Useful budget travel booking tools/resources.
Budget travelers want the cheapest deals!
As budget travelers, we are constantly searching for the best and cheapest deals, sometimes spending countless hours scouring the internet for the best travel hacks; sound familiar? At the end of the day we’re budget travelers, we don’t have the luxury to waste our precious pennies; we need maximum value for our buck!
There are some fantastic tips, hacks and useful budget travel tools out there, some can be real game changers but finding them can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. It seems like nowadays every man and his dog has a travel hack, and finding the right tools and resources can be a needless headache.
Learning from experience.
Having budget traveled since 2010 and through a hell of a lot of trial and error I’ve managed to minimise the time wading through sites and applications. The more you travel the more you know where to look for the right sites and I now have go to ‘useful budget travel booking tools, resources and sites’ which I turn to for the important stuff like: flights, accommodation, transport, currency conversion, travel insurance, tour companies (when I need to use them) language help, etc…
For me these sites and applications have been the best balance between price and reliability. While these might be the best choices for me, I’m not saying that will definitely be the case for you, you might find something that suits you better but these have served me well since I started traveling in 2010.
Useful budget travel booking tools/resources.
Below are my useful budget travel booking tools – Some of these are household, reputable names which you may already know of (Sorry no secret travel hacks here.) and some you might not have. All the useful budget travel booking tools shown below are fully functional and can be used directly from this page.
(Disclaimer *There are affiliate links but there is no cost to you if you use them from this site, and everything below is a tool or resource I use personally.)
There are thousands of tools and sites for exchange rates and currency conversion out there; everywhere from banks, post offices, travel agencies to online applications. Over the years, I’ve used numerous ones but there is so much you have to take into consideration like: How often are they updated? What commission is the vendor taking? Buying/selling rates, It is reliable? You can seriously put yourself in a spin going round in circles.
After trying out so many and getting ripped off numerous time I stumbled on XE.com – I haven’t changed since; yes I still check a few others but XE.com is the closest to a live currency exchange, it updates throughout the day no matter what time zone you’re in, and whenever I’ve exchanged money it’s only been a few pennies out. Below is a live tool you can use directly from this page.
TIP: check exchange rates on XE.com, use that exchange rate as proof when changing money at a vendor.
Booking the right flight can make such a difference for budget travelers as can open up some extra funds but a lot of energy and time can be wasted on searching for flights.
There was once a time when I would open every single flight comparison site available and direct websites to airlines trying to find the cheapest flights. And, I have to say it was a headache, again through trial and error I settled on SkyScanner. I know people prefer sites like Kayak or Expedia or even google but for me SkyScanner always trumps them all. It’s reliable, reputable, and 8 out of 10 times offer the best prices on flights.
There have been a few tricks I’ve picked up over the years and contrary to some opinions I do believe picking flights on certain days, at certain times gets you cheaper flights. One thing I will say about checking flights, as it is a huge expenditure for us budget travelers – I do check around, look at Lastminute.com and still check flights directly from Airlines but I’ll mainly I’ll book through Skyscanner.
You can get so caught up on trying to find the best deal for accommodation with the amount of sites out there. Like with most things you have to see who takes what kind of commission, if you pay upfront, deposits, cancellation policies or offers they have. It also depends on what kind of