Travel Planning Resources

Whether you are a long-term traveler, a digital nomad, or just a curious visitor of far-away land enjoying a well-deserved vacation, our travel planning resources cover all facets of travel planning you need.

Travel Planning Puzzle

Dream vacation on Côte d’Azur, backpacking in Mongolia or multi-year journey around the world? In truth, the success of any trip depends on careful travel planning. Above all, these online travel planning resources save time and make any trip preparation less stressful.

For instance, learn about the cost of living or type of power outlets. Likewise, search for best plane tickets. Afterward, look into booking accommodations or even decide to try housesitting instead. Finally, refresh your travel etiquette knowledge.

Jump to Visas | Financials | Travel Insurance | Keeping in Touch | Useful Apps | Tickets | Accommodations (including House Sitting) | Practical Advice | Traveling with Children | Solo Travel | Travel Forums and Communities | Travel Gear

List of travel planning resources can’t be complete without the answer to “How to find the best plane ticket?” question. In Budget Airlines And Regional Carriers: Flying Under The Radar  we share our successful strategy.

Travel Planning Resources » Before You Go

  • Numbeo – the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide
  • Expatistan – cost of living index
  • Expatfinder – looking for a new place to stay/live/work somewhere in the world? No doubts, there is a good chance that Expatfinder might help. Browse articles and advice concerning digital nomads, location independent professionals and, of course, expats around the world. Banking questions or looking for insurance? Check their variety of expat-targeted services.
  • Country Profiles – from BBC
  • European Commission
  • European Border Crossing – information about Schengen Borders by European Commission
  • BootsnAll – one-stop indie travel guide
  • Travel Math – online trip calculator. For instance, you can measure travel distance and travel time or compare the distance by car, or the length of your road trip
  • Speed Limits by Country – from Wikipedia
  • Trustpilot – Europe’s largest and fastest-growing consumer review platform
  • The Guide to Sleeping in Airports – whether you sleep in an airport overnight by choice or you just get stuck in the airport due to a layover or weather delay, let’s make your travel experience more tolerable
  • LoungeBuddy – discover and book premium airport lounges worldwide. NOTE: American Express acquired LoungeBuddy. According to the information on their website: “Moving forward, lounge booking services through the LoungeBuddy platform will be exclusively available for American Express Card Members.”
  • Which travel adaptor do I need for… – country-by-country report from Electrical Safety First
  • Worldwide Travel Plug Guide – from Cheapflights.co.uk
  • GasBuddy.com – gas prices in the US and Canada. Including gas prices map, gas prices per gas station in different cities, trip cost calculator
  • RewardExpert – a service that provides you with a strategy about getting an airline ticket to anywhere in the world without paying the airfare

International Driving Permit

Online Travel Planning Resources » Air Quality and Pollution

  • Air Quality Map (by Breezometer) – perhaps, not a first thing that comes to mind when you start thinking about your next destination. However, if you plan to stay in one place for a prolonged period of time (i.e., slow travel) and/or you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to the quality of air, better to consult this map.
  • Worldwide Air Quality Map (by Plume Labs)
Travel planning resources by country: 🇧🇬Bulgaria and Sofia ~ 🇨🇴Colombia and Medellin ~ 🇨🇷Costa Rica and San Jose ~ 🇨🇾Cyprus and Limassol ~ 🇬🇪Georgia and Tbilisi ~ 🇳🇱Netherlands and Amsterdam ~ 🇵🇹Portugal and Lisbon ~ 🇹🇭Thailand and Chiang Mai ~ 🇺🇾Uruguay and Montevideo

Online Travel Planning Resources » Visas

  • iVisa – check if you need a tourist visa. Then, if you need it, apply online. According to iVisa website: “We enable travelers to process visas from a computer, smartphone or tablet. Travelers no longer need to research or get frustrated dealing with different Governments.”
  • How to Get an EU Passport – Citizenship by Descent – from XYU and Beyond – Europe is on your mind, and you want to stay there for an extended period time. For an American or Canadian citizen, it’s not easy. Getting an EU passport is notoriously difficult but possible. This article explains how to obtain this coveted item by applying for residency through descent
  • How to (Legally) Stay in Europe for More Than 90 Days – from Nomadic Matt
  • The Ultimate Guide to staying longer in Europe – from I am Aileen by Aileen Adalid
  • Know Before You Go: Passport, Visa and Health Regulations – a tool provided by IATA (International Air Transport Association). Specifically, it provides personalized passport, visa and health requirements advice based on your personal details and itinerary. In addition, check if your travel documents are sufficient. Also, details on customs import and export regulations. In particular, it covers rules about pets, airport departure taxes, and import and export restrictions.
  • Sherpa – Easy Travel Visas. This mobile app allows to search travel visa information for your citizenship, and apply for those visas

