This list of travel websites will save you time (and hopefully money). A lot you may already know, and some you may not. Either way, I hope they will be as useful for you as they are for me! Because I never plan a trip without using these travel websites.
Listed in no particular order, and as always, all opinions are my own.
Best travel websites for booking hotels
I use Ttrivago for cheap hotel deals. Their search engine searches all of the different hotel booking sites like booking.com or Expedia.com for you and gives you a list of the prices on each of those websites so you can get the best deal possible. Even though this site has given me some pretty good deals, I always check the hotels’ website as well, because sometimes there are special deals on there that don’t appear on the search sites for some reason. For instance if you book 2 nights you get the 3rd one for free. You can never be too sure, am I right?
I use Hotwire when I want to book a luxury hotel without paying top price. It’s a great website and they also offer deals on rental cars and package deals with flights. There is one catch however, they give you the name of the hotel you’ll be staying in after you book it. But you can preselect price range, number of stars given, a specific area in the city and guest reviews. So you’ll at least know it’s in the city centre, has four stars and a 90% approval rate! I have booked hotels through them in New York, Cape Cod and Berlin and each time I stayed in 4 or 5 star hotel near all the major highlights for a bargain price!
p.s. Priceline is a similar website, but I haven’t used it myself yet. They have secret hotels but they also let you bid on hotels.
I-escape is a booking site for hip hideaways and boutique hotels. You can search by destination or find a specific hotel. This site is perfect if you’ve had enough of the (mostly) chainhotels that can be found on sites such as Trivago.com or Booking.com. If you are looking for a nice, independent hotel or B&B, this place should be your first start.
Booking tickets or holiday packages
Kayak or Skyscanner
Looking for flights? Go to Kayak or Skyscanner to get the cheapest price, shortest flight or the flight with the least layovers.
holidaypirates.com / traveldeal.com / paperflies.com / ticketspy.com
These are websites that do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to cheap flights and great package deals. Subscribe to their newsletters or follow them on social media to get the inside scoop on their best deals. They find error fares on flights and have great last minute deals on hotel and flight combinations.
The only downside is that the deals sometimes can be too good to be true. For instance, in my case the airport of departure is in Germany or Belgium instead of the Netherlands (where I live) and this adds up to the costs and travel time.
When planning your route
Googlemaps.com and maps.me
Not only are GoogleMaps and Maps.me useful for mapping out your roadtrip. You can download maps on your phone to use when you’re offline so you can use it on the go in a new city. Especially helpful if you have the tendency to get lost (all fingers pointing at me). And also very useful when your rental car doesn’t have a GPS system! I also use GoogleMaps when I want to use public transport abroad. It will show you the departure times, but also which routes to take from A to B, including if there are transfers or not
Rome2Rio is a search engine and tells you how much time and money it takes from your door to any destination in the world. For example, Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Willemstad, Curaçao: this trip will cost me around 12 to 19 euros on public transport and between 270 and 900 euro on airfare and it shows me I have to take the tram to the Hague Central station, then a train to Schiphol, which will take me about 55 minutes. Followed by a 9.30 hour flight to Hato Airport and then a 30 minute ride to the city centre of Willemstad. Pretty handy!
Just need travel inspiraton?
I always want to travel but I don’t always know where I want to go. So when I need inspiration or when I want to know the cheapest destination for a certain date, I go to Adioso. Just fill in your departure location, destination and specific date or month you want to travel and let their search engine do the rest!
This is actually an app, not a website. But it’s worth the 8 mb on your phone! Look no further if you need some original and unique inspiration for your next trip and find out great flight deals at the same time!
Want to go to a James Bond film location? Or find out where to get the best spicy food spot in town? Which destination is best for photography or volcanic trips? They know! Let the Hitlist app be your guide!
When planning a daytrip
Want to go on an excursion while on vacation but don’t know where to start or not sure what is out there? Viator is your answer. They have a list of excursions for almost every country in the world. So check out this website and book your guide, snorkel trip or off road adventure. They also offer airport transfers, but I’ve noticed that these transfers don’t come cheap and therefor I haven’t booked any myself yet.
I have saved the most obvious one for last, as you can see. I always turn to TripAdvisor to see where I can get the best and most reasonably priced local cuisine in the area and this has led me to some amazing and sometimes unexpected dinner choices. Also worth checking out if you want reviews on excursions, guided tours, hotels and well, almost anything you would want to know about your upcoming destination!
Travel websites for transportation
It’s all in the name. Getting a taxi abroad is a great way of getting scammed. Use Easytaxi to pre order a taxi and get a fixed price, this way you (hopefully) never overpay for a ride again. I would also suggest checking out the route on Googlemaps, so you know when the driver is taking an unnecessary detour.
Sunnycars works with different rental agencies all over the world. They offer all inclusive deals, so no surprises when you pick up your car or local dealers trying to sell you insurance you already have. You can pick up the car at one of the rental agencies their locations or have the car delivered to your hotel.
The man in seat 61 is my go to guru when it comes to traintravel. Wanna know on which side of the train you get the best views? Where to book your train tickets online? Or the most beautiful routes through Europe? This is the site you want!
Miscellaneous travel websites
As a kid I always loved it when I got my pocket money during holidays, because of the weird currency we would get it in. 10 Guilders would suddenly transform into 10.000 Italian Lira or 65 French Francs. And to this day, when I get a foreign currency out of the cash machine of which the exchange rate is (extremely) low, I feel rich, if only for a second.
This is until I try and find a restaurant with a reasonably priced menu and then I get confused. Because how much is 1.000.000 Hungarian Forints? A tourist scam or a very cheap lunch? (Answer, around 3 euros, so a very cheap lunch.) Luckily there are websites and apps that do the maths for us! Just select the countries’ currency and your own on XE and check if you’re not overpaying for your traditionally prepared meal.
Another golden oldie from Google: Google Translate. Not only useful when translating from your mother tongue into a foreign language. You can also use the camera function when you’re trying to decipher the menu in a restaurant. It will show the menu in translation on your screen and this way you don’t risk eating intestines or brain, if that’s not your thing. And I can totally see why it wouldn’t be!
Accuweather is a weather website which has almost every little nook and cranny of the planet covered weather wise. Just type in the location and get a 24 hour, three days’ or even an entire months’ forecast. Great for when you’re preparing your trip and very useful during!