Travel Smarter, Not Harder
Let me show you how!
We all want the same things from travel. We want to save money, see amazing sights, have incredible experiences, and eat and drink some delicious things. This can be a tall order to fill without the proper planning, tools, and execution. My goal is to help you travel more! Whether that means a weekend getaway to Chicago, a week long winter vacation in Barbados or 8 weeks backpacking South East Asia.
This is the truth:
There are no magic tricks, or special formulas I use. All of my best advice and tricks I’ve learned through years of travel – both stateside and abroad – and a lot of trial and error. I’ve written this page so you can bypass the trial and error stage and head right to the scoring-awesome-deals-and-planning-amazing-getaways part. Here you’ll find some of my favorites tools and websites that have made my travels so much easier. I’m always updating this page if I happen to find or discover something new I love so be sure to check back often. Happy travels!
Skyscanner has come up big for me several times when I needed to find a cheap flight. One of my favorite things about Skyscanner is that it’s so. freaking. easy. to use. Their “Everywhere” feature is literally my favorite thing. You enter in the airport you’ll be flying out of and the month you’ll be traveling and it shows you the cheapest destinations to visit. Amazing, but also seriously dangerous for a travel-nut like me!
I first heard about Cheapoair from a girl I worked with in college. She was making a trip to New Zealand and was telling me she got an amazing deal on her flight using this website. A few months later I booked my first ticket to Southeast Asia on Cheapoair.
Priceline is one-stop shop when it comes to travel booking. You can find flights, hotels, and rental cars all in one spot. Priceline has a super unique Name Your Own Price option that allows you to bid on hotels and rental cars, which can lead to some major savings. You can also book cruises and “Featured Vacations” on Priceline. Just the other day I found some amazing deals on The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas through Priceline.
We stayed in a VRBO property for my bachelorette party in Florida’s 30A and it was ahh-mazing. Basically you’re renting out someone’s house. The home is completely yours for how ever long you book it for. No worrying about sharing space with the owners or with other guests you don’t know. It’s a perfect option for big group travels.
Airbnb needs no introduction. It truly has been a game changer in the travel world. One of my favorite things about it is that it really can give you the ability to meet people as you travel. My friend and I stayed at an Airbnb in New Orleans and loved our host and the people that were renting the room across the hall from us. We stayed up late talking with them and still stay in touch with them today. If you’re just taking a low-key trip, are up for anything, and want a local experience, Airbnb is the way to go.
I’m a no-nonsense kind of girl, and that is exactly what Trivago is. Just by looking at the simplicity of their site you can tell there is no fluff involved whatsoever. First of all, Trivago isn’t a booking site. It’s a fare comparison site. You enter the city and the dates of your travel and Trivago gives you the best prices available and then transfers you to the booking site where the best deal is found. It’s simple. It’s quick. It’s easy. Seriously, this is my favorite site for finding hotel deals.
I love Lonely Planet’s guide books. The first thing I do after (or sometimes before) I book a trip is order myself the Lonely Planet guide book for the place I’m traveling to. Their Southeast Asia on a Shoestring book was basically my map my entire 8 weeks abroad. I also have their South America and Central America books as well. Where ever you’re headed to there is a Lonely Planet guide book written about it. The writing is these books is always completely honest, well written, and even witty and funny at times, which I 100% appreciate.
Foder’s is another company that makes guide books. My preference is Lonely Planet, but if I can’t get my hands on a LP guide my next choice is Fodor’s. I have their New Zealand guide, and while I like the writing style of Lonely Planet better, I am a huge fan of how Frodor’s features amazing color photos on every page throughout the entire book. Super helpful if you’re a visual person like me. I always recommend buying guide books on Amazon. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find a better deal there than you will at a book store or at the company’s site.
Guys, Tripcipe is a game changer. I can’t take credit for discovering this handy little free(!) tool. My good friend and frequent travel partner, Mackenzie, introduced it to me and I was in love from the get-go. Tripcipe lets you plan out your entire trip, from restaurants, to activities, to hotels, and then shows you all of your plans on a map and lets you see how close things are in relation to one another. I do all my planning on my computer and then log into the app on my phone and it’s all right there ready for me to use. It’s ideal for when you have a lot of plans and spots to visit, but you’re not familiar of the layout of a city.
Before I go anywhere, and I mean anywhere, I always head to TripAdvisor to check out their “things to do” section. I am a huge believer in reading reviews from other people, and because it’s such a hugely popular website, there are always useful reviews and tidbits. Now you can even book hotels, and flights on TripAdvisor!
Viator’s tagline is “travel with an insider”, and that’s truly how I have felt each time I’ve used Viator. I’m not sure how or why, but I always find thee best tours on this site. I found our amazing honeymoon day trip around Barbados on Viator. This tour was not on TripAdvisor or any other site I looked at. Viator always has the best of the best.