If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that I geek out about planning travel. In fact, it’s kind of one of my favorite parts of the whole process. Of course, I love it when I’m finally on site and exploring all of the places I wanted to see, but finding those places before the trip is what gets me super excited about traveling.
The first part (and the hardest part for me!) is figuring out where you want to go. I have SO many places that I want to visit this year so it’s been hard to try to condense a list down to just a few places. But once you’ve figured that out, the fun begins.
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But for this post, I want to talk about logistics. You’ve got your final destination, and you’ve compiled a list of places to visit while in the said destination, but how do you actually make it all happen, right?
Well lucky you! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite travel websites and apps that I personally use all the time when researching and planning a trip.
7 travel websites and apps for planning your next vacation
Hopper: I discovered this awesome app last year and I’ve been using it ever since. In fact, I’ve even bought a few plane tickets by using Hopper, so it’s definitely a must-have for me. Basically, the app allows you to set alerts for destinations and it will send you notifications when prices on flights change. However, with its algorithm, Hopper will also tell you to ‘Wait’ or ‘Buy Now’ by suggesting that prices are likely to go up or down again soon.
I’m currently in the “logistics” stage of a trip, so even right now I have multiple travel alerts set and I’m reviewing Hopper alerts each day.
HotelTonight: I noted this app in a recent post about apps to use while traveling abroad. I noted it because what I love about it is that you can find awesome travel deals on hotels. But there’s a timing factor with the HotelTonight app, in that they only give you hotel deals about 20 days out from the present date. So, I’ll usually start looking at this app about a month before my travel dates. In fact, this app was super helpful when I was looking at hotels for my upcoming trip to LA!
Roadtrippers: If it’s not obvious by the name, Roadtrippers is a great site (and app!) to use when planning out a road trip. The interface is really nice and visual, making destination-to-destination mapping super easy. Plus, you can tell the map to pinpoint things like Accommodations, Attractions, Points of Interests, Vacation Rentals, etc. and it will map them along with your route. Cool, right? Website / App
Airfarewatchdog: I found a $400 RT flight to Paris using this site! This is another travel deal site that I use all of the time. Anytime I’m interested in a new place, I’ll set an alert on Airfarewatchdog. Then, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and review a daily email recap of travel deals based on your selected destinations.
Airbnb: Now that you’ve got the cities you want to visit, head to Airbnb to find a place to stay. On my last trip to Europe, my sister and I stayed in Airbnbs in every location: London, Nice, Positano, and Rome. I especially loved our finds in Positano and Nice. They were both very clean, had responsive and helpful hosts, and close to areas we wanted to explore. That’s all the say that I have yet to have a bad experience using Airbnb. Website / App
And hey, if you want to get a $40 travel credit on your first Airbnb booking, go here. You’re welcome! 🙂
Kayak: You’ve most likely heard of this one, but this is another travel deal site I use all of the time. I used to only use it for booking flights, but recently I’ve been checking it out for car rental and hotel deals, too. It’s connected with Booking.com and Priceline, so I feel like I always find great travel deals using Kayak. Thanks, Priceline Negotiator! 😉 Website / App
Tripadvisor: This one is important for me because I like to check reviews before I book a hotel. I’m particular about certain things (e.g. thin walls/ kill me!), so I like to read through guest comments before I commit. It’s the worse experience for me when you’re staying at a nice place, but you can hear guests below you, above you, or in the next room. I’ve stayed at a 4-star bed and breakfast with this experience, so you can’t always go by ratings. Website / App
CheapAir.com: I know, I know, I’m giving you a lot of travel deal sites, but I always think it’s nice to review a few sits to get the best offer. And what I love about CheapAir is its simple interface. I especially love its Flexible Dates feature. Results show up as a simple scroll that shows final price, valid travel dates for the said price, and which airline you’ll be on.
If you’re planning a trip way in advance, another nice feature is their ‘When To Book‘ that shows you how many days in advance you should book to get the best offers.
Once you’ve got the logistics figured out, the fun part of the planning can commence. If you’re like me, you love finding unique little spots for photo ops. In fact, on every trip I take, this is always a part of my research process.
And I’m happy to help you with this, too! For just $30, I’ll create a curated travel itinerary of cool places for you to check out in your destination of choice. Learn more about this service here.
Let’s go places,
What are the apps you use ALL the time when planning trips? Share them with us in the comment section below.
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