After many years of travel all around the world, we’ve tried dozens of websites, apps, and services that would allow us to keep traveling the world for less. This page is a collection of the best travel resources and travel gear that we’ve found over the years.
So whether you are looking for advice on where to find cheap flights, or great deals on hotels, or you want to know what tour companies we recommend, what insurance we use, and what we keep in our bags when we travel the world, this page has it all!
|Travel Insurance |
Travel Planning Resources
Travel Blogging Resources
Electronics & Accessories
Essential Travel Apps
Google Flights is our go-to tool for finding cheap flights online. Google offers a brilliant flight search engine that aggregates best prices on flights from all over the web. It automatically does a +/-3 days check and notifies you if flexible dates can help you save on your flight. Plus its handy calendar and price graph functions allows you to see prices for months out.
Google Flight’s only downside is that it doesn’t do a great job at indexing prices from low-cost airlines or small regional airlines. It’ll always show you what airlines fly the route, but sometimes force you to go to the airline’s website to check the price for your particular dates.
Before Google Flights, we used to use Skyscanner religiously, and even these days we find it still has its purpose. If does a good job at indexing cheap/regional airlines (although, unfortunately, not an excellent one), and it has a really handy Price Alert function that we often use to monitor prices on flights on a daily basis.
Hopper is a nifty little app that allows you to get the scoop on the cheapest times to fly to any destination and best times to buy each flight. We don’t use Hopper every time we book a flight, but it’s a useful tool for those times from time to time.
Read More: 11 Tips on How to Find Cheap Flights
When it comes to booking hotels, we alternate between Agoda and Booking.com for no reason other than the inventory one these sites really differs by destination.
We found Agoda to be the best choice for hotels in Asia and Australia. The site also has a good selection for travel in Western Europe.
Booking.com on the other hand, has proven to have the best selection in South/Central America as well as Eastern Europe. We also love their “no credit card” required booking option and very flexible cancellation policy that allows us to reserve hotels far in advance without ever worrying about limiting our flexibility.
These days we choose Airbnb more often than we choose hotels. More often than not our accommodation ends up being cheaper and feels much more local than a sterile hotel room. The only downside with Airbnb is that the rooms often don’t provide wifi.
* If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, you can sign up today using this link and get a discount on off your first stay!
It’s been awhile since we have stayed in a hostel. With Airbnb in the picture a private room in someone’s house is almost always cheaper than a private room in a hostel, but on those occasions when we are looking to socialize with other travelers, we book our hostel stays via Hostelworld.
Read More: 10 Tips for a Great Airbnb Experience
While we are big believers in independent travel we do recognize the value of tours for those that are traveling solo or simply want to take the hassle out of trip planning. Here are a few providers that we have experienced first hand.
Contiki is an ideal tour company for young travelers 18-30 looking to see a lot in a short period of time. Their trips are a lot of fun, but depending on the group may skew a bit party heavy. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you are after. They have tons of itineraries around Europe, Australia, and New Zealand as well as some options in Central America and Asia.
Topdeck is a slightly grown up version of Contiki. They also focus on the 18-39 traveler but offer more in-depth country tours vs quick overview itineraries. They have a big selection of itineraries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, as well as a good selection of trips to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Busabout is a cool tour company that allows you to travel independently while still reaping the benefits of a group of fellow travelers and relying on the support of the Busabout staff. Their premise is hop-on-hop-off tours that offer transportation along a certain route but give you the option of how long you choose to spend in each destination. They offer trips all over Europe and in Asia. They are a great choice for festivals, special events, sailings, and winter getaways.
Gadventures is the tour company that speaks the most to us. They offer trips for any travel style, be it Yolo (for those wanting to travel with other young travelers), or active trips, expedition trips, or their newest addition, National Geographic Tours, that allow you to travel deeper into the cultures and habitats of the places your visit.
If you have ever asked yourself, what’s the best way to get from city A to city B or Country A to Country B? Rome 2 Rio probably has the answer. Rome2Rio is a search engine that allows you to find itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. It shows you how long each option takes and how much each itinerary will cost.
This is probably the best website for information on train travel around the world. We’ve referred to Seat 61 on many occasions when traveling through Asia, Morocco, Europe and beyond.
If we need to book a car, we always do it through Orbitz. Partially, because we always find great car rental deals on Orbitz, but mostly because Orbitz allows you to make a reservation without paying a dime. And we love that flexibility! We’ll often book a car well in advance of a trip and if we find a better deal elsewhere or change our minds about renting a car altogether it’s easy to cancel and there are no cancellation fees or charges to worry about.
We rely on Uber to get us all major cities all around the world. We always opt to use Uber instead of a regular taxi. No matter what part of the world we are in, Uber is always a cheaper and much more enjoyable option (at least in our experience). Bonus: Use our invite code, b8vhe for a discount on your first ride.
We are not going to surprise anyone by saying that we use Google Maps to navigate around the world whenever we are behind the wheel or on foot. But the use of Google Maps doesn’t end there. A lot of cities around the world have now integrated their public transport schedules into Google Maps, so getting around on public transport becomes easier than ever.
After Oksana’s surfing accident earlier this year, travel insurance is now a non-negotiable for us. And it should be for you! Here are the providers that we have used in the past and would recommend to others.
Budget Direct Travel Insurance (for Australians)
We used them while living in Australia and most recently on our long RTW trip from Australia to Costa Rica (until Oksana lost her Australian residency and could no longer benefit from their plans) Their coverage includes medical, personal effects, rental vehicle insurance, trip interruptions and so on (check the fine print for details) and they offer a great Annual Multi Trip Insurance option perfect for frequent travelers.