Financials

  • WeSwap – is the people’s currency exchange. Specifically, they let travelers around the world swap currency with each other with no hidden costs, so that everyone gets the fairest rate and has more to spend on the important things on holiday
  • TransferWise – send money with the real exchange rate. Banks and other providers often add a markup to their exchange rate while advertising low fees, which means you could be paying huge hidden charges. TransferWise transparently displays its fee upfront and deducts it before conversion. TransferWise then uses the mid-market rate, independently provided by Reuters without any markup
  • Cash App (formerly known as Square Cash) – users can request and transfer money to another Cash account via its Cash App or email. Then, they can choose to withdraw the money with its debit Visa card, called Cash Card, in ATMs or transfer it to any local bank account
  • N26 – smart banking with Europe’s most modern bank account
  • Xoom and Venmo were acquired by PayPal – they both offer “send money” services. Since they become part of Paypal, the advantage of using them instead of Paypal is not clear
Expanding travel planning resources even further. What a traveler should know about insurance. International travel insurance vs. health insurance.

Online Travel Planning Resources » Travel Insurance

Online Travel Planning Resources » Keeping in Touch

  • Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki – information about prepaid (or PAYG) mobile phone plans from all over the world
  • ChatSim – SIM card that lets you connect your Chat Apps wherever you are. TB NOTE: if all you need is WhatsApp or FM messenger it makes perfect sense. If you need Google Maps or Uber look for something else
  • PackageRadar – trace your online orders by tracking number; covers 181 delivery providers. Complete list of providers.
  • Parcel Monitor – package tracking with 600+ carriers
  • Long-Distance Gifts – gift ideas when you are abroad and frantically searching for a birthday present for your friends and loved ones back at home
More travel planning resources. We travel, we work –> list of Technology Resources (Digital Nomad Resources) on the road.

Online Travel Planning Resources » Useful Apps

  • Klook – discover activities, attractions and things to do wherever you travel. Link to download apps is in the right top corner of the page
  • Mobile Passport Control (MPC) – expedite a traveler’s entry process into the United States. Eligible travelers can use the app to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via a smartphone or tablet prior to CBP inspection

Online Travel Planning Resources » Tickets

Fare Aggregators and Booking Engines

As a traveler, even if you never heard words Fare Aggregator, you most certainly had used it.

Essentially, fare aggregators search the search engines.

Perhaps, the best example of where they thrive is airfare. Today, air travel is only rarely booked directly through the airline without first searching and comparing prices. That’s where aggregators come handy.

“Oh yes, Expedia” you may knowingly wink. Actually, no. There is a different category called Booking Engines. Expedia and Travelocity are its iconic examples.

So…, what’s the difference? You see, booking engines are search engines that find travel deals from providers that agreed to let their prices show in the results. Basically, if an airline does not have an agreement with Expedia, you won’t see its fare in the results.

Aggregators pros and cons

Sometimes the same flight can have vastly differing prices at various aggregators and booking engines. Therefore, it pays to compare search results.

Aggregators may show different prices (sometimes drastically different) depending on location, browsing history, past purchases, etc… Clear cookies or use private (incognito) browsing to remedy that.

Moreover, aggregators use cookies to track which flight routes you want are interested in. Then, they charge you more for a flight you want to take. Same as above, clear cookies, use private (incognito) browsing. If you find this advice too technical, simply search from a different browser or computer.

How we use aggregators

Generally, we use aggregators as a first step for ballpark estimates and finding which airlines or railway companies are plying the routes we want to take.

Sometimes buying tickets from aggregators or booking engines is the only way. Some companies may not accept foreign credit cards. In some cases, you may be reluctant to create an account with yet another airline or railway company.

Remember that budget and regional airlines may not appear in aggregators and booking engines results. Check Budget Airlines And Regional Carriers: Flying Under The Radar for a list of low-cost airlines and to learn our successful strategy to the best plane ticket.

