Resources

I have to admit, I don’t particularly enjoy planning. I find it stressful and confusing, and prefer to just go with the flow on my trips. However, I’m well aware that this approach isn’t possible on every trip.

While I do prefer to be spontaneous, I’ve learned from experience that often you get better deals when you do your research and make reservations ahead of time! Plus, there’s something to be said for knowing where you’re going to sleep at night, right?!

Following are some of my favorite resources for planning and arranging travel. I hope they will be as useful to you as they are for me!

If you feel there are any awesome resources that I’ve left out, let me know! I’m always looking for ways to make travel easier for myself and others!

**Note, this page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at not extra cost to you. That said, I promise I’m recommending these services because I use them, trust them, and I believe they are of value to you!

For Booking Flights

I only just started using Skyscanner this year, but I’m now a devoted fan. The flexible search functionality compliments my indecisiveness quite well. The tool allows you search an entire month to discover which days will be the cheapest to travel (…or the most expensive, if you just feel like throwing money away!).

If you don’t even know where you want to go, you can select “anywhere” and Skyscanner will find the lowest airfares to destinations around the world for you to choose from! If there’s a destination you want to keep your eye on you can also sign up for email alerts and Skyscanner will send notifications of price changes right to your inbox. Pretty handy right?

Before I started using Skyscanner, I relied on Expedia. I still use it to compare prices, and sometimes even to make reservations. I’ve used Expedia for rental cars and hotels as well as flights, and I find they often have the lowest rates. The search functionality isn’t quite as flexible as Skyscanner’s, but I still find this site easy to use.

Expedia also offers a points program, so if you book through them repeatedly you can earn rewards over time. I will also say, I have had to contact Expedia’s customer support team a few times due to sudden flight cancellations or itinerary changes and they have always been very accommodating, which I appreciate tremendously!

A few more notes on booking flights…

When searching for rates, it’s often tempting to go for the cheapest option, but there are other factors to consider as well. I always compare the following when booking flights:

  • Travel time – often the cheapest rates come with lengthy travel times. 36 hours to get from Mexico City to Vancouver? No thank you! I’ll gladly spend a little extra to arrive at my destination sooner. Time is valuable!
  • Number of stops – I’m sure you don’t need any reminders about how tedious de-planing is. You can save a lot of money on flights with multiple stops, but you’ll waste a ton of valuable vacation time. Unless you’re REALLY curious about airports, look for the most direct flight possible, within your budget!
  • Airline baggage allowances – If you’ve ever flown with Spirit airlines and the like, you’ll really appreciate this tip. Budget airlines can suck us in with their fascinatingly low rates, just to slap us in the face with fees for things like printing a ticket. Always review an airline’s baggage policies before booking just to ensure you’re not in for any surprises at check-in.

For Accommodation

I’ve become a big fan of Airbnb over the past year. It’s an especially good option when you’re traveling in a group because you can save quite a bit of money by sharing one unit, rather than paying for extra guests in a hotel room. It’s also great for longer stays. Many hosts offer generous discounts for reserations of a week or more.

Airbnb offers a fun and interesting way to live like a local in an unfamiliar city. It’s nice to arrive to a “homey” space, rather than a bland hotel room! Not to mention, many Airbnbs come with perks like a kitchen, bicycles, kayaks, and more, depending on where you are!

If you’re new to Airbnb, use this link to receive a $40 travel credit on your first reservation!

I really like to use Booking.com for hotel reservations. I find it quite user-friendly and it represents TONS of smaller accommodations that I would never be able to find otherwise.

It’s easy to browse reviews on the site, and the map feature is incredibly helpful. It’s always nice to be able to quickly check if your desired accommodation is anywhere near any of the spots on your itinerary!

For Ground Transportation

After using just about every rental car on the planet, I finally settled on Hertz as my go-to. They have time and again had the best customer service and the best rates— pretty hard to argue with that! The cars I’ve rented through them have always been in great condition and the pick-up and drop-off processes have always been really streamlined.

In the unlikely event that you’re unfamiliar, Uber is a ride-share service (aka taxi alternative) that you order via an app on your phone. It’s popular in most US cities, and many cities in Mexico as well.

With Uber there’s no need to carry cash; all payment occurs virtually through the app. There’s also no bartering over prices because they’re set within the app and you are given an estimate before requesting the ride. In Mexico City, Uber is almost always cheaper than taxis, and the cars are much newer and more comfortable!

New to Uber? Get your first ride free with this code: janined407ue