Best Travel Websites
Whether you plan a little or a lot, planning for your vacations, holidays and trips can be made much easier with some great resources. These are the resources and websites we use to research when we are planning our travel. They are also the sites we use when booking our travel, particularly when it comes to hotels, tours and car rental.
Having travelled extensively for over 20 years, we know a thing or two about travel planning. From camping to glamping, luxury motorhomes to small campervans, mid-range to luxury hotels, we’ve stayed in a lot of places. We’ve done luxury barge cruises, food tours and food experiences, flown business class, premium economy and economy, and travelled in buses and on trains.
We’ve booked all of this travel and so much more by ourselves, online, without the help of travel agents and other booking personnel. How do we do it? With all the travel resources and best travel websites noted below.
We only recommend those we use and would use again. Sometimes, ownership of companies changes, their business model changes or their service declines. If we ever use one of our favourite travel companies and they let us down, of course, we will give them another go, but when we no longer love them, we will let them go.
This list is constantly evolving, because like us, things change and so we will change, update and add to this list whenever we can.
The good thing about all of these travel websites is that using them doesn’t cost you a single cent more.
**This post may contain links to products and services we recommend and make a commission from. For further information please read the disclaimer.
General things to consider when planning your travel are:
- Correct documentation: passport, visa, electronic pre-approval
- Getting travel insurance
- Doing research for accommodation, transport, tours
- Booking flights or other rental cars
- Booking accommodation. We use Trip Advisor and Booking.com
- Checking for travel warnings with relevant authorities
- Researching and planning an itinerary
Accommodation and places to stay
There are so many ways to book accommodation these days but we try to keep it simple, for us and for our readers. We use Trip Advisor all the time. Why? Because it covers all the great hotel booking companies that most people around the world are used to. It gives reviews as well which are also useful and we can book with whoever has the best deal.
We also use Booking.com which are good for allowing bookings to occur with a cancellation period, without losing money.
We’ve used Agoda many times, finding them easy to book with and we’ve never had an issue with a booking.
Hotelscombined and Hotels.com are also reputable booking engines.
Searching for flights
We often book our flights directly with the airline, but we also use Skyscanner and Momondo too. Skyscanner and Momondo gives a great wrap up of all the available flights, routes and pricing for your planned destinations.
We also love using these sites that give us alerts to really great airfares and travel deals.
Dollar Flight Club – Want to save money on your flight and get special deals? Sign up to the Premium Dollar Flight Club (Extra deals, special deals, choose your airport, member discounts)
Airfare Watchdog – Get airfare deals and cheap flights. Sign up for their newsletter so you don’t miss the deals. Search online for the best flight deals.
I Know the Pilot – Similar to those programs above, this one is particularly good for people who live in Australia.
Booking car rentals
When we hire cars we use Rentalcars.com, one of the most comprehensive booking websites for car rental. Here you can see the range of cars on offer for the dates of your choice plus all the added items and inclusions.
Hiring a motorhome
When hiring a motorhome in France or in western Europe, we use and recommend France Motorhome Hire. We have been using them regularly since 2012, and we love everything about them. Hiring with them means no hassle for us and when you are doing a big road trip, that’s exactly what you need. France Motorhome Hire was purchased by Apollo Motorhomes in February 2019 and are continuing to provide the same level of service, with new vehicles and some great new added inclusions.
The great thing for you is that if you mention us (Beer and Croissants) when you are getting your quote, you’ll automatically get €50 discounted from your total hire cost. Now that’s a great saving!
In Portugal, we use and recommend West Coast Campers and in Iceland we use CampEasy.
In the USA we use a peer-to-peer RV hiring solution through RVShare.
Renting out your RV
In the USA we work with RVShare who have a great online marketplace for owners of RVs to hire them out. Oftentimes, RV owners only use their vehicles for parts of the year. Instead of having them sit around, they earn money from them by putting them into a hiring pool. You can find out more here.
Buying a motorhome in France
As frequent motorhome travellers, we often get asked about buying motorhomes in France (in particular) and more broadly across western Europe. If you are a non-EU resident, buying a motorhome in France can be difficult and fraught with possible danger. We work closely with Euro Camping Cars who have developed a safe and legal way for non-EU residents to buy a motorhome.
Read our article here to a fully comprehensive explanation of the issues and how you can buy a motorhome in France safely.
Motorhome packing lists
We also have some very popular packing lists for motorhome travel to ensure you are prepared for everything.
Motorhome essentials: A packing list for motorhome hire
Motorhome equipment list: A comprehensive motorhome supplies and packing list for owners
We recommend Viator as they are one of the largest online tour companies with access to tours all over the world. They are easy to use online, and they provide a safe and secure payment system for all online purchases.
We also use Get Your Guide, a well known global tour operator.
For great food tours, we use and recommend Eating Europe Food Tours. These guys really know how to run a great food tour and are currently covering London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Amsterdam, Prague, Naples, Strasbourg, Porto and Lisbon.