Airfare Aggregators

  • Matrix Airfare Search – from ITA Software by Google – if you are based in the US, this is one of the most helpful online travel planning resources you can find
  • Dohop – a travel search engine based in Reykjavík, Iceland, originally founded to aggregate and link low cost flight connections. TB NOTE: in comparison to Hipmunk found better flight deals
  • Skyscanner
  • Momondo – our favorite
  • Kiwi.com (formerly known as Skypicker) – find and book low-cost flights all around the world. Some call them “THE flight hack” others say “No customer service, no assistance, the Kiwi Guarantee doesn’t exist.” We haven’t used them.
  • Airfare Watchdog – search for best airfare deals. TB NOTE: in comparison to Hipmunk found better flight deals
  • Hipmunk
  • Vayama – best at finding two one-way fares that beat the price of a roundtrip fare. Also has great deals for flights to South America
  • Flightnetwork – specializes in flight deals; shows some low-cost airlines that other aggregators do not use
  • Kayak – includes some low-cost airlines
  • Indie – Multi-Country Flight Finder

Train, Bus, etc. Aggregators

  • Omio (formerly GoEuro) – air, bus, train and car rental search engine for travel in Europe
  • fromAtoB – train, flight, bus & carpool in Europe
  • Trainline – train and bus travel in Europe
  • Loco2 – Loco2 changes tracks and will soon become Rail Europe https://raileurope.co.uk
  • Rail Europe – planning and booking European train travel for visitors from Americas, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa

Onward Ticket Services

Proof of onward travel? For sure, long-term travelers or digital nomads are familiar with this requirement. You want to visit a foreign country but to enter you have to prove that you will eventually leave. Traveling with a one-way ticket, not sure of your next destination or when you want to leave, creates a potential problem. Who wants to pay for a ticket s/he likely not going to use? Services listed below provide a solution.

  • Best Onward Ticket – if you are traveling long-term or without a fixed plan using one-way tickets, you may be required to show proof of onward travel in order to obtain a visa or even to board your plane. BOT provides you with a perfectly legitimate flight ticket that lasts for the duration of your journey (generally long enough to get you through airport check-in and immigration on arrival).
  • One Way Fly – a Paris located travel agency offering the possibility to receive an onward ticket that is good for 14 days (including your choice of onward destination). You will only have to pay a small amount for this service, way less than you would have paid if you had to book for a real plane ticket.
  • Ticket Onward – another service if you need an onward ticket. Ticket Onward is valid for use within 72 hours (3 days). Beware: you would have to upload  a photo of your passport to book your ticket.

LOGISTICS AND SUCH: plane, rail, bus, taxi…

  • Rome2rio – find the best way to get from A to B, anywhere in the world. Compare your options: plane, train, bus, car, ferry, bike share, driving and walking directions all in one search
  • SeatGuru – airline seat maps, flights shopping, and flight information
  • FlightsFrom.com – finding airline routes and flight schedules from a specific airport. Combining their results with booking directly from airlines is one of many purposes of these online travel planning resources
  • Low Cost Airline Guide – in the UK and Europe. NOTE: the website still functions, but it looks like it hasn’t been updated for a while. Use as a reference only.
  • Freighter Voyages – sailing on a freighter
  • Eurail – travel Europe with Eurail train pass. It was formerly known as Europass or Eurorail pass. The Eurail is a train pass that allows its holders to travel in 28 European countries. It covers nearly all European railroads and some shipping lines
  • Grab – if you are in SE Asia, I bet you already know these guys. Think about Uber replacement. Grab came to places where Uber is not welcome. This Singapore-based company is rapidly expanding geographically and into food delivery and other areas.
  • Taxi2Airport – an online reservation and booking system for airport transfers all around the globe
  • Suntransfers – reliable, low-cost airport transfers. NOTE: one of our favorite choice of airport transfers around the world
  • Blacklane – services: airport transfers, limo, private car services NOTE: one of our favorite choice of airport transfers around the world
  • AirHelp – air passenger rights advocate provides legal services to airline passengers who have experienced a flight cancellation, delay or overbooking when traveling into or out of the European Union
  • ParkMe – as the name implies, this app helps to find a parking spot. Over 200,000 locations, in 15,000 cities, on 7 continents

