We’ve planned many trips over the years and have come to trust and rely on certain companies for travel products, arrangements and services. The travel resources below are ones we love and believe in.
Pssst! Some links are affiliate links, meaning that if you make a booking or purchase through the link, we’ll earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!
As professional travel writers, we’re often invited to stay at hotels for free so we can review them. When we have to pay for accommodation, we use Booking.com. The site has a huge selection of hotels and resorts around the world, and it doesn’t charge any booking fees. Plus, it’s so easy to use.
Most properties offer free cancellation and don’t require payment in advance. (You can often pay less, however, for non-refundable prepayment.)
So how do we come up with possible hotels we might like to stay at? We read hotel reviews by The Telegraph (British newspaper), Mr. and Mrs Smith, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes.com.
Google, for example, “best luxury hotels in X city” or “boutique hotels in X country” – these publications and sites often yield articles on great places to stay.
Then we dive deeper and check out reviews of particular hotels on TripAdvisor. If a common theme crops up (like “thin walls” and “noisy”), we’ll give the hotel a pass.
Vacation Homes & Apartments
If you’d rather not stay in a hotel, but would like more space to spread out – and a kitchen! – check out VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner). Having a “home away from home” is especially nice when you’re staying put for a while.
VRBO is like Airbnb, but it only offers whole apartment units, cottages and homes – no single rooms in a house (so you won't have to worry about “sharing” the space with someone else).
Skyscanner is another great tool to help save you time and money when booking flights. One of the first fare aggregators to include low-cost airlines, it’s still one of the best at coming up with the lowest ticket prices.
It’s especially great for booking low-cost flights within Europe.
And don’t forget to check SeatGuru before booking your seat!
It provides seating plans for most airlines and planes. You want to pick a “green” seat. (We personally also like to be closer to the front of the plane.)
CruiseDirect is a cruise travel agency that promises to offer the lowest rates on cruises. No booking fees either! (But if you cancel, there’s a fee.) They’ve won a slew of awards, including “North America’s Leading Cruise Travel Agent 2019” (World Travel Awards).
Find deals on mainstream cruises like Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises and Holland America Line, as well as luxury cruises like Crystal Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises.
You can book luxury river cruises through CruiseDirect too.
Hertz is one of the biggest rental car companies, with over 3,700 locations in the U.S. and offices in 150 countries around the world. You can find offices in cities and places away from airports, which can be convenient if you don’t want to rent directly from the airport.
Hertz also has a very good loyalty rewards program.
Small Group Tour Companies
The world’s largest small-group adventure travel company, Intrepid Travel uses expert guides to take you to more than 120 countries. Cycling, sailing, trekking, whale watching in Antarctica – they’ve got you covered.
The average group size is only 10 guests, and the company is dedicated to travel responsibly.
Pssst! Pick the “Comfort” trips for a little more luxury.
Local Guided Tours
Traveling independently? You might still want local experts to show you around in the city or country you’re visiting.
GetYourGuide is where you can book your guided sightseeing tour or adventure activity.
It’s a global platform, used by millions, that connects travelers with more than 40,000 tours and excursions around the world. Choose from a wide range of experiences – everything from guided walking and bicycle tours to cooking classes to pottery lessons with local artisans.
Sights & Attractions
CityPASS bundles the admission fees to some of a city’s best attractions and tours in one low price (saving you up to 30 to 50%). And you get to skip many ticket lines too.
Cities where the pass is offered include New York City (Yeah! We loved visiting the Met Museum and other NYC hot spots with CityPASS), Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, Chicago and more...
Carry-On Essentials For a Great Flight
Collapsible water bottle, slipper socks, the best sleeping mask out there? Trust us, you need to pack these airplane essentials in your carry-on bag for a better flying experience.
If we need travel gear, but don’t have time to go shopping (or can’t find what we need in local stores), we buy it online from Amazon and have it shipped to our door.
Ladies, fess up! Do you ever wear the wrong shoes when you travel? Then you might get a laugh watching this...
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