Travel Resources

travel-resources

Hi there! I’ve put together this mega page of the travel resources I use to research, plan, and book travel. There’s also a section at the bottom with some of the travel gear that I use and consider essential.

Many, but not all, of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission when you use them at no extra cost to you. If you have any other questions about this, you can read more about it in my disclosure and privacy policy.

So, whether you’re part of the TGT community or just read a helpful post on your first visit, please know everything earned from these links goes towards running this site and creating more (hopefully 😉 ) helpful content for all the travelers who visit seeking tips and advice.

Now, with all of that said, let’s get to those travel resources you’re looking for!

Cashback Rewards:

You can’t beat the power of cash! And what better way to save money for travel than by making the money you already spend work harder for you. Here are my favorite websites to earn cashback rewards that I can use to pay for travel expenses. Remember to use Cashback Monitor to check for the highest earn rates.

  • Top Cashback: With thousands of merchants, you’re bound to find the right stores to check off everything on your shopping list. Top Cashback often has some of the highest cashback earning rates compared to other sites. Make sure you’re logged in to your account, select the merchant where you want to shop, and then make your purchases as you normally would. Watch the cashback rewards add up. First-time users get a welcome bonus!
  • Rakuten: Probably the most mainstream cashback website on this list, Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a huge cashback portal with many of the merchants where you likely already shop. Keep an eye out for promotions like triple cashback to earn even more. Similar to above, just log in to your Rakuten account, click on the merchant you’d like, and Rakuten will send you off to that website to shop as normal. Users signing up for the first time get a welcome bonus! If you have an American Express Membership Rewards earning credit card, you can also choose to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cashback.
  • BeFrugal: This cashback portal is a great option, especially because it has higher earn rates than Top Cashback and Ebates. Just shop through this portal, clicking on the merchant where you want to shop and earn cash back when you make your purchase. As with the other websites, first-time users get a welcome bonus.

Travel Insurance:

  • World Nomads: These days travel insurance is a must, especially insurance that doesn’t exclude major events like pandemics. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or someone who takes 1-2 trips a year, it’s smart to protect yourself and your travel investment.

Hotels:

  • TripAdvisor: Whether you want to research, compare prices, or even book a hotel, you can’t deny the value TripAdvisor brings to your travel planning. I’ve used it for as long as I have traveled for everything from inspiration to searching for hotels and things to do.
  • Booking.com: Another one of my go-to resources for accommodation planning. I love their Deals of the Day!
  • Hotels.com: Hotels.com makes earning a free hotel night simple. For every 10 nights you stay, you’ll get 1 free night. The nights you earn can be used right away or pooled with your other Hotels.com free nights to cover an entire getaway.

You almost always need to book directly with the hotel brand if you’re looking to use hotel points for an award night or earn them for a future stay.

  • Hotel Hustle and AwardMapper will help you search for nearby loyalty program hotels. Hotel Hustle will also tell you which hotels have award availability for the nights you want to stay.
  • Radisson Hotels: Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza, Radisson, Radisson Blu, and more. I’m a big fan of the Radisson Rewards loyalty program and have had many fantastic stays.
  • IHG: InterContinental, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, and more. IHG is an easy program to earn and use points. Their points break hotels for only 5k points a night are a great deal.
  • Hilton Hotels: Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, and more. Great value for earning and using points at Hilton’s Category 1-3 hotels.
  • Choice Hotels: With brands like Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Cambria, and Quality Inn, Choice Hotels can be a great option for road trips and National Park gateway towns. You can even find hidden gem bargains on hotels in Europe.
Radisson Blu Style
My fantastic Radisson Blu hotel room in Vienna.
  • Wyndham Hotels: Days Inn, Super 8, Wyndham Grand and more. I like Wyndham’s straightforward flat points per night rate no matter where and when you stay.
  • Hyatt: Andaz, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Place and more. Earn points on paid and award stays and get great value when you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt for award nights.
  • Marriott: Now merged with Starwood, you can earn and use points from either program for hotels like Courtyard, Residence Inn, Sheraton, Westin, and much more.
  • Motel 6: A budget chain with locations in the U.S. and Canada. This makes this list because I always appreciate a pet-friendly hotel chain! 🙂

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Home/Apartment Accommodations:

  • VRBO: From a ski house with friends Maine to an apartment in Barcelona for Thanksgiving, I’ve had great rental experiences with VRBO. It’s great for large family groups and has listings all over the globe.
  • Booking: You may think of Booking for hotels, but did you know they also have vacation rentals like apartments and homes, too?? With properties around the globe and flexible cancelation policies, Booking is a helpful planning resource for vacation rentals.

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Flights:

  • Momondo and Skyscanner are both airline search aggregates. They’re going to show you the best-priced results without any bias towards a specific airfare booking website. These are the first websites I’ll look to compare prices for a paid flight.
  • Google Flights: A powerful search tool that can alert you when to book a flight. I love the calendar showing the prices on each date and the drag and drop search function on the map. You can also get cheap destination ideas by entering in your home airport and letting Google show the cheapest airfares.
  • Hopper App: Download Hopper to your phone or tablet for an incredible flight search tool. I love the flight insights it gives and how it advises you on whether to book or to wait.
  • Scott’s Cheap Flights: No need to search endlessly for deals. Get cheap airfare alerts sent straight to your inbox. 

If you’re a travel hacker, remember that many airlines only let you earn a small percentage of the miles on paid flights booked through discount sites. Book directly from an airline’s website and you’ll earn more miles and may even be surprised to find the lowest price.

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Transportation:

  • For airport transfer shuttle service use Go Airport Shuttle. They serve 85+ domestic and international airports and are the largest airport shuttle service company in the world.
  • For train research around the globe, visit Seat61 for in-depth, accurate information. Decide whether you’ll buy your tickets directly from your destination’s train system or through a booking site like Omio.
  • If you need to rent a car, use a travel booking site like Kayak to compare prices.
  • Already have a car rental booking? Go to Autoslash to see if they can find you a better price!

Group Tour Stock, Desert

 Vacation Packages/Tours/Activities:

  • Intrepid Travel: Group tours are a great way to see a new place through the eyes of an expert and meet fellow like-minded travelers. Intrepid Travel is my go-to anytime I want to book a group tour like when I went to southern Africa.
  • Tourradar: This site is a marketplace for multi-day tours. You’ll find group tours for destinations around the world for any budget and travel style.
  • To book activities, day tours, and/or save on sightseeing search CityPass, GetYourGuide, and Viator.
  • Want to make a local connection on your travels? Eatwith offers one-of-a-kind foodie experiences like home-cooked dinner parties, locals who show you their favorite places to eat, and even cooking classes with trained, local chefs.
  • Expedia: To bundle a vacation package with flights and hotels, compare prices and book with Expedia.
  • CheapCarribean: Because so many travelers just want to relax on the beach! We scored a sweet St. Croix vacation package with CheapCarribean.

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Travel Gear:

When I need outdoor gear and comfortable shoes, these are my go-to places to look and buy what I need.

That’s it for now! Check back, as this page of travel resources will be updated regularly!

What’s your go-to resource for travel research, planning, and booking?

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