As a travel writer, I spend a lot of time planning travel, and like most of us, my budget isn’t huge. The problem is I do like going nice places and doing nice things. Whether it is a four-star hotel at half to cost or a discounted tour, anything I can save on allows me to do one more thing on that trip.
Below you will find my most helpful travel planning resources. The websites I use to book travel, tricks I use to save, and a few of my favorite travel items. If you’re a blogger and looking for top resources for blogging, you’ll find them here.
You’ll find affiliate links in this post which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article is useful for you.
My favorite way to search for the cost of flights. Not surprising that Google has one of the most inclusive search engines where you can see just about any airline. I particularly like their calendar view where you can easily track which days are cheaper to fly. They’ve done a good job and their flaw is the same as everyone else, they don’t include Southwest.
If you’re looking to set up a price alert for a flight, this is my favorite site to use. They even include Southwest, when no one else does. You can get email alerts daily on your favorite routes, allowing you to purchase flights at the best time.
If you don’t have an airline card it is a must and my favorite is Southwest. Flying domestically it almost always has the best deal and their international options keep growing. I haven’t paid for a flight in over a year since I am constantly racking up points. With that always pay off these cards as they carry a higher interest rate, but if you stay within your budget get you free travel. Click here to get yours with 50,000 points after a little spending.
Click here for more tips on finding the best flight deals.
If you’re looking for an upscale hotel, I tend to find Priceline as the best bet. You can search and compare hotels easily. They tend to have a good selection and I love the Priceline Express Deal. You can often find four-start hotels for only $100 and if you know how it works can know exactly where you’re booking. Check out my blog post on how to hack Priceline Express Deals to know you’re getting a steal.
If you’re looking for something more casual, or smaller local hotel, Booking.com has the best selection. Whether it is a bed and breakfast or a hostel you’re looking for their selection is much wider than the other sites. My favorite place we stayed in Puerto Rico is only on Booking.com and if I missed searching here we never would have found it.
Sometimes you’re looking for a more private experience and need your own apartment. Or you might be looking for a cheaper alternative. AirBNB comes in handy for a variety of reasons. I’ve even found traveling internationally it’s a great way to book at guest houses and hostels. Get $35 off when you first try it out with this link.
If you’re booking last minute this iPhone app has some great deals. If you’re somewhere and decided to stay the night, or if you want to take a last minute trip Hotels Tonight is where properties post their unfilled rooms last minute. I’ve found at 3-4pm you’ll often see prices drop and some amazing deals for very nice places. You can even use the code “TONIGHT” $25 off $135 purchase on your first use.
While there are a variety of services out there, in my research World Nomads offers the best coverage at the best rate. Even their adventure program which offers coverage for things like scuba diving and other higher risk activities can be purchased at a reasonable cost. Pop over and take a look.
While I’ve had great luck with World Nomads, make sure you find the best fit for you, click here to find out how to pick the right travel insurance.
Travel Apparel & Accessories
I’m a wine lover and I love finding new wine while I travel. The problem is bringing it home. This wine suitcase by VinGarde Valise is exactly what I needed. You can fit a case of wine in it, and check the bag under 50 pounds. I mostly fly Southwest, so this means free shipping.
Whether you’re buying luggage, travel accessory, electronics, clothing or more eBags has you covered. They often run even better deals on Amazon and sell their own branded items as well as countless others. They carry some of my favorite things including packing cubes, my top tip for traveling light, and all of my favorite carry-on bags.
My favorite traveling pants are from Betabrand. I have their Yoga Dress Pants, which I wear to work a couple days a week, but in this case, they are the most comfortable but still stylish thing you can fly in. I often don’t stop at the hotel to change, so being able to run off on my adventure and looking presentable after being comfortable on a long flight is perfect. For men, they offer dress sweatpants. Even get $15 on your first pair.
I love ridesharing and if I never had to take another cab I wouldn’t mind. I like both Lyft and Uber and have had great experiences with both. I normally open both apps, see who has drivers closest and see who isn’t in surge pricing. Other than that I think it’s a wash which one you use. If you haven’t used either yet here are some discount codes: Lyft for up to $50 in ride credit and Uber for up to $15 in ride credit.
If you’re heading to any major city like Houston, San Francisco or Seattle, make sure you take a look to see if they offer a CityPASS. If your interested in hitting some of the tourist spots they can help you save a bundle. I loved using it in Seattle where I not only went to the two places I would have gone but then explored the additional attractions that turned out to be my favorite.
If you’re looking for discounted activities, this is the spot. Whether it is wine tasting, sailing or kayaking adventures, or tours in just about every city, you can find some great discounts at Travel Zoo. You can also find discounts on hotels and restaurants.
More Tricks From Traveling Nine To Fiver
If you’re looking for more tricks on how to save for the perfect vacation. Click here for where you can sign up to get my “5 Steps To Plan The Perfect Budget Friendly Weekend Getaway” cheat sheet. A step-by-step guide on how to plan affordable vacations.
Planning an international trip? If so take a look at my guide for what you need to do before your international travels for those of us who don’t go as often as we’d like. Check it out here and sign up on the page to get a free printable checklist.