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!
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!
- Ebates: Probably the most mainstream cashback website on this list, 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 Ebates account, click on the merchant you’d like, and Ebates will send you off to that website to shop as normal. Users signing up for the first time get a welcome bonus!
- 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.
- 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!
- HotelsCombined: An excellent tool that searches all the top travel sites for the best hotel deals. They’ll even refund the difference if you find a cheaper price with one of the sites listed in their search. I love how quick and easy it is to compare prices.
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.
- Club Carlson: Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza, Radisson, Radisson Blu, and more. I’m a big fan of Club Carlson’s 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.
- 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.
- Choice Hotels: Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, EconoLodge, and more. Many U.S. National Parks have Choice Hotels in the surrounding gateway towns, as well as offer solid value at budget hotels in Europe.
- 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/Starwood: Now merged, 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! 🙂
- Hotels.com: You can earn a free night for every ten you stay. This is perfect for you if you don’t want to worry about collecting hotel points and understanding complex loyalty programs.
- HomeAway: From a ski house with friends Maine to an apartment in Barcelona for Thanksgiving, I’ve had great rental experiences with HomeAway.
- VRBO: Also owned by HomeAway, VRBO is great for large family groups. Together with HomeAway, the 2 sites have over a million listings from which to choose.
- Airbnb: You have the flexibility to choose from a whole house or apartment or to rent just a bedroom. I had a terrific Airbnb stay in Prague, just steps away from Old Town Square. If you use this link, you’ll get $35 towards your next rental and so will I. 🙂 Win:Win
- Home Exchange: Once you join, you can swap your house or apartment as many times as you want with other homeowners around the world for free accommodations.
- 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.
- CheapAir: A simple to use search tool with great customer service and a price drop payback perk.
- Kayak: I love Kayak’s explore feature. The map of results lets you find cheap destinations based on when you want to travel.
- 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.
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.
No matter where you book a paid flight, remember the power of airline alliances and partnerships. Don’t earn a few thousand miles across several airlines. Instead, pool them into a few specific airline accounts that make sense for you. Consider the 2 examples below.
- For example, if you purchase a cheap Delta economy seat, you won’t earn many miles because of the way Delta favors higher-priced tickets. Instead, consider crediting your miles to Alaska Airlines or Virgin Atlantic and get a better earn rate on your money spent.
- Similar to Delta, American Airlines determines how many miles you earn for a paid ticket by how much the ticket cost. Cheap economy tickets won’t earn much. If you buy a lot of cheap American Airlines seats and aren’t concerned with status, you’re better off crediting your miles to its partner, Etihad.
- 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 RailEurope.
- If you need to rent a car, use a company’s website, like Hertz, Budget, Sixt, Auto Europe or a travel booking site like the ones listed below to compare prices.
- Already have a car rental booking? Go to Autoslash to see if they can find you a better price!
- To bundle a vacation package, you can compare prices and book using travel sites like Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity.
- Because so many travelers just want to relax on the beach, check out CheapCarribean and Sandals and Beaches Resorts. We had a great family vacation at the Beaches in Turks and Caicos. Years ago, we scored a sweet St. Croix vacation package with Cheap Carribean.
- Group tours are a great way to see a new place through the eyes of an expert and meet fellow like-minded travelers. Take a look at the offerings by G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, and Contiki.
- To book activities, day tours, and/or save on sightseeing search CityPass, GetYourGuide, and Viator.
I use the Gregory J 53 Backpack and an Osprey Daypack. Inside my bag, I always have my Sony a6000, an e-reader, and my travel laptop. I buy many of the typical travel essentials on Amazon. I’ve listed many of them in my must-have practical items for travelers post.
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?