Online Travel Planning Resources » Accommodations

Housing

  • Airbnb – find a place to stay around the world. Our go-to source to find long[er]-term accommodations
  • AirDNA – Airbnb data & insights; might help you to make educated decision about where to go next
  • HostelsClub – 28,000+ affordable accommodations all around the world
  • HotelsCombined – compare hundreds of travel sites and save
  • Couchsurfing – a service that connects members to a global community of travelers. Use it to find a place to stay or share your home and hometown with travelers
  • HouseTrip – one of Europe’s largest holiday rental booking sites
  • 9flats.com – european counterpart of airbnb
  • HomeAway
  • Be Mate – a new way to stay and live in the city. It is a place where the comfort, space and privacy of a home meets the security and amenities of a hotel.
  • Holiday Lettings – privately owned holiday rentals worldwide
  • Roam – an international network of communal living spaces. Roam is building the first global co-living provider. Sign a single lease and you can roam among properties across multiple continents

House Sitting

Practical Advice: Life on the Road, Etiquette and Been Smart

Traveling With Children

Solo Travel Planning Resources

Online Travel Planning Resources » Travel Forums and Communities

  • Backpack ME Travel Blog Traffic Exchange – The Travel Blog Traffic Exchange is a collection of the best travel blogs on the internet.
  • BootsnAll – around the world travel community for indie travel with good coverage of online travel planning resources
  • Expats Blog
  • Expat Arrivals – local info for global expats
  • Expat Exchange
  • InterNations – expatriates community from expats for expats
  • JourneyWoman – online travel planning resources just for women
  • Just Landed – Everything you need to live abroad – connecting expats worldwide
  • Lonely Planet – certainly, no introductions necessary. In particular, include their forums as a part of your online travel planning startegy
  • Matador Network – a community of passionate travelers across the globe
  • TravelDudes – a travel community. Above all, for Travelers, by Travelers!
  • TravelFish.org – helping travelers to Southeast Asia get the best experience. As well as helps off-the-radar places gain a little more exposure to the world

Travel Gear

We are constantly scouting the web for the best travel planning resources to add here. Yet, we are only humans, and with petabytes of information floating around, some worthy candidate might get overlooked.

If you have a travel planning resource you used and liked, let us know either by leaving a comment below or by contacting us directly.

Cheers!

P.S. Be reasonable – blatantly low-quality self-promotional or sponsored content will be scorned at.

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Published: May 2015. Last update: September 2019

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Travel Planning Resources
Dream vacation on Côte d’Azur, backpacking in Mongolia or multi-year journey around the world? The success of any trip depends on careful planning. These online travel planning resources save time and make any trip preparation less stressful.

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26 thoughts on “Travel Planning Resources”

  1. Awesome list Elena!

    Loads of stuff in here I’d not heard of – great job compiling (and updating). Thanks!

  2. The site really helped me a lot to find some travel spots to add in my travel bucket, thanks for your suggestions.

  3. I’m not the best planner, so this is awesome for me – thank you for all your research, I’m saving this & will check it for my next trip, especially the travel insurance options – cheers

  4. What about Tripit for organizing your itinerary into one place? I’ve found that helpful since it’s easy to lose track of confirmation emails. Also, Vamo.com is nice for planning trips to multiple destinations, it automatically finds the best route and makes booking open jaws easier.

    • I used Tripit for a while but have mixed feelings about it. Tripit was useful for trip planning inside the US for non-overlapping trips. However, it did not work as well for multi-stop foreign trips. The biggest problem was with different currencies. For example, one airline used €, another – EUR. Tripit did not treat them as the same currency and could not calculate the total price of the trip. The only workaround was to manually re-insert amounts. Another problem was with “a trip within the trip” – for example, I have a 2-month long trip to Spain, but during 3rd week of this trip I am planning to visit Portugal. Tripit went haywire and never recorded correct dates. The bottom line: I had to manually “correct” Tripit for every non-US trip. Not very impressive.

      I haven’t heard about Vamo. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll play with it to see how it works.

      • Ah, yeah, I can see TripIt not handling more complicated trips well. I’ve mainly used it for shorter ones. I run into the same thing with google calendar messing up auto-entered flight times because of time zones!

  5. Wow these are some great resources. I’m definitely bookmarking this page to check all of these out later. I use Travel Math quite a bit, sometimes just for fun to plan hypothetical road trips. Gasbuddy.com is also a great site for road trips because it’ll give you prices for gas stations in cities across the US and Canada.

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