Below is a list of resources that I use book travel and prepare for my trip.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.
Rome2rio: Rome2rio is amazing for figuring out the best local transport for off the beaten path itineraries. It searches all possible transit types to show you the best itinerary, shows the duration and price of the trip and links to the transportation providers. It’s very easy to use.
Skyscanner: Skyscanner searches a ton of websites to find the best flight deals, including unknown travel agencies and wholesalers. You may want to double check some of the companies selling flights to make sure that they’re legit, but I haven’t had a problem.
Booking.com: Now that Booking.com has expanded its inventory, especially to include hostels, it’s an even better way to book lodging. Most accommodation types are non-prepaid and easily cancelled. I’ve become a Booking.com Genius and love the 10% discount I receive on bookings.
Tripadvisor.com: Tripadvisor is not just for hotels! It’s expanded its reviews to restaurants, attractions and small tourism businesses. I always use the website to find scuba diving companies.
Viator.com: Since Tripadvisor acquired Viator.com, it’s very easy to book tours of the top attractions with small businesses.
Travel Guard: If the trip is to a far flung destination where I will be doing a lot of activities, I get travel insurance, both to insure the cost of my trip but also to have medical insurance. I recommend using Travel Guard.
Gear I Love
Borrowlenses.com: I love photography but I haven’t dedicated enough time to it to become extremely fluent. For my trips to Tanzania and Antarctica, I knew I wanted bigger lenses to photograph wildlife. Instead of spending several thousands of dollars on a big lens that I would use infrequently, I was able to rent them at a fraction of the cost. The customer service at this the company is flawless. I called and emailed multiple times for advice and always received prompt, enthusiastic support. I recommend calling them to tell them where you are going what you’ll be taking pictures of and they’ll be able to recommend the right gear. The website does have pre-assembled travel packages for you. Please remember that you will need to carry this gear with you so if you don’t have the proper carrying equipment, you’ll need to rent it!
Camelbak Aventura for Women backpack: I guess now I’m kind of an experienced hiker. I learned the hard way, though, that your day pack should have straps that go around your waist for better support. When I was in the market to upgrade my day pack, there were very few that had this important feature. The only one I found was the Camelback Aventura for Women and it’s amazing. I took it with me on my Mount Kilimanjaro climb. I could carry the right amount of water, snacks and extra layers in this one day pack and it wasn’t uncomfortable.
Vasque Lowa hiking boots: I have long, narrow, flat feet. Shoe shopping has always been hard for me and trying to find good hiking boots was even more challenging. It took me months to find the right boots for my Kili trip. I recommend going to your trusted outdoor specialist shop and spending time with the shoe specialist to figure out the perfect fit. Trust me, your feet will thank you. Even with this brand, which runs narrow, I still have to have inserts and wear two pairs of socks for the big hikes.
Flight 001 gear: Flight 001 specializes in travel gear. It’s a bit expensive so I asked for things for as gifts. I got the F1 Flyers Series Day Bag and it was great. It’s a good messenger bag to have when touring cities. I like messenger bags so I can put the strap across my chest and rest my arm on top of the bag to deter thieves. It’s a stylish bag with many compartments so I could cram a lot in and still be organized about it.
The other items I received were two SpacePaks. These came in handy for my trip to Antarctica. I put my summer clothes for the Argentina and Uruguay portion in one and my winter clothes in the other. They helped me stay organized but I don’t think they compressed a lot to give me more space in my suitcase. But more space is a double-edged sword. Remember, pack only what you can carry.