Resources to Help You Plan Your Trip
Fun Travel Blogs ~
Besides the usual websites like the Lonely Planet, here a few a websites that I have found helpful… let me know of others that might be good to add to the list!
Unlike City Guides – Interesting travel articles and recommendations for major cities around the world. We’ve found the Berlin one particularly useful.
Travelfish – Awesome travel blog for Southeast Asia
Nic Freeman Travel Blog – Neat travel blog with gorgeous photographs… one that I enjoy reading
Daryl and I are not big into itineraries, or booking a lot in advance — it takes some of the fun out of traveling if you always know what to expect. If you have everything booked, you also can’t change your course, or join up with new friends that you meet along the way. Some of the best hostels and hotels we’ve stayed in over the years (Like La Serrana in Salento, Colombia – gorgeous!) have been recommendations from people we’ve met along our travels.
That being said — it also depends on where you go. Traveling through Morocco, I realized that every hotel will let you sleep on the roof under the stars for super cheap, and so it doesn’t matter if they’re full… you get to wake to the immams calling people to prayer — an experience of a lifetime. However, if you’re heading to Europe in the summer, or hot backpacker spots like Thailand, etc, you might want to think ahead… because your options do get a bit more limited. If you’re traveling in low season — don’t book ahead! It’s always going to be more expensive if you book on the internet ahead of time… and that goes for tours, etc. as well.
Some helpful sites that have served us well:
Air B n B — People rent out everything from spare rooms in their places to full apartments and houses. Lots of variety, great way to travel, especially through North America & Europe
Hostelworld — No big surprise here. I find reading the reviews really helpful to get a sense of what a hostel is like — then you can find something that suits your needs, whether you want quiet, or a kitchen, or busy party times…
Hotwire/Priceline/Expedia — They are worth a glance, especially if you’re not the hosteller type anymore. Some hotels do go on special for pretty cheap, especially if you’re looking in Europe and hoping for a private room. You can pay $100 for a private room in a European hostel where they give you sheets at the check-in.. or find a cute little boutique hotel for the same price on Expedia. Hotwire also has great deals if you go for the surprise hotels… keep in mind that you will mostly be in chain/American hotels though.
Couchsurfing — Haven’t tried this yet, but have heard rave reviews from everyone who’s done it — especially for people traveling alone, and hoping to meet new people. A great example of a system based on ‘paying it forward’