My Best Travel Resources

Best Travel Resources

Flights

If not done right, flight tickets can become quite expensive. There are a lot of apps and websites out there, many of them require you to sign up on their site, and then you land up with spam emails and clutter. I avoid signing up on those websites instead use the following apps/website that works pretty well for me. I have compiled a list of my best travel resources, along with the details of how and when to use them.

Skyscanner

Skyscanner, along with other generic flight search features, provides an option to compare the prices with other websites like CheapOair, Expedia, Priceline, and JustFly.





Google Flights

Offers a very intuitive and comprehensive user interface. I like and use the Date Grid, Price Graph and the Nearby Airport options, these can be very useful to find an alternative date or a close-by airport that you can fly to for a much lower price. I start with Google Flights or Skyscanner, then cross-check the price on a couple of other websites and, finally, the airlines' website to ensure I've found the best price.

Kayak

Kayak, along with other generic flight search features, provides an option to compare the prices with another website like CheapOair, Expedia, Priceline, and JustFly. Generally, this is my last stop to cross-check the price before I head to the airline website to book the flight tickets. I can't emphasize enough on how important it is to book the flight tickets from the airline website and not any third party website.

SeatGuru

One additional step for long-haul and international flights is to know the aircraft: seats and amenities. SeatGuru is my go-to website for that; it offers very helpful tips and insights about the aircraft you're flying like: some seats in the aircraft might have limited back recline.



 

 

 

Book Flight Tickets like a Pro

  • Be flexible with your travel dates and destinations
  • Start with Google Flights or Skyscanner
  • Verify the price on – Kayak, Skyscanner/Google Flights, and the airline’s website
  • Book tickets directly from the airlines’ website
  • Verify seats and amenities on SeatGuru for long-haul and international flights
  • Don’t purchase trip insurance offered by airlines, instead use a travel reward credit card or buy a comprehensive travel insurance
Accommodation

When it comes to hotels, I strongly believe that loyalty earns you royalty! Maintaining an elite status with a particular brand has a lot of benefits, read more here. I maintain elite status with Hilton and Hyatt brands, but I still do some research before I book my stay. Hotel prices vary greatly based on the time of the year, and based on its distance from an airport or an attraction. Generally, prices are low close to an airport because you will find a lot of hotels and different brands close to the airport, whereas the prices will be quite high if you’re trying to find an accommodation close to an attraction. The trick is to find a balance between (1) How much money you’re willing to spend on accommodation and (2) How much you’re willing to drive. I recommend staying close to an attraction and spend more time exploring the place and not in the car, driving.

HotelsCombined

Is my go-to website for finding hotels; it searches all top websites like Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc. and lists them for you on a single page. I usually start my search on HotelsCombined, find the desired location, brand, and price, then book the hotel directly from the hotel's website. It's always better to book directly through the hotel's website.

AIRBNB

I use AIRBNB for renting apartments or houses when I am staying somewhere for longer than a week. I make sure that I read all the reviews and learn more about the locality because safety is my main concern while renting.



 

 

 

Booking Accommodation

  • Maintain Elite Status with a Hotel Brand; there are many benefits. Read more here.
  • Hotel prices are generally low close to the airport, compared to the hotels close to an attraction or downtown
  • Find a hotel that fits your budget and is not too far from the places you plan to visit
  • Start your hotel search on HotelsCombined
  • Find the hotel you like and then book it directly from the hotel’s website
  • If renting, use AIRBNB to find apartments or houses
  • Being safe is the priority, read reviews and learn about the locality
Ground Transportation

Upon reaching your destination, the next big question is how to get around, how to travel between attractions. I prefer renting a car but people who are visiting from foreign countries, new to US driving rules, or who don’t drive; getting around can become quite expensive and strenuous. Following, I have documented two strategies (1) Renting a car and (2) Using local transportation.

Renting a Car

 

Find the Best Rental Car Deals

Rental car prices vary a lot based on how long ahead you’re reserving the car
and also based on the availability of cars on a given day.
Here is the strategy I use and recommend –

  • Rent at the Airport: Whenever possible, get your rental car from an airport location, most of the time they offer the best price and have a lot of options.
  • Initial Reservation: After booking your flight, reserve a rental car at the destination airport, but make sure that you select a rate and company that offers free cancellation at no cost to you. I use CostcoTravels (requires an annual membership fee) for my initial rental car reservations, but you can use other websites, just ensure there is no cancellation fee.
  • Re-check Prices prior Departure: Just a day or two before departure, re-check the price of rental cars at the same location and for your date range. Most of the time you would see a huge difference and mostly the price goes down compared to what you paid for your Initial reservation
  • Final Reservation: Upon finding a better price, first complete your new reservation and then cancel your initial reservation
  • Loyalty Earns you Royalty: Try and stick to a single rental car company. I prefer Avis, as there are a lot of benefits once you get elite status with a rental car company. 

RENTALCARS.COM

I use Rentalcars.com to compare rental car prices from all major rental car companies. They provide competitive pricing and are very transparent about cancellation policies. While booking rental cars, I always prefer free cancellations as the prices tend to vary greatly.


Using Local Transportation

ROME2RIO

Rome2Rio does a pretty good job in listing all transportation options, including rental car, plane, bus, train, and ferry, to get you from your starting point to your destination. I avoid driving in winter and always use Rome2Rio to find alternatives and even at times to compare bus/train fare VS Uber/private taxi.
Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must-have! Trust me, trip cancellations, last-minute hotels, and change of flights can cost you a fortune, don’t travel without some travel insurance.

WORLD NOMADS

A good travel insurance that covers: primary medical coverage, theft, trip cancellation, and delays is a must for anyone traveling to the US from a foreign country. If you're a US resident and you don't have a Travel Credit Card, that offers good travel insurance, it's always a good idea to buy an insurance policy that will have your back in case of any emergencies, trip cancellation, and delays.

Pl. Note – This is not a sponsored post; I personally use these companies for my travels, and based on my experience, I recommend them. Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission that helps me run this website and keeping it free for everyone to use. There are several other resources to help you plan your travel, including My Travel Planning Checklist, The Ultimate Carry-On Packing Guide, Must-Have Travel Gear GuideTravel Reward Credit Cards, Best Places To Visit In USA By MonthUltimate Collection of Inspirational Quotes & Sayings, and more.

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