Travelling with our smartphones has become standard practice now and to be honest, we wouldn’t be without them. They make our travel life so much easier, particularly for maps, searching for open times for specific places, checking emails (we still work whilst we are away), communicating with travel providers etc. Of course, it’s useful for watching things such as Netflix as well. Many of the great travel websites we’ve already noted above are available as smartphone apps as well.
- Skyscanner is an app we use all the time to check flights, prices, availability and then book when we are already on the road.
- Uber. We wouldn’t be without this one and love that we can catch Uber all over the world without changing anything. If Uber works in your own city then it will work anywhere in the world where Uber is available. While you are at it, sign up for all the rideshare apps that you can as different countries often have a preference. Try DiDi, Ola, Grab, Shebah and Lyft as some of the main ones.
- XE Currency Converter. There are many of these but we’ve been using XE online for years so it was easy just to grab their app.
- Booking.com allows you to make bookings but also keeps track of your bookings, gives alerts, directions and other information.
- The Agoda app also works in the same way as does Trip Advisor. In fact all hotel booking websites have their own app, like Hotels.com and Hotelscombined.com also.
- For booking tours, we use Viator and Get Your Guide, all available in app format to allow for booking on the run.
- Google Translate is our go-to when we need to translate some words quickly. We also love TripLingo which as well as translating, has voice translation in multiple languages and allows for the translation of images also.
- TripIt keeps all of our itineraries and travel documents together in the one location. It will provide travel confirmations, booking information for cars and hotels, even trains and ferries. You can share this information with someone else so they know where you are.
- As keen Roadtrippers, using the app with the same name is perfect for us. It allows for the planning of driving routes and gives information on great things to see and do along the way. You can even book hotels and tours through the app too.
- Need a lounge in an airport. LoungeBuddy gives information on all the premium lounges in all the airports in the world. Irrespective of which airline or class you are flying, you can get access to these lounges by paying an entry fee.
- Similarly, Priority Pass app gives information on where all of their premium lounges are for a pay upon entry fee, in airports all over the world.
- Who doesn’t love tracking their plane these days? FlightAware allows for live tracking of your aircraft which is perfect for seeing if it is on time.
- Hate jetlag and do everything to try to avoid it? As long haul flyers, jetlag can be really bad so we’ve got ourselves into a routine that minimises this. For those who find it difficult, Timeshifter is a suggestive app that gives tips and hints on how to best prepare yourself before, during and after the flight. It tells you when you should go to sleep and when to avoid light amongst other great tips.
- Whatsapp. This app is perfect for keeping in touch with fellow travellers or others at home. Works on wifi and is completely free to use.
The travel guides that our readers love the most are those written by Rick Steves. If they can’t find one for their required destination, the Lonely Planet guides are their next choice.
We do a lot of road trips so Google Maps are our best friend. When we are overseas and have access to wifi or data, we will use Google Maps all the time. If we know we might be in an area with limited data access, we download the maps so we can use them offline.
Via Michelin also has a good online mapping service.
If you need to know the best transport to use to get from one location to another, Rome2Rio is the perfect option. It will show you every available transport option as well as the duration of travel and cost.
Triposo. This apps allows for maps to be downloaded that will work offline. It also allows for the downloading of city guides for use offline, giving access to all the main attractions whilst you are not connected to data.
All of these tools are also available as apps on your smartphone.
Taking out Travel Insurance
It’s a common statement, but it’s one I honestly believe in. “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. The number of times I have spoken to people who have said “Oh I don’t need it” defies belief. Touch wood we’ve never needed it for anything major, but we’ve had a few issues that we have been thankful to have it. We spend a lot of time on the road and sometimes things just happen that you can’t control.
Like that time we were returning our motorhome to the depot and someone backed into us in a carpark, causing significant damage to the plastic bumper and underneath the vehicle. Or that time a stone came from another car or truck and cracked the windscreen. Actually, that happened twice! We’ve had clothes stolen from washing machines and smartphones stolen too. And of course, with the amount of travel we do, it’s only natural I suppose that we would have some luggage delayed and go missing.
Others have had significant injuries requiring medical evacuations and repatriations to their home country, or huge medical bills in the US after suffering medical issues. The list goes on.
Protect yourself by getting the best travel insurance you can afford.
We have used Travel Insurance Direct for years. We love their service, their pricing and their comprehensive cover. We now take out an annual policy. The only downside is that it is for Australians only.
Safety Wing provides travel medical insurance for digital nomads and freelancers. They also have packages that include a pension. It is underwritten by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world. It is available for purchase and coverage in 180 countries and support is available 24/7. Prices start at $37USD for four weeks.
For worldwide cover for non-Australians, World Nomads is a major provider.
Read our article on Travel Insurance Essentials
Wifi access and data
We are huge data users when we travel but we don’t want an accompanying huge phone bill. We have used and recommend portable pocket wifi hotspots from Travel Wifi and Hippocket Wifi.
We also use and recommend SimsDirect if you are after a sim card to use overseas with calls, texts and data. Order online, get them delivered before you leave and simply pop into your phone at your destination. It activates straight away.
We’ve put all of our articles about each country altogether to make it easier for you to find.
For a list by country, click here.
If you’d like to search more broadly, click on the images below.