I don’t really like trip planning.
There, I said it. I know that’s a privileged statement to make but I’m just being honest here. For someone who likes planning out their daily life so much, I lack the same kind of enthusiasm when it comes to trips. I love to travel but if I could have someone plan out the itinerary for me that would be awesome. The overwhelming amount of options, lack of knowledge of new places, and so on can make it a long process.
Here are some of the best websites I’ve come across that have helped make trip planning easier. It’s worth noting that most of these are useful if you’re like me, a normal person with limited funds. If you have an unlimited travel budget, let’s be friends. Cheers to saving some $$ so you can splurge more on food for the ‘gram.
Websites for Airfare
If you’re flexible on dates (or even locations) then this is a great resource to search for flights. A quick search will yield a list of all flight options with a summary at the top of the best, cheapest, and fastest routes. You can also set up price alerts for specific destinations and dates. It’s a simple, no frills website that makes deal hunting easy. I also like the homepage where they post deals for popular locations like London or Bangkok (see second picture below). The range of prices are all based on estimates but it’s helpful when you’re trying to figure out when to book a trip.
For the extra nosy travelers like myself, this is your new best friend. How many times have you wondered if your flight has USB outlets or TV screens on the seats? On Route Happy, simply fill out the flight dates/destinations and you’ll get all the information. Below is Jared’s upcoming flight from SEA to FRA (so unlucky, I know) and you can see all this helpful information. Personally I’m most intrigued that the food is served on fine china. HAHAHA. I kid.
Anyway, next time your flight doesn’t have an outlet for your laptop or doesn’t provide in-flight entertainment you don’t have to be unpleasantly surprised.
Scott’s Cheap Flights
I LOVE Scott’s Cheap Flights. This is a free email subscription where Scott emails out flight deals from various regions/airports as he finds them. There is a premium version that sounds amazing – my friend Sam got it after I recommended her check out the free version and she says it’s great! (Not to toot my own horn but I’ve referred so many people to Scott’s Cheap Flights. I get nothing but the satisfaction of helping my friends book awesome, cheap flights.) The website boasts cheap international flights but I’ve actually booked domestic flights from Scott before. West coasters, if you like going to Hawaii then I’d subscribe asap because there are frequent Hawaii deals! Even when I don’t book the flights, I love seeing the deals for all regions and destinations.
Below is an example email I received for nonstop flights to Reykjavik. I like how Scott gives an overview for general flight availability, the normal price, what airlines are offering the deal, and when you should buy tickets by.
Websites for Accommodations
Everyone has their preferences when it comes to hotels but I think everyone would prefer to book efficiently so you can get the best deal for your choice. The type of hotel I pick varies on the destination. If I know I’m going to be out exploring a city all day and just need a clean place to sleep at night, I will almost always book a room that’s budget friendly. I usually pick something based on proximity to the places I will be exploring. On the other hand, for a destination that’s going to be more chill and relaxing I would spend more to stay in a higher end resort. I think most people default to websites like Expedia however I’ve never had great success there.
Jared and I are Executive members at Costco because Costco is the BEST. (Seriously, I’m a cheap date and would be content being taken out to dinner at Costco. This is not a joke.) One of the perks of Costco is their amazing travel site that has stellar customer service. They have really helpful and dedicated people ready to assist you with booking, questions, and any issues you might run into. If you like a travel agent type of experience, booking an entire vacation package through Costco can be really rewarding. There are often perks for Executive members too! We booked our hotel package for our next trip through Costco because it included a complimentary airport pickup/dropoff service and we got a $50 room service credit. Other perks often include free cash cards or Costco gift cards. The only downside is you can’t book just flights through Costco Travel.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is actually where I learned about Momondo. This is a really user-friendly search engine to search for the best flights, hotels, etc. Since you can’t book directly through Momondo you can trust that they aren’t inflating the prices. It’s simply a way to display options and then you book through a third-party site from your search. I usually default to Google Flights if I’m looking for the cheapest flights but recently discovered that this is a great option for hotels too. Below is an example search where I looked up the famous Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort on Momondo. It might not show the cheapest of all the Internet but it’s a good starter. I like to use it as a first stop then I shop around.
Google Trip Planner
My entire life is on Google so another Google product just makes sense when it comes to trip planning. I am new to this app actually, so there are probably more features that I will discover as I travel more in the next few months. Basically it’s an app that can store all of your reservations, itineraries, offer discounts, and suggest attractions. What I don’t like is that it’s only an app so far and the list of attractions is fairly limited. For frequent travelers, it’s nice because it stores all of your reservations in one place and you can even browse old trips you’ve taken. I just downloaded the app recently and I found tons of trips I’ve taken years ago.
For those that prefer to rent a room or a treehouse or an entire house, sometimes Airbnb is the way to go. I think my favorite thing about Airbnb is that there are so many unique accommodations to fit all your needs. Be careful to check the cleaning fees or minimum stays for certain properties. For $40 off your first stay using Airbnb, click here!
Have you used any of these sites? One that I’m not mentioning is actually something that I frequently use for travel but it’s related to credit cards. I don’t know if there would be any interest in me writing about my travel card but let me know! Jared and I have loved having our Chase Sapphire reserve card. It’s not for everyone since it comes with a hefty annual fee but in our experience, it’s totally worth it.
If you’re wondering what types of sites I use for planning the itineraries, I have to be honest – I don’t have a good system! I usually just rely on social media like Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs. The lists I build when researching for trips are always dominated by restaurants I want to try, of course.
I have a lot of travel posts coming up in the next few months and cannot wait to share them with you all!