People ask me all the time what my go-to trip planning resources are or what my must-haves are during travel. I figured I should just make a comprehensive list to refer anyone to if they’re interested.
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My first step in trip planning (after deciding where I’m going, of course) is airfare. I typically compare a number of websites and look at a low fare calendar. Some that I check are:
Google flights – Amazing for a fare calendar. I especially like Google Flights for smaller, lesser known airlines within a foreign country for domestic flights. Plus, you can piece together different flights on different airlines by finding the cheapest options. Just be sure to verify you have long enough layovers, otherwise if you’re flying another airline, the first one has no obligation to you if you miss your next flight on a different airline.
Skyscanner – I use this if my dates are flexible and I’m trying to find the cheapest dates to fly. I’m often using air miles or incorporating a companion flight from Alaska Airlines or their partners, so in those cases, I’ll use Alaska Air’s website. Which brings me to my next point…
Airline Credit Card
If you’re a traveler (or want to be) and you’re not utilizing an air mile credit card, what the F-word are you waiting for? Pay for EVERYTHING with it then pay it off immediately. Don’t ever let yourself have that high interest rate though. For most people, if you don’t fly with one particular airline, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred come out on top according to most reviews. I continue to stick with Alaska Airlines because I live by such a small airport, almost every flight out of my city is on Alaska Airlines, and they have plenty of international partners. They’ve provided me with excellent customer service over the years. My boyfriend and I each have one and go back and forth between using his miles or mine to get free flights a couple times per year. Plus, each cardholder gets a $99 companion flight each year, which makes a domestic trip more affordable. The annual fee pays for itself quickly.
Where to Stay
Depending on where I’m going, I either opt for a boutique hotel or an apartment rental.
I always opt to use Booking.com because of how simple it is to narrow your search, use the map search, or filter by price or review score. My go to for hotels, hands down, and not just because I’m affiliate. I’ve always loved Booking.
When I want an apartment, house, or unique accommodation to rent, I almost always use Airbnb. You can get a discount on your first booking by using my LINK! I love Airbnb and their website layout. You can narrow your search to a very specific area on the map. I always book something with tons of photos and lots of great reviews and I check it on the map to make sure it is centrally located.
Trip Advisor –
Even though I always book with Booking.com, I still usually cross reference reviews and pictures on TripAdvisor. I LOVE TripAdvisor for all things, but they redirect you to another booking platform, which is often booking.com. Occasionally they may have a better deal from another website too. Click HERE for TripAdvisor.
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