There are many travel sites out there that offer information for planning trips, be it a short weekend to a long term adventure. There are so many, in fact, that finding one that has the accurate and proper information you are seeking can be quite a challenge. My goal in this blog is to be a comprehensive site to offer the best information from first hand experience in planning a year long around the world trip. I wont be an all inclusive information site, but by reading my blog from beginning to end someone should be able to have all the resources and first hand tips to plan their own amazing trip, to any location, on a budget.In the course of my previous travels and planning this trip, I have sifted through hundreds of sites to find the best tips to help me plan my time and money in an effective manner. On the sidebar I have a section entitled “Useful Planning Links” that includes my favorite sites for information regarding all things travel. They are, to put it bluntly, the best of what they offer and the only sites I use while planning my trips. This section and post will be continually updated as I come across more useful links that I would like to pass on. A brief description of these sites is given below:
Kayak: Kayak’s search engine crawls hundreds of airlines and booking sites to find the best price for every route imaginable. So far I have yet to find a price on another site that is cheaper, especially when booking international tickets from North America.
Seat Guru: Seat Guru lists the optimum and poor seat locations on every plane with appropriate seat layouts and information. Do not get stuck with a bulkhead seat or with loud engine noise ever again.
USA Transportation Security Administration: The USA TSA has a lot of valuable information useful for traveling by air. While most of these rules are specific to the USA, a lot of it is now common practice around the world as well. Great lists of what is legal and illegal to take in a carry-on and packed luggage and outlines of the 3-1-1 rule. Useful to travelers from around the world.
Seat 61: Seat 61 primarily outlines the costs and timetables for most of the train routes from around the world. There is some information on buses and ferries for major routes although this information appears more limited than for trains – especially for buses.
I Hate Taxis: I Hate Taxi’s is a great resource for finding airport information and costs for different modes of transportation to get into the city. Odds are if you haggle, these prices can go down sometimes more than what is quoted from my experience, but it is a good reference.
HostelBookers: HostelBookers is one of the leading hostel search engines with thousands of hostels listed throughout every country around the world. They have a massive review system and hosted pictures to help you find the best hostel for your money.
Hotels Combined: Hotels Combined is like Kayak but it is purely dedicated for hotels. This site searches multiple hotels websites and booking engines to find the best fares for all hotels. It has a great filter feature to allow for greater control to find the hotel you need.
Trip Advisor: Trip Advisor is a complete travel site with information on many countries from around the world. Great for hotel reviews and first hand accounts as well as top destination choices
Bootsnall: Bootsnall, like Trip Advisor, has a lot of country specific information that is incredibly useful for travelers. They have a large RTW travel section in the message boards with other similar travelers giving great advice.
Wikitravel: Wikitravel is setup in the standard wiki format with user submitted entries. A standard entry has data such as ‘Get In,’ ‘Get Around,’ ‘What to See,’ ‘Where to Sleep,’ and general costs as well. One of my favorites.
Other Travel Services
Cruise Critic: Cruise Critic is the ultimate source for cruise planning. Their message board is a valuable source of information and the posters are nothing short of die hard when it comes to all things cruising.
Travelpod: Travelpod is one of the best travel blog hosting websites on the internet with some of the best features and integrated travel map. A great message board of travelers giving great advise and travel discussions. I am currently the local expert for Ohio and my travelogues can be found hosted on this site as well.
XE: XE is a currency exchange monitoring website that has the most up-to-date exchange information for all currencies around the world. It is a great planning tool when trying to budget for your trip.
Embassies Abroad: Embassies Abroad has a list of every embassy located in every country around the world. It is a great tool to find out where you can go and obtain a visa during your travels.
USA Center for Disease Control: The USA Center for Disease Control offers a lot of information on staying healthy in countries from around the world. It also gives information regarding recommended and required vaccines and what dieseases are present in the country you want to visit. Useful to travelers from around the world
USA State Department: The US State Department has a lot of up to date information regarding the conditions of countries around the world and if there are any safety threats present. For US citizens this is also the resource to find out visa requirements for countries you intend to visit. Citizens of other countries should check their respective state department for up to date visa information
As you can tell, there are a few topics that I have not found great sites for yet. If you know of a topic that is not on this list, please let me know and I will check it out and put it in the links section!
In addition to these websites, I also love the style of publications that Lonely Planet publishes for travel guides, particularly their “On a Shoe String” series which has the best tips for traveling on a budget. But be wary though because once hostels, restuarants, and other establishments get published in these books their rates climb due to sudden popularity. They are great to have on hand while traveling if you do not intend to have constant internet access, but like most of these planning links, they should only be used as a loose reference at most and not absolute truth.