What websites and resources do you normally use when before and during your trip? The available resources are continuously growing, so what are the choices?
Multiple resources per travel phase or stage
Most people use multiple resources during the different phases of the trip, as there is no single travel app or website that gives you everything. Or maybe there are some, but there is no clear winner, or they are not good enough in all aspects of a trip.
Let’s divide the trip into a few phases:
This is where we start looking for options, mostly destinations, dates, companions, and sometimes reviews as well. Advanced travellers may look for weather forecasts and more.
Blogs are an important part of this stage, as we want to see pictures, read recommendations and evaluate options. If we travel with more people, we sometimes want to share part of the research. And there is no clear winner here.
Have you found yourself taking and sending a screenshot with a flight or a hotel? I don’t think there are enough tools to provide all this at the moment. Everybody knows the importance of social networks, but the key players in the industry do not seem to provide the right tools.
Tripadvisor.com seems to be leading the reviews World still, but Google is approaching super fast.
This is a key phase and there are plenty of players trying to win. The meta-search business is turning into sales, so websites that are only used to search and redirect are now merchants.
There seems to be a high percentage of travellers that start looking for flights when they don’t know where and when. Websites such as Skyscanner.net and Kayak.com now let you search without a date and a destination, so guiding you in this phase quite well. Google is also becoming a big player here, and we all know that when it comes to searching nobody will have the courage to confront them.
Booking.com is still the leader in hotels, with the largest inventory in the World. Many people use other resources to buy such as Expedia.com, but when it comes to searching Booking seems to be the reference site.
And at some point, we need to make decisions, and the worst part: we need to pay.
But even this phase can be complex for some people. Some websites offer the possibility to pay in multiple currencies from multiple locations, and advanced travellers see a possibility here. This is now a technique called Resident Fares.
Online or mobile banking can also be important here, as they offer accounts in multiple currencies, good rates and minimum or zero commissions or fees. In our post “Best Free Cards for Travel” we detailed some of these benefits.
Travel time! Now the resources that are normally used are different.
Travel cards are essential here. Everyday cards (from standard banks) have a lot of hidden charges, such as foreign transaction fees (“non-sterling”, if your account is from the UK), cash withdrawal fees and interest charges even if you pay them off in full your credit card bill. Moreover, banks and credit cards normally give you very bad exchange rates. In our post “Best Free Cards for Travel” we listed some of the best ones.
Reviews, blogs and especially maps are important in this phase. Our Best Travel Apps post shows the most useful apps while you are travelling.
Best Travel Websites/Apps
This is our selection of websites for travellers, grouped by categories:
Accommodation / Hotels
- Booking.com Leader in hotels
- Expedia.com Flights, hotels and holiday deals
- Lastminute.com Late travel deals
- Trivago.com Compares hotel prices from different websites
- Hotels.com Another option for hotels
- Airbnb.com Short-term residential properties (peer-to-peer)
- Hostelworld.com Hostels and cheap options
- TravelSupermarket Compares the best travel deals in one place
- Opodo.com Flights, hotels and car hire
Flights / Airports
- Skyscanner.net Finds the cheapest flights
- E-Dreams Cheap flights and travel deals
- Flight Center Long-haul, tailor-made holiday specialists
- Kiwi.com Cutting-edge flight search
- Compensation Claims Gets compensation in case of flight delays, cancellation or overbooking
- Google.com/flights Find cheap flights in seconds and explore destinations on a map
- Kayak.com Flights, hotels and deals
- Momondo.com More flights
- Flightstats.com Real-time flight status and airport tracking
- Holiday Extras Airport hotels, transfers, parking and lounges
- Wikitravel.org Open source travel guide featuring up-to-date information
- Welove2Ski.com Snow report, to information on where to ski and how to ski
- LonelyPlanet.com Expert advice, travel tips, destination information and books
- Gogobot.com Find deals, reviews, and recommendations. A bit of everything. very interesting
- ifly.com Airport info, flight status & tracking
- Eater.com Food news and dining guides
- Coolcamping.com Discover the best Campsites
- Songkick.com Find gigs and buy tickets
- ResidentAdvisor.net World’s largest independent electronic online music magazine
- Xe.com Currency exchange rates
Rent A Car / Airport Transfers
- Europcar.com Car and van hire
- Rentalcars.com Find the best prices from over 100 car rental companies
- Easycar.com Cheap car hire by Easyjet
- Hoppa.com Search, compare & book rides all over the world
- Quandoo Find and book your table at the best restaurants worldwide
- Tripadvisor.com 435 million+ unbiased traveller reviews (you can now book tours and hotels as well!)
- Viator.com Find and book the best tours everywhere
- GetYourGuide: Book tickets for top attractions around the World
- Klook: Discover and book experiences in Asia
- Tiqets: Tickets to culture and entertainment from your smartphone. No printing, no waiting.
- UrbanAdventures.com Day and short tours
- TourRadar.com Search, compare and book tours
- Voyage-prive.com Good deals and packages on quality holidays and luxury trips
Trip Planner / Itinerary
- Triphobo.com Vacation planner/itinerary creator
- Inspirock.com Create a personalised day-by-day itinerary
Additional travel tips and recommendations
- I strongly recommend Skyscanner for searching both cars and flights. I always find the best prices for both.
- We also recommend Quidco, which gives you cash-back when you buy from most of the travel vendors above. This referral link gives you £5 already.
- For a selection of mobile applications, visit our Best Travel Apps post.
NOTE: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.