Booking.com is my favourite booking site. They seem to have the biggest selection of places ranging from hostels to luxury hotels. It has been great when we have travelled off the beaten path as accommodation is advertised here for many smaller towns and villages. One of the advantages of the hotels that are advertised through booking is that the majority of them they give the option to make the payment once you arrive at the hotel. Each accommodation states if cancellations are possible and until when. This is a great benefit especially when you are planning a trip months in advance. The app is very easy to use and travellers can leave their positive and negative comments of each accommodation.
This is our go to site when we travel with family. We have found some great apartments around Europe for Xmas markets able to accommodate 15 people! One of the best features of Airbnb is that gives you a range of very unique and interesting accommodations that in other sites you cannot find, for example once we stayed in a house that many years ago was a used as a church. My recommendation is to read carefully the information given for each place as well as the terms and conditions for cancellations. One thing to keep in mind is that the payment is made at the time you do your reservation. Therefore, I would suggest to be sure the dates you are going before you make a reservation.
Are you a backpacker looking for affordable accommodation? Hostel world has you covered. It is the best site for finding hostels all over the world. The website has a review section which is very helpful when choosing the best spot for your needs (party, chilled,etc).
Do you have time on your hands and like pets? You can use Trusted House-sitters to save a tonne of money on accommodation. This site can hook you up with some off the beaten track places to stay and in return you will look after the place while the owners are gone on vacation. You have to only make a one time only payment to access the website.
Couchsurfing was set up to hook travellers up with hosts who would provide a coach of bed to crash on when visiting a new city or country. It now also allows people to hook up for events or drinks when they visit a new place. It’s a great resource to meet new people and save a few $$$ on accommodation costs. I do recommend to read carefully the reviews of other travellers that have stayed in the place you are looking for and reviews about the hosts.
I really like their map view which allows you to see many different prices from various cities without the need to search each one individually. They also include budget airlines in the searches which opens up more options!
Skycanner is easy to use, includes most airlines including budget ones. You can also type in “Everywhere” as a destination and it will bring up all the various countries or cities which you can fly to and their prices
Momondo is another favourite flight search engine. Great options, easy to use allowing you to find great deals. They also do hotel reservations and car hire.
I love this site, these guys trawl the internet for the best flight deals and posts them so all of us can take advantage. They also post error fares where airlines inadvertently mis-price flights. Its a great resource especially if you can be flexible with dates
Carmen uses world nomads. They cater for travellers from all over the world and have the greatest options and coverage to cater for all types of travellers and activities. You can also sign up even if you have begun your journey.
True Traveller Insurance
I use True Traveller, they cater for customers in the European Union only. I found their rates to be very competitive and I was able to add an “Adventure Pack” for high altitude trekking etc. You can also sign up with True Traveller while you are travelling.
This is a great camera. I wanted something small and light but that would take amazing pictures. I didn’t want to lug around a large camera especially as this can draw unwanted attention from dodgy characters. This camera comes at a great price also! The kit lens that comes with this is super also.
This lens is great value if you want higher zoom than the kit lens. It has smooth and quiet internal auto focus and also image stabilization. Perfect for nature photography.
This wide angle prime lens is great for landscape photography. However what I really wanted if for was low light photography as it has a low aperture of F/2.0. Watch out for our nighttime milky way and star shots!
Selfie heaven! Carmen likes selfies so this is a must have. Also does all the things we have come to expect from GoPro, it takes amazing video and wide angle photos, it is lightweight, and waterproof. It is super easy to use and it has voice activated controls. This package contains the go pro camera and 1 battery, however the mono-pod or handle has to be bought separately.
As well as flight and hotel searches they also do car hire. Check it out.
The app is a must have for any traveller. You download the app and maps for any country or region that you visit. You can then search for routes and navigate through GPS without the need for data or WIFI. Give it a try and you won’t regret it.
If you want to travel by train anywhere in the world this is the best resource. It provides tonnes of details and options for train travel(and some ferry travel). Inculudes timetables, the best connections and photos of the various options.
Travelling around Europe on trains is a right of passage for many Europeans and many times it’s the first major trip than young Europeans go on(It was for me). Jumping from train to train and visiting multiple countries(sometimes in the same day) gives you the ultimate freedom to see and do what you want in Europe. Interrail is only available to EU citizens though, for non-Europeans see EURail below.
For non Europeans, you can travel to most cities in europe purchasing a Eurail Pass instead. You will see the real Europe travelling by train. Go for it!
When I travelled before in 2009/2010 I soon realised that my backpack was very heavy compared to other peoples bags. It took me a while and much research to find a backpack that is large, comfortable and above all light until I found this Osprey backpack. It has a large space inside which allows me to bring my lightweight trekking clothes and boots. It is very comfortable and above all it is lightweight, very easy to carry everywhere.
