Our favorite websites to book cheap travel!
Sometimes I feel as if our travel planning style is unorthodox. As independent travelers who do everything ourselves (who am I kidding, I do all the planning! -Lindsay), I almost always teeter between being enlivened by the planning phase of a trip and nearly giving up in favor of just winging it.
So, I totally understand the massive overwhelm most people face when planning a trip while trying not to get ripped off.
Take for example (a bad example probably) our trip to India in 2016. After researching for two months I got a killer deal on our flights on Orbitz.com 4 months in advance, but somehow managed to avoid securing our first nights stay when we got there.
Let's just say we had quite an adventure walking around the dark streets of New Delhi with all our bags looking for a hotel at 9pm after flying half way around the world. Yikes! Thankfully Nick is a true champion of adventure travel and didn't make me feel like the idiot I was.
Through our travels in Asia, Central America, and the States, we've had our share of travel fails like this one, learned a ton of lessons, and gathered a plethora of resources to help us plan our trips and stay within our budget. We hope you find some value in the information we've compiled below.
This post contains affiliate links from companies we have partnered with and who we trust and use ourselves. Any purchases or bookings made through these links will help our efforts with this blog and is greatly appreciated.
Best ways to find cheap flights
I hear it all the time that people don't want to travel far because the flights are so expensive. That doesn't have to be the case though. I've had some incredible luck with these sites. Simply click on the images or text links below to search for your next flight.
Last month when I thought we were going to Asia at the end of the year I was searching flight deals on Justfly.com to go from LAX to the Philippines. I found round trip tickets for $554. Do you know how hard that was to pass up? That's a cheaper price than most flights simply going across the country here in the United States.
Just this morning I was on Flighthub.com trying to figure out multi-city flights from LAX to Spain, then to Israel, and back to LAX from Cairo.
It's a tricky scenario I'm trying to workout, but I found the lowest price I've seen yet at only $1033.
FlightHub has a great user interface too, making it easy to compare itineraries!
Another great website I use regularly to search for flights is Cheapflights.com.
READ MORE: 10 Ways To Save Money While Traveling
I also like to use the popular Expedia.com to suss out the deals. I recently found a round trip flight from Chicago down to Mexico for a SCUBA trip for only $200, in the middle of summer!
I've been using Expedia for years and am thrilled to finally be affiliated with them. I love to search their daily deals and get travel ideas and just see what's going on in the travel world. Next time I do a cruise, I'll book through them as well.
For flights in the US, I love using Skyscanner USA. They are one of my favorites to search on as their search tools are unique.
You can see prices for an entire month at a glance, which is awesome if your dates are flexible.
Why pay significantly more for a flight just because it's a few days before? Skyscanner has really upped the game here.
Another awesome website I like for searching and comparing flight deals is AirfareWatchdog.com. I have yet to make a booking through them, so if you do, please give me feedback about your experience. I have searched their website a number of times and receive email updates about trips I'm interested in. So far, so good!
Best Travel Insurance and Why You Need It!
I hate spending money on travel insurance. Hate it. But it's one thing I will not travel abroad without. There are simply too many unknowns when venturing out to exotic lands to not have insurance. If you get seriously ill or injured, get robbed, need to cancel a flight or come home suddenly for a family death, these things are all covered.
Nick and I both used our travel insurance once in Thailand after getting nasty infections from swimming with cuts on our legs #gross. It was completely unexpected and so random what happened to us, but we spent 10 days visiting the local medical clinic every single day to have our wounds cleaned. The costs added up quickly, but everything was reimbursed, and our peace of mind was priceless.
READ MORE: Why You Should Prioritize Traveling Abroad
My favorite travel insurance company is World Nomads, which is why I am so stoked to be associated with them. We've always had a great experience, felt good about the value we received, and had zero issues making claims. There's a basic option, and an "explorer" option that covers things like SCUBA diving and other adventure sports. Of course that's what we choose.
World Nomads tends to be cheaper than the others as well, and is highly recommended by other reputable companies like Lonely Planet (who we are also affiliated with because we would never consider going on a big trip without having one of their guides in our hands!)
If you're planning a trip, plug in your details to the World Nomads quote generator above to get an idea of what you're looking at spending, and please, don't go on your trip without it. Trust!
Cheap Hotel Booking Sites
I have to be honest here, I'm not the biggest fan of booking hotels ahead of time when doing long, budget-minded trips. Often what I find in places like India, or Thailand, or Vietnam is that the best kept secrets never made their way onto the internet. You have to be there to find them.
But that's not always the case, and in some places it's the safe option to book ahead of time, like for our upcoming trip to Egypt, or during peak travel times. So in these cases, I like to use the following sites. We have a relationship with each one and if you book through one of them you will be helping our blog. We appreciate that.
My absolute favorite website to search for accomodations is HotelsCombined.com.
I'm pretty sure they search the whole damn internet so I don't have to. They search all the top sights to give you the best deal.
I always check HotelsCombined first when I need to book a hotel somewhere or just check prices to see what I should expect to pay.
I also love the idea of BedandBreakfast.com. These guys are so clever, only showcasing boutique inns and distinctive properties. You can hone your search to only include certain property types. Say, you want to stay in a haunted inn with known ghost sightings, or a small bed and breakfast on the rim of a volcano, you can do it! I would totally stay in a haunted inn!
Best Alternatives to Hotels
With the innovative advent of Airbnb and the option to have our creature comforts while traveling, it's so tempting to stray from the traditional hotel setting. Nick and I used Airbnb to book the cutest little house during our trip to Alaska last summer. It was so nice to cook breakfast, do laundry, and have room to spread out with our friends. If you use one of these Airbnb links you will receive a $40 travel credit!
Another site I love is Homestay.com. Right now I'm using it to find the perfect host for our upcoming trip to Madrid. I don't want to rent an empty property, I want to stay with a family in their home. I'm excited to get more practice speaking spanish than just the typical, "Donde está el baño?" out on the streets.
The Homestay.com site has a great user interface and many options in most cities.
Other Travel-Related Sites
I always make it a point to learn the language basics of whatever country I'm visiting. I love the reactions I get when I can bargain in the local language. Learning a new language creates new neuropathways in the brain and fosters confidence when faced with the inevitable culture shock of visiting a new place.
Right now I'm attempting to learn some basic Arabic (key word: attempting) with the help of Rocket Languages. Their audio lessons are very interactive and helpful. What I love most is that they not only teach you the language, they teach you about the culture as well, which to me, is the whole reason to visit a new country (besides the food, duh.)
Pick a new language to learn with Rocket Languages and use this link and get $50 off your purchase.
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