TuGo (Previously OneWorld Assist) (for Canadians)
TuGo is the insurance provider we have been using since coming back to this side of the world (we are officially Canadian residents again … on paper). Tugo offers great insurance options ranging from All Inclusive Premium Packages to budget friendly Emergency Medical only and based on our research is one of the cheapest insurance providers in Canada.
World Nomads (for everyone)
World Nomads is a great alternative for anyone whose travel plans don’t fit into the regular box of traveling 1-2 times a year for less than 30 days at a time. World Nomads allows you to buy insurance while on the road, extend it as many times as you like, resume your trip when it’s interrupted, and it covers you for all sorts of cool and adventurous activities and protects all your stuff too! But we’ll be honest with you, World Nomads is not the cheapest option out there, so think of it as a perfect alternative for a flashpacker!
Trip Planning Resources
For us, planning a trip to any destination is half the fun. So we spend a lot of time researching and learning about each country, its culture, traditions, main sights and attractions, and hidden gems before we depart on any trip. Our research almost always starts with Lonely Planet books. We buy the Kindle (or PDF versions), load them up on our phones and Kindles and use it in preparation for the trip as well as on the ground in the country we are visiting. Tip: Their “On a shoestring” series is our favourite!
If you have never heard of Wikitravel, you are in for a mind-blowing discovery. In the typical wiki style, Wikitravel contributors (which are regular people like you, by the way) have put together a guide for what seems like every city/region/country in the world. The guides are always fairly up to date updated by travelers for other travelers. If it’s a destination people travel to, you’ll find info about it on Wikitravel.
Blogs, blogs, and more blogs!
When we are getting ready for a trip, other blogs and other people’s stories serve as great guides and inspiration for our own trips. We hope that our stories and stories from others in the travel blogging community will continue to help you plan your trips for years to come.
Travel Blogging Resources
We know that certainly not everyone keeps a travel blog, but we also know (based on a lot of questions we get from our readers) that a lot of you do. If you are just starting out in your blogging journey, here are a few blogging resources that you might find useful.
This site is currently hosted with Bluehost, a low-cost hosting provider that offers good customer support and was great in helping us to get started a few years ago. Plus our hosting package includes free domain registration!
Mailchimp is an email marketing software which offers a simple way to manage your mailing list. It’s free for lists up to 2,000 subscribers, and their paid plans start as just $15/month.
Travel Blog Success is one of the biggest travel blogging communities, offering the most comprehensive and helpful course on travel blogging. We have learned a ton from it when we first dipped our toes into travel blogging and we are still learning to this day.
Read More: 10 Travel Blogging Strategies That Work
Lightroom is our favourite photo editing software and one we’ve been using for more than over 5 years. It’s not free, but at a price of just $9.99/month it offers everything you need to take your photos from good to great!
All the best photos taken during our travels, featured in our Travel Photography section, are hosted on SmugMug. We have searched long and hard for a plugin or service that would allow us to display our photos in the best possibly way and are so happy to have found a great solution with SmugMug!
Keeping our work on hard drives while we are on the road is a temporary solution, so as soon as we have a small break from traveling and good internet, we upload all of our photos to the Amazon Cloud Storage, which acts as our long term storage solution. We invested in a Premium Amazon Cloud Drive account that allows us to upload an unlimited amount of photos, videos, and documents to the cloud for just $59.99/year.
Google Drive is our favourite solution for storing documents online. We use it as an extension of our hard drives in an attempt to keep as little of our data on our computers as possible. That way if our computers crash while we are on the road, we could hop into an internet cafe and have access to everything we need to continue running our blog and our other businesses. Nothing is ever lost forever!
Music makes life so much better, so earlier this year we invested in a family plan for Spotify Premium. Now our playlists are accessible even when we are not connected to wifi/data and our hotel rooms, cars, bus rides, plane rides, etc are never quiet.
Over the years, we have realized that when it comes to travel clothes, some items are worth investing in. These are some of our key wardrobe items that we carry with us no matter where we go. Aside from these, our packing list includes a few t-shirts/tank tops, a few pairs or shorts (skirts for Oksana), a couple of bathing suits, and underwear.
Max’s Travel Necessities
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Oksana’s Travel Necessities
Take a peek inside our photography kit! These are all the cameras, lenses, filters, and other accessories that we use to capture photos and videos of our adventures around the world.
Other Electronics & Accessories
Our tips are never a vacation, as we are constantly working on the road. Needless to say, we carry more electronics and accessories than the usual traveler. This is the full list of all electronics and accessories that travel the world with us. From laptops to charging devices and more!
Essential Travel Apps
MapsMe is a Google Maps alternative for when wifi or 3G/4G connection is not available. Maps Me allows you to download maps with or without routing options and use them offline no matter what country you are in.
This app is the master aggregator of your travel plans. When linked to your email address, the app sifts through your incoming emails to find flight confirmations, car rental bookings, hotel receipts, activities, etc and adds them to your itinerary in the app with all relevant booking information.
XE is a currency conversion app that allows you to select up to 10 currencies and using live market rates convert prices into any one of those 10 currencies on the go.
Trip Advisor is no longer the be all end all app for our travels (we prefer locals advice for activities, places to eat and opt to use Agoda’s ratings for accommodation advice), but we still refer back to it every now and then. No other app has the amount of reviews available for activities, hotels, restaurants, etc as Trip Advisor.
Pocket is a nifty mobile app and a website/Chrome extension that lets you save web pages and articles to your personalized “pocket” database, which is synced across all your devices. This means that if you stumble across a good article on Facebook, you can save it to your Pocket with the Chrome Plugin, and save it on your phone for future use.
Trail Wallet is a great expense tracking app for travelers that’s the most recent addition to our travel apps collection. Its most useful feature is the ability to use multiple currencies in expense tracking, which are converted to your home currency using an inbuilt currency converter.
Read More:11 Travel Apps We Can’t Travel Without
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