Travel Planning Resources
I use Booking.com regularly to search for and book accommodations. I’ve used various booking engines and I prefer Booking.com for its comprehensive coverage, ease of booking and flexible cancellation policy. Booking.com is almost always an integral part of my travel planning.
When it comes to finding flights and comparing prices, I head straight to Skyscanner. Compare prices on flights with Skyscanner
Find and compare prices for car hire at locations around the world with Rentalcars Connect. I use them often and really like the fact that you can easily compare prices of 900+ car hire companies around the world on a single platform. In addition, it’s easy to manage my booking and make any changes/cancellations.
If I’m visiting a place I’m not familiar with, I often book an airport transfer in advance, just to be on the safe side. If you choose not to arrange an airport transfer in advance, beware of touts at the airport and only choose the official taxi companies (or Uber/Grab, if available).
Tours, Tickets to Attractions & Activities
If there’s a tour I’m particularly interested in or a specific attraction I’d like to visit, I often book this in advance to avoid disappointment or long queues. GetYourGuide offers tens of thousands of tours around the world, including fast-track access to the biggest attractions. It’s also super easy to cancel a booking if something comes up. Find your tours on GetYourGuide.
Before you travel, check the validity of your passport (the general rule is that it should have a validity of at least six months). Find out if visas are required for the countries you’re visiting. If you require a visa, one service I’ve used before is iVisa.com. You can easily check for the visa requirements and apply online for a visa.
Travel insurance is a must in my book. I have a pretty comprehensive travel insurance which is valid year-round and automatically renews. I’ve added various temporary options to my insurance plan on various occasions, such as during my round-the-world trip and for trips with sports/adventure activities like winter sports and sky-diving. World Nomads offers a broad range of plans for short and longer term travel for all types of travellers.
International data roaming plans can be pricey, using a local/global SIM card involves switching SIM cards in your phone (with the added risk of misplacing your home SIM card, something that’s happened to me twice!) and local wifi hotspots can be patchy and unsecured. I’ve used a variety of solutions, including purchasing local SIM cards and carrying mobile WIFI devices. One solution I started using a while back is FlexiroamX which works as a microchip stuck on your home SIM card. It’s easy, convenient and offers coverage in 100+ countries.
Read my review of FlexiroamX.
Essential Travel Accessories & Tools
I often have trouble sleeping well on a plane, especially when I fly in Economy Class. That changed when I discovered the J Pillow. This soft but sturdy pillow provides great support for my neck and keeps my chin from tipping over when I fall asleep. Read my J Pillow review.
Another accessory that helps me to sleep well on a plane is a set of Bose Noise-cancelling headphones (combined with my J Pillow and an eye mask). These excellent headphones provide unrivalled audio quality for the inflight entertainment system and cancels out noise when I want to sleep. They fit comfortably around my ears and they’re easy to carry in my hand luggage.
If you don’t have Google Maps on your phone yet, get it! I use it everywhere I go to find my way around, look up ideas and reviews for attractions, restaurants, bars, and timings for public transport. Another handy navigation app is Waze.
Another Google app I use often is Translate. I especially like the camera function which automatically translates text on menus, letters, etc.. directly on your phone screen. Simply turn on the camera function, point your phone at the text and the translation appears on your screen!
Currency exchange rates
I use the XE app for all my currency exchange rate information.
My preferred weather app is AccuWeather.
Back-up your photos and videos
I back-up my photos and videos as soon as they’re created to avoid losing them if anything should happen to my mobile phone or camera. There are various cloud storage options and one of them I use is Dropbox. If you haven’t yet signed up for Dropbox, sign up here and receive a 500MB bonus.
Send and receive money cheaply
Send and receive money quickly and cheaply using TransferWise. I use it often to send or receive money from family or friends. Transferwise currency exchange rates are fair (mid-market with no mark-ups) and their transfer fees are very low. Furthermore, the transactions are processed just as quickly, if not faster, as other more costly channels.