Carmen uses this backpack designed exclusively to meet the needs of women. The backpack is comfortable, has a lumbar belt that adapts to different sizes of hip and with a strong support system that prevents weight from putting a pressure on the lower back. Coated mesh allows ventilation and the best thing is that it is very light. Perfect for long trips or to take on multi-day walks.
These backpack covers are very useful to prevent people from taking something from your precious backpack. My favourite when traveling on airplanes, trains and above all on buses. It covers your backpack and has a zip which you can lock to provide some extra security. Carmen and I have one each for our backpacks. They are very easy to store in the top or front pockets of our backpacks and can be used as a bag to put clothes or other objects, quite useful when we go trekking long and want to leave things behind in our hotel or hostel.
I’m using the older version of this day pack. I think I have it 5 years and its still going strong. Great for general travel and for treks. I use this everyday to carry my camera equipment, water and other items.
I really wanted a super fast, lightweight laptop that was windows based. This HP is ideal for travel because its ticks those boxes and more. It looks good as well which isn’t a bad thing either. It has 8GBs of RAM so I have no problem running multiple RAM heavy programs at the same time.
Carmen really likes Macs so she choose their Macbook Air. It is also super fast and lightweight and runs all the software she wants really well.
A great replacement for carrying books or looking for good ones on the road. Relying on book swaps in Hostels is not the way to go.
I have had all type of phones brands and different operating systems such as Android and Apple. However, the phone that I found that I can trust its performance and durability is the Motorola Moto X. It has a shatterproof screen which is perfect when travelling. It has a good camera front and back also. I bought it unlocked so I can change sims easily in each country. In addition, the phone is water resistant, I originally had a Samsung S6 Edge but it had a run in with water and my phone pass to a better life hours later. RIP Samsung S6. If you have butter hands, I would recommend Moto X.
Carmen prefers her Huawei, this phone is thin, it has a solid build and performance. It has a good battery life and it has a notification panel that identifies which app is consuming more battery in the background. The front camera does a great job for selfies (Carmen’s favourite feature). The other advantage is that has a dual-sim card slot which is great for people who has a home sim and travel sim saving the hassle of carrying two phones. Or as this is also unlocked so she can use local sims when we change countries.
We have one each for backing up our photos and other files. It is small and light. Make sure not to let it fall as these can be damaged easily with a big fall, you don’t want to loose those killer photos.
A TEFL certification opens the door to many English teaching opportunities overseas. It is one of the easiest ways to make money while you travel and post your certification they will also help you to find a teaching position around the world. I know many friends who have used this method to see the world for many years.
Workaway is a site that connects various types of businesses with travellers looking to volunteer. In return, volunteers can have free accommodation and in some programs even food is included. This type of program has a great advantage if you are looking for a place to work while living the experience of knowing new cultures in other countries. Volunteer opportunities on this website are diverse and each has different skills and requirements that the volunteer must meet in order to effectively help with the activities entrusted. Opportunities may be for a prolonged or short period of time depending on the activity. It is a great way to make the travel budget last longer while also learning a new language, new skills, and also meeting other interesting travellers and hosts.
HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
One of the best purchases I have ever made for my travels, a filtration device that can provide me with filtered water wherever adventure I go. This filter is brilliant, it has saved me hundreds if not thousands of dollars during my travels. It has also saved the environment from thousands more plastic bottles. I have used this in maybe 20 countries to filter tap water and water from streams, lakes and rivers. It is very easy to use, remove the top lid, fill the bottle with water and put back the lid and voila! you do not need to wait and you can drink the water from the straw immediately. The water needs to pass through the filter to activate the purification process and out comes as clear fresh water. I have not had problems using it my trips to South East Asia and South America. The best thing is that you can buy the filter replacement separately.
Life Straw is another water filter that I can recommend, it is lightweight and can be carried around the neck or in your bag. The filter is relatively inexpensive and provides an excellent filtration system. It is great to use on a hike and in some remote areas where only streams and lakes are found. When the filter reaches the end of its life, you can purchase a new filter. Another filtration device that I can recommend is GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier.
I drink a lot of water, so I was looking for something with a higher capacity. Besides my water filter, I also carry this 1.5L bottle. I usually fill it up with my filter bottle before I head out for the days activities as I am not always near a water source to refill my filter bottle.
For long treks, I use this bladder which I can stow in my backpack and easily drink on the go. I like its 3L capacity and the mouthpiece that connects to the bladder. If you take care of this item properly, it will last for a long period of time. Make sure that the bladder is properly closed and that the bag is not damaged otherwise the bag will leak. The large fill opening is wide which makes it very easy to clean.
Lonely planet has been around for a long time and cover most destinations really well. You can download an ebook or buy a physical copy to bring along. They are great source of information especially when away from WIFI.
Rough Guides is another guide book company I use regularly. I have used their Peru version a lot to get some great ideas and advice as it is very thorough. They cover most countries and cities also.
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