The Best Travel Sites for Planning a Trip

Some of the most common questions I get are related to websites – which ones do I use and recommend? Since I travel often and spend a lot of time researching and reading about destinations I’ve got a long list of great sites.

So here are my favorite travel websites and blogs for planning a trip.

Websites for finding hotels:

These are my favorite sites for booking hotels. (Also visit the website for the specific hotel you’re considering as they’ll often match the deals you’ll find at these sites.)

For buying travel Insurance

  • World Nomads – Recommended by everyone from the NY Times to Lonely Planet. They’ve been around for years.

For finding and booking flights:

  • Travelocity.com – The best for finding cheap flights.
  • Vayama.com – A good alternative to Travelocity.
  • Kayak.com – One of my favorites. (Kayak Explore is one of the funner pages for daydreaming about traveling. Enter your home airport and your budget, and see where you can fly.)
  • AirNinja – Good for finding routes between 2 cities.
  • CheapTickets.com – Allows you to search for children’s tickets (which kayak doesn’t)
  • HipMunk – Not so much about finding the cheapest flight but focused on connections, timing, and services (e.g. in-flight wi-fi)
  • SeatGuru – Detailed info on flights, aircrafts, and airlines.
  • TravelZoo – Looking for cheap flights? Sign up for their newsletter.
  • AirfareWatchDog – Offers a similar service. It looks for and finds cheap flights from your home airport.
  • AirTreks – Planning a RTW trip? This site offers a huge range of options for planning a RTW or multi-stop trip.
  • Skyscanner – Tracks routes and fares for the budget carriers that often fall through the cracks of the bigger search sites.

For Train Travel:

  • Seat 61 – Far and away the best resource for train info around the world. I wish my site could be as helpful as this one.

Adventure Package Tours

  • G Adventures – These guys have some cool tours to some great destinations. If you’re reluctant about taking your first trip to a foreign country this could be the right introduction. (Family Tours are also available.)

Packing:

  • OneBag – Think you know how to pack your bag? Thing again. Lots of great advice on traveling light.

Vacation Rentals:

  • HomeAway – The largest home rental site on the web. Almost 300,000 listings in 145 countries around the world.
  • AirBnB – A similar service but usually for shorter stays and smaller quarters (like a bedroom for example).
  • CouchSurfing – Or stay with someone for free.

Travel Forums:

  • TripAdvisor – It’s cool to hate TripAdvisor. But when you need to research a hotel or a ferry trip or the price of a taxi from the airport it’s a great travel resource.
  • Thorntree on LonelyPlanet – Hit and miss but often has great advice from the backpackers of the world.

Travel Blogs:

  • Never Ending Voyage – Detailed and informative posts on numerous destinations.
  • Migrationology – A fantastic resource for Asia and Africa.
  • The Planet D – A great travel blog with a focus on photography.
  • Fluent In 3 Months – A fun and helpful site on the challenges and rewards of learning a new language.
  • Price of Travel – Devoted to saving money, finding cheap destinations, and figuring out where to travel on a budget.
  • OttsWorld – She’s been everywhere – and has the tales and photos to prove it.
  • almost fearless – Crazy. Unpredictable. All over the map. Hey, it’s a traveling family.
  • Travels With Baby – A resource for traveling with kids and toddlers.
  • Legal Nomads – A single girl on a never-ending trip around the world.
  • JohnnyVagabond – A man on a budget. With a camera. And a blog.
  • InFocus – A collection of photo essays from around the world. Not travel-related, per se, but it definitely has a global theme to its topics.
  • Ask The Pilot – A fantastically well-written and interesting blog. (Hasn’t been updated since Sept. 2012 but still lots of great info in the archives.)

By Destination:

Parenting, etc

  • Free-Range Kids – Love this site, what it stands for, and how it reminds me to focus on the important stuff.
  • Motherlode – The parenting blog at the NY Times is one of the best.
  • Lisa Belkin – An intelligent and thoughtful blog on the challenges and rewards of parenthood.
  • Penelope Trunk’s Homeschooling Blog – We’re not homeschoolers but I relate to much of what’s written here.
  • Skipping School – A former homeschooler offers her perspective on life and childhood. Very smart and well written.
  • Freedom To Learn – A great blog about childhood, education, and the importance of play.
  • Playborhood – And more about play’s role in child development.
  • Rethinking Childhood – A blog big on the importance of play, freedom, and the outdoors on children’s lives.