As with everything in this blog, I try to give you all the right information to help you make informed decisions for your travels based on my experiences.
With that in mind and in my experience over the years, I’ve picked up several travel tools and resources that I use to either save money or to make my travels as simple as possible.
To help you with your travels, I’ve compiled them all into this handy list, to help you when booking and enjoying your next trip.
Please note that several of these links have some sort of affiliate offer attached to them, which I will get a little bit of money from, but that helps me to continue to add content and maintain this website, and you’ll also save some money. So it’s a win win.
Booking.com – What makes this stand out is the ability to assess a bunch of properties quickly, book well in advance and not have to worry about paying (in most cases) until you arrive at the property.
For me, being able to filter properties in any given location by the services they offer really allows me to narrow down all the options to fit my needs. Being able to filter out accommodations that don’t offer parking or don’t offer a kitchen/kitchenette for longer stays makes a big difference in finding the right place to stay for each trip.
Pro Tip: For the most part, Booking.com also details if parking is free or an additional cost. I’ve found this extremely handy when assessing different hotels. I often find that slightly cheaper hotels in big cities and near airports will charge a day rate for parking, ultimately making them more expensive than the slightly more expensive option that includes free parking.
Another important factor for me is that often book several trips months in advance, and I find Booking.com an extremely handy tool to organise all of my accommodation needs in one place. Then I don’t have to worry about it. I know exactly where I need to go to get my accommodation information, even if I booked it months ago and if I need to change or cancel anything, it’s all in one place.
With all of that in mind, Agoda is another very good alternative if you would like to compare.
I don’t know why, but all of the rental car booking aggregation websites and apps that I’ve looked into in the past offer ridiculously expensive rates. So, I stick to booking my rental cars directly with the providers.
Thrifty – I rent a lot of cars throughout the course of the year, and without a doubt, the experience at Thrifty is best regardless of where you are in the world. No hidden fees. Really customer-focused experience. Best of all, on more than one occasion they’ve given me a partial refund for returning a car early in the instance that my travels have changed. Other rental car companies that will not be named have charged me an extra fee for doing the same thing.
Avis – Again, because I rent cars often, I have a lot of experience with different rental car companies. Avis is also an extremely good option. I can’t recall an airport that I have visited that isn’t serviced by Avis. Their check-in process is extremely straightforward, without any hidden fees.
Pro Tip: Always opt to fill the car up yourself. It’s always cheaper than the rate offered by the rental car company, and there is almost always a petrol station at or very close to the airport to do this on your way to return the car.
Another Pro Tip: Rental car companies always offer an expensive insurance package to bring down the ridiculous priced excess should you end up in an accident. You can save a bunch of money with a good quality travel insurance package that will cover the rental car excess in the event of an accident… See below.
Cover-More – As I just mentioned, travel insurance covers you for much more than just getting sick or injured while travelling. I always, without fail, get travel insurance every time I travel. In fact, because I travel so frequently, I save money by purchasing an annual travel insurance plan that covers all of my scheduled trips for the year, both international and domestic. I do travel a lot, though!
Lost luggage, trip cancellations, rental car accident excess, and obviously getting sick or injured while travelling are all covered as part of Cover-More’s packages. While I haven’t had to claim very often, maybe once or twice, it’s always been a very easy process, which is exactly what you need when making an insurance claim.
I occasionally compared prices with a handful of other travel insurance providers, but for what’s included and the service provided when you do need to use it, I haven’t found a reason to use any other providers.
Tickets & Experiences
I used to be the kind of person who waited until I got to my destination before booking tickets to different attractions, often just buying them when I arrived at each attraction. However, what I’ve found in recent years, is that you can save money by booking in advance (especially with multi-attraction passes) and that some activities still have capacity limits which can fill up if you don’t book in advance.
Klook – Is my go-to website (and phone app) when it comes to booking tickets for experiences and attractions. Its built-in search tools make it a really good resource for discovering different attractions and tours at your destination.
Klook becomes even more handy when it comes to overseas trips where you might have a language barrier when trying to secure tickets locally and in foreign currencies. Best of all, they offer bundled ticket options for many popular destinations all around the world that combine multiple attractions to help you save money.
From theme parks to art galleries and sporting events to historical sites, the ticket options for attractions, experiences and events are extremely vast on Klook. They do offer other services like accommodation and rental cars, but I find that you get much better value using some of the other services I’ve previously mentioned covering those.
I also find that much the same way as I use booking.com to keep all my accommodation bookings in one place, I use Klook to keep all my attraction ticket bookings in one easily accessible place. It’s especially handy when your trip includes multiple destinations and attractions that you’ve booked in advance.
GetYourGuide – A very good alternative to Klook, the ticket prices and attraction offerings are comparable across both sites. But sometimes they offer different specials where you might be able to get even better value. If you aren’t so concerned about having all your tickets in one place, it’s worth taking a look at GetYourGuide as well.
CityPass – Where the two previous sites I mentioned offer a variety of options, CityPass specialise in bundled tickets for each destination. The idea is that you buy one pass that gives you access to a selection number of attractions and experiences.
These bundled tickets are for select popular cities to visit around the world. What I’ve found is that they offer 3 or 4 attractions that will absolutely grab your interest and then a bunch of other fill attractions that you may or may not have an interest in to make up the extra value.
With that in mind, the bundle ticket they offer for each city could be really good value, or not so much, depending on your interests. Have a look and compare what’s included with the other sites I’ve already mentioned.
Ticketmaster – I really enjoy attending sporting events at the different destinations I visit. In fact, I fairly regularly organise my travels around certain sporting events. And I know a number of people do the same thing around concerts for their favourite artists. The best way to secure tickets to major events is through an official ticket provider like Ticketmaster. There are a few other providers, but I’ve found that the vast majority of events I want tickets to are available through Ticketmaster.
ExpressVPN – Free internet while travelling is great, but it does come with some inherent dangers. VPNs offer a level of protection by encrypting your data and preventing free internet service providers (or any service providers, for that matter) from keeping track of what you are doing on the internet while you are travelling.
There is nothing worse than having your banking details or credit card details recorded while booking the next stop on your trip simply because you used the wrong internet connection.
ExpressVPN is my service of choice at the moment. VPNs are great for extra piece of mind. However, they can slow down your access to the internet when the service is oversubscribed. Having used ExpressVPN over the last couple of years, it’s not an issue I’ve experienced with them.
Added Bonus: VPNs are also a great way to access geo-locked resources on the internet. Very handy for watching your favourite Netflix shows during your overseas travels.
Airalo – While most tourist destinations offer a pretty good range of free WiFi internet services, being able to access the internet from every through your mobile device is extremely important to a lot of people. Especially if you plan on using Google Maps to navigate, something I do a lot.
Picking up a local sim is a great way to do this, but you could take advantage of a travel eSim provider like Airalo to secure your data service before you leave your home country. That way, you are ready to connect the moment you land. Very handy for booking that Uber from the airport to your hotel.
For me, it really depends on where I’m going. For destinations where I know I can get a sim from a good quality provider at a decent price either before I go, or the moment I arrive (Australia and New Zealand are great for this), then I’ll get a local sim. Whereas for places where I don’t know the providers, there is a language barrier and it is much easier to get scammed; I’ll take advantage of Airalo for that extra reassurance.
Truth be told, it’s been a long time since I took a full-fledged multiday tour, but when I was just starting out my travels, heading off to places I didn’t know, where they spoke languages I didn’t understand, these tours were a great way to find my feet in a new city and discover a lot in a short amount of time. All while meeting some great like-minded people along the way.
That said, I do find that shorter single-day tours are a convenient way to get quick oversight of a new city you’ve never been to before. As well as being a really good option for short day trip excursions out to nearby attractions.
Big Bus – Even as a seasoned traveller these days, one of the best ways I find to get up to speed with a new city quickly is the local Big Bus tour.
These hop-on/hop-off style tours are a great way to be able to quickly see an overview of the city. The audio tours are informative, but more so, they allow you to work out where everything is in the city you are visiting. Spot any good and/or bad areas. And then solidify your plans for the next couple of days of your trip.
I don’t get off at every stop. Instead, I pick out one or two things that might be difficult to get to without another form of transport (say, renting a car) and explore those, all while making mental notes as to what else I would like to come back to over the next few days. Especially things that might not have been aware of when I initially booked the trip.
Viator – While this website allows you to book a variety of tickets and experiences, where I find Viator most handy is when looking for day trip style tours to attractions that otherwise might be difficult to visit without renting a car. They package up organised experiences and local tours which can be really handy to discover more of a local insight into your destination.
Strand – When it comes to buying a new suitcase (I tend to wear them out), my first stop is always Strand. In terms of luggage, they tend to have the widest array of options from all the brands that I have come to trust over my years of travelling. I do have some specific recommendations on suitcases I’ve used in the past, but in any case, they have all the major brands and reasonable prices.
Mountain Designs – My one-stop shop for all things outdoor gear. Their range of snow and wet weather gear options is particularly good. They also have a really good range of backpacker-style backpacks, even though I’ve grown out of that style of travel now. When it comes to hiking and camping, they’ve got everything you need covered.
Merrell – This might seem like an odd addition, but with my love of exploring and hiking trails through national parks, good-quality footwear is a must! Merrell’s range of high-quality outdoor footwear, especially their waterproof Goretex range, is my absolute go-to. I can not tell you how many pairs of Merrell shoes I’ve worn out in my travels, but it’s a lot.
If walking around and exploring on foot is also your go-to way of discovering all a new destination has to offer, you need good-quality footwear as well. The good news is that you can save up to 60% on select styles using my referral link.