know who might be operating in that area. => If you sign up using the code dagnem1u8f1t, you will get €10 towards your first trip.
The Man in Seat 61: Always dreamed of travelling along the Trans-Mongolian railway? Fancy traversing Gabon by train? Then The Man in Seat 61 was created with you in mind. This site is the ultimate guide to train travel all over the world, with the most up-to-date information on routes, schedules and prices. You can’t book anything through the site, but if you need to know whether a route exists, or if it’s in your budget, check out The Man in Seat 61.
Rail Europe: If you are planning a trip across multiple countries in Europe by train, you will need a rail pass, and Rail Europe has the best rates, and one of the more user-friendly interfaces. You can buy passes depending on where you want to visit, or even give a giftcard to someone else. Rail Europe makes European train travel simple!
Trainline: Yes, we are still talking about trains! If you are only planning on travelling around the UK by train, we highly recommend using Trainline. They search all the different regional train lines so you don’t have to do it, but they normally have better rates than the National Rail site. Plus, any UK railcard is valid on Trainline (we love our Two Together Railcard). Their deals outside of the UK aren’t hot, but if you want to travel by train in the UK, Trainline should be your go to site!
National Express: If you intend to travel via bus in the UK, we recommend using National Express. They go almost anywhere, and their rates are competitive. We also think their seats are more comfortable than other providers. We have both used National Express for years, and it is our go-to when travelling via bus.
Rentalcars.com: Fancy renting a car and seeing a new city or country on your own? We recommend Rentalcars.com – they have the most competitive worldwide rates and a range of cars to choose from. They search various car rental company sites and provide you with the best results so you can choose what works best for you. You can also purchase car insurance through them at the time of booking, and the site comprehensively lays out what is covered. Through Rentalcars.com, you can book a car in one city and drop it off in another (normally for a fee); who doesn’t love a little flexibility!
Intrepid: is one of the best tour operators out there. They do small group tours all over the world with knowledgeable guides, they are environmentally friendly and their prices are competitive. If tours are your thing, or you are looking to meet some fun, like-minded people, you should already be booking with Intrepid!
Booking.com: is almost always our go-to for accommodation. Or at least, it’s our first go-to. They normally have excellent deals, and the more you book with Booking.com, the better deals you get! The site has an easy-to-use interface, and handy filters. The accommodation available ranges from super cheap to 5 star resorts, most at cheaper rates than those available directly through the hotels themselves. You also rarely pay upfront, and at least 80% of the hotels have a free cancellation option up to 24 hours before your stay, just in case! You can also check the site for flights and car rentals. And lastly, every time you book with Booking.com, you receive a free ‘travel guide’ for the city you’ve booked in. It is hardly a comprehensive guide (just a handful of recommendations), but it is enough to whet your appetite!
Hostelworld: is hands down the best site for hostel bookings, especially having bought their main competitor, Hostelbooker. Hostelworld has the largest database of hostels of any site, and an easy-to-use interface. Unlike booking directly through hostels, the prices are often inclusive of linens (and no more expensive for it) – but do double check this every time you book if this is necessary for your travels. They have a very good cancellation policy, although you typically have to put down a non-refundable deposit. Whether you want to stay in a dorm room, or a private room, Hostelworld has got you covered!
Agoda: is another great resource for booking your accommodation. Personally, we don’t find the interface as user-friendly as other sites. However, the deals and rates available are often unbeatable elsewhere. It is not uncommon to find hotels listed on Agoda that you cannot find on other sites. Like Booking.com, cancellation is normally free, and there are no upfront costs. If you are looking for a deal, definitely have a comb through Agoda!
AirBnB: When it comes to longterm rentals, its hard to beat airbnb’s rates. In case you are unfamiliar with this site, local residents rent out rooms – and sometimes full apartments – through airbnb. Many of the properties offer discounts for week long & month long stays, keeping the cost lower than the typical hotel. The experience is often more authentic, as you are staying in non-touristy areas and getting to know local haunts. Although entire homes are available, we recommend staying in a private room in a home so you can meet (and hopefully befriend) some locals! => If you click on this link, you’ll get £25 off your first booking with them.
Important Update: In case you’re unaware, AirBnb has been in the news a lot over the last year or so because of it’s problematic contribution to overtourism and forcing locals our of their homes – as well as just being generally awful. In light of this, we are reconsidering how we use the platform. While we still love and recommend AirBnb, you need to do your research. We can’t stress enough how much better it is to stay in private rooms.
As long term travellers and introverts, we do love having our own space. If this is the case, two things you can do to combat the problem is:
(1) do your best to ensure you are renting out apartments that are part of someone’s home. Here are two places we’ve stayed in that were part of someone’s home that we absolutely loved: a converted garage in Vilnius; and this converted first floor in Zagreb. If you are unsure, ask.
(2) Stay outside of the city centre and popular residential areas. Although it can still be an issue, one of the main problems is companies buying up apartments in these areas and then out-pricing the locals in favour of tourists.
If you don’t want any of your money going to AirBnb, you can also message the owners privately to arrange a deal – this is typically for less as they won’t need to pay the AirBnb fee. However, be aware that this gives you no security if they cancel last minute or double book (not that you’re ensured all that much anyway through the company).
Alternative Types of Accommodation
TrustedHouseSitters: Do you love pets? Do you fancy free accommodation? Don’t mind cleaning a little in order to spend time with furry friends for free in faraway places? Then TrustedHouseSitters is just what you’re looking for! For a yearly fee, you can use this service as often as you like, but the fee is nominal compared to what you’ll save on your accommodation throughout the year (even if you only go away a few times)! You can sign up as a pair or individual (same cost). TrustedHouseSitters is particularly good if you plan on spending time in North America, Europe or Australia! => Click here to get 25% of your membership!
Workaway: Want to combine travelling and volunteer work? Look no further. Workaway has hosts all over the planet offering free (or nearly free) accommodation in exchange for some assistance with activities which can include beekeeping, sustainable farming, teaching, and various other local projects. Often projects include both room and board, and many advertise vegetarian and vegan options. You can sign up as an individual or a pair (the latter costs slightly more), but the cost is worth the takeaway. Workaway is a great way to meet new people, travel for cheap and even get work experience if you are on a gap year!
Couchsurfing: Admittedly, Jeremy has never used couchsurfing and I haven’t done it in years. I’m not really social enough for couchsurfing as it can require some major extroversion. However, on the occasions I did use it, it was been well worth the effort as I get to know and hang out with cool people from around the world. Plus, there are couchsurfers in some of the most remote regions of the world, as well! Couchsurfing is great for meeting awesome people, cutting costs and having a totally different, authentic stay! Highly advisable to bring along a small gift from home (or your last stop), such as a postcard or some chocolates!
Before you go & planning
World Nomads: Travel insurance is a contentious topic due to its extra cost, but travel insurance is a must. Do you insure your car or home? Then why not insure yourself and your belongings when you travel? You never know when something could happen on the road! And we don’t just mean something like contracting Dengue Fever or having your bags stolen – what if a family member back home dies? Good travel insurance will pay for you to go home last minute to be with your family. So who do we recommend? World Nomads! They are the best in the industry and they work worldwide (with a few exceptions, so always make sure you are covered!) You can even renew your cover from abroad, which almost no other travel insurance company allows you to do!
Lonely Planet: was founded in 1972, and it has certainly been the industry standard our entire lives. Lonely Planet does it all from indepth city, country and region guides to national parks, road trips and maps! Oh, and did we mention they have started a FREE series on accessible cities and countries? In addition to their great guides, Lonely Planet has a fantastic travel community where you can ask travel queries about any destination, find travel buddies and just chat with like minded people.
Bradt Travel Guides: are some of the best in the industry, but not as popular as their competitors. We love Bradt because they specialise in unusual and off the beaten path destinations. This means that they tend to cover places other companies don’t, or only cover as part of a larger region – such as Ghana, Serbia or Kyrgyzstan. In addition to travel guides, Bradt also publishes various series, including a wildlife series, a regional series and a travel literature series with gems like this or this. If you’re going off the beaten path, definitely check out Bradt!
Kindle: I am obsessed with my Kindle and I honestly don’t think I would survive on the road without it. You can store so many books on them! I currently have nearly 200 on mine and I’m no where near to running out of space! Buy a Kindle!
Smartwool Socks: When it comes to warm, winter socks, I have been in love with and grossly loyal to Smartwool Socks for years. And honestly that’s all there is to say about it. I am devastated that I’m now down to my last few remaining pairs – which I have had for nearly 10 years, by the way! If you’re interested in vegan-friendly brands that I also love (which can be just as warming if paired with a warm shoe), I also recommend: Thought, they have bamboo and organic cotton socks, in addition to woolen ones; and Conscious Step, who donate $1 of every purchase to a good cause.
REI: If you live in the US, REI is a one-stop shop for all things travel, camping and adventure. They carry their own brand, as well as all the top brands around the world. You can buy shoes, clothing, backpacks and much, much more. If you need travel gear, you really cannot go wrong with REI!
Alpine Trek: If you are in the UK, we highly recommend Alpine Trek. They are kind of the UK equivalent of REI. They carry TONS of high-quality brands and any type of clothing or equipment you could possibly need including shoes, socks and beanies. Bottomline, check Alpine Trek out, you won’t be disappointed!
Worldsim: allows you to keep in touch via text, Whatsapp, etc when you are abroad. It works the same as any sim card, except that you can use it abroad for excellent rates. If you live in the EU and you are only travelling within the EU, it probably is not worth it due to the new agreement on phone and data rates, but if you are leaving the EU or travelling TO the EU from anywhere else Worldsim is a must have. (Keep in mind, if you will be staying somewhere abroad for awhile, and not just going on holiday, you may want to look into getting a local simcard.) Oh, and did we mention that Worldsim lets your keep your current number?
Lush: really is the best company out there for travel sized cosmetics and toiletries. Jeremy is a recent convert, but I have been using their products for over 10 years. Not only are they travel friendly, but they are also environmentally friendly! I’m allergic to every chemical known to man (not quite, but it seems that way), and I’ve never had a problem with Lush. We never go on a trip without one of their Shampoo Bars!
Duolingo: Going abroad somewhere they don’t speak your language? Just generally interested in learning a new language? We love Duolingo. It’s free and available online or in app form. They are constantly expanding their network of languages and learning tools – including the recently added Spanish podcasts! Duolingo has a great community of language learners where you can make friends, find study buddies and get excellent support!
Google Translate: To facilitate Duolingo, you can also download the Google Translate app. You never know when you’ll suddenly blank on the word hello, or need to ask for directions somewhere! Plus, the Google Translate app even works offline!
Google Maps: Hands down, Google Maps is the best map app available (it’s also the best on a desktop, too). Like Google Translate, Google Maps works offline, just download the map in question and you can access it at any time!
TripWhistle: If you are a safety conscious traveller, you can’t go wrong with TripWhistle. The app provides all the emergency contact numbers for every country in the world. Just in case!
XE.com: I have used XE for years! It is the best site out there for currency exchange rates and information. Just choose two currencies and pop in the amount! And the app is just as user-friendly as the site. As an added bonus, if you need to transfer money, XE’s rates are excellent!