10 Travel Planning Tools You Should Be Using
Planning a trip can sometimes be stressful, but with the right tools in your arsenal you can minimize that stress. Getting the information you need to make the most out of your trip is simple with the right resources. In the past, we used guidebooks, word of mouth, or travel agencies to come up with an itinerary. Now, we have a much more robust tool bag to make all aspects of planning easier and stress free. While some of the 10 travel planning tools below may be familiar, you might find some you haven’t heard of.
Disclaimer: We are not sponsored by any of these tools or resources. Anything we suggest below is either because we like it and use it, or because we genuinely think it may be useful to you.
1. Travel Blogs
A travel blog suggesting travel blogs as a resource for planning your trip sounds like self promotion, but we read them all the time. Blogs are a great source of information on destinations you want to travel to and ones you’ve never heard of. When you find a blog you like, it’s like getting personal recommendations from a friend. You can also find a blog that fits your style of travel. Whether you’re a family on vacation, solo female traveler, or a couple looking to explore the world, travel blogs have you covered. You’ll also find posts with great tips for traveling and maybe some products to make your travels better. One of our favorite travel blogs is Practical Wanderlust. This blog follows a couple that tends to have things go wrong during their travels. They tell you all about it in a humorous way so you get both entertainment and valuable information.
2. YouTube Travel Vlogs
If you’re more of a visual person, travel vlogs are good way to research a potential destination. Just like blogs, there is a vlog channel to fit your travel style. We’ve been following several channels on their journey around this planet. Vlogs have also introduced us to so many new places and cultures we hadn’t considered visiting before. We’ve gotten inspiration for foods to try, festivals to attend, and natural wonders to explore from watching someone else’s experience. We like to watch The Endless Adventure because we feel like their travel style is similar to our own.
3. Best Onward Ticket
(Suggested by The Endless Adventure in this video)
Many countries require proof of onward travel in order to be allowed to enter or to apply for a visa. If you’re traveling somewhere without onward travel booked and you haven’t decided on your next destination, Best Onward Ticket can give you time to figure it out.
Their service books an onward travel ticket (only $12 each) for you so you can show proof when entering the country. Once you’re in, they’ll handle canceling the ticket they booked for you and you can decide on your next destination later.
This is a travel wiki site that is quickly becoming one of our go-to travel planning tools. I’ve already found new countries I want to visit by just browsing the destination guides. WikiVoyage has tons of useful information for travelers, my favorite of which are the language phrasebook pages. Some of the phrasebooks are just outlines, but many of the more popular languages are decent guides and can get you through basic conversation. There are other useful pages on the site like the “Traveller’s Pub” and “Tourist Office” pages that you can ask questions on if the destination guides didn’t cover it.
Pro Tip: save any phrasebook or destination guide as a PDF for offline reference with your mobile browser’s “Share” option (share–>print–>save as PDF) or do a full page screenshot.
I recently found this awesome travel tool. I was so amazed that it even existed because of how much work it must have taken to put together. Rome2Rio lets you search for different ways to get from Point A to Point B via air, land, and water. All you need to do is enter the waypoints and Rome2Rio will display different options to get to your destination. The results page will show you which transportation options are available, how long the journey will take, and the prices you can expect to pay. This tool is gold for travelers trying to fly less and travel slower.
Hopper is a simple tool to track flight and hotel prices and see when the best times to buy them are. While the flight tracker option is on both Android and iOS devices, booking hotels is only currently available on iOS. When you set dates for a specific itinerary, Hopper will let you know if it’s a good time to buy based off of historical pricing data. If you’re concerned about climate change (like we are) then you should definitely book with Hopper. They now plant trees for every flight and hotel booked through their app. They also have cash back deals on “destinations of the day”.
7. Google Flights & Skyscanner
These two tools are very similar so I put them together. They’re also probably the best tools to find cheap flights. Both of these services can track flight prices like Hopper, but they have many more filter options. My favorite feature from both is the ability to explore the cheapest times to fly everywhere within the next 6+ months.
Google Flights allows you to search by trip length and your desired month of travel within 6 months.
Skyscanner lets you search by cheapest month, pick your desired month or specific dates and set up price alerts. It also has buying time suggestions like Hopper, although that service is currently only a beta version. Due to that, there may not be a buying suggestion for every itinerary you look up.
8. TripIt: Travel Planner
Before finding TripIt, I used to use the Google Trips app until it was discontinued. Since then, the best option for keeping track of all your online bookings in one place has been TripIt. With the app you can forward your confirmations to TripIt and they’ll add it to your itinerary. Or, they can automatically search your inbox for booked travel plans if you give them access to your email.
One of the coolest features of the app is the travel stats page. TripIt keeps track of different stats like miles traveled, countries and cities visited, and now they even track your carbon footprint based off of info in your itineraries.
Airbnb has been one of my favorite travel tools we’ve used. Anywhere we want to go, we compare hotel prices with Airbnb prices. We go with whichever option best suits our needs and budget. When we took a trip to Kauai we chose an Airbnb because the resort prices were too high. We didn’t even have to compromise on the area we wanted to stay in. With Airbnb you can sometimes get cheaper rates when booking a whole week or month. They also have experiences and adventures that you can book through them.
I’m sure most people know about TripAdvisor, but we always use it so I thought I’d mention it. While it does sometimes get negative feedback from travel writers, we still find it to be useful. We use it to find good cheap or cuisine specific restaurants within walking distance when Yelp isn’t available. We also use it to check what there is to see and do in our desired destination and if there are any great boutique hotels to stay at.
TripAdvisor’s best feature is the reviews from other travelers. When taken with a grain of salt, the reviews can be very useful in determining the best options. We’ve found plenty of great options with low ratings and if we weighed the value of those negative reviews too heavily, we would have missed out. You may find that either the reviewer’s expectations were a bit off or the review is outdated and no longer a good representation of the restaurant or hotel.
I hope you’ve found something new in these 10 travel planning tools to use when you plan your next trip. If you did, let us know which tool you plan on using and if you have any resources to suggest, please share them with us in the comments below. We love finding new tools to make travel planning easier, cheaper and stress free. Thanks for reading and Happy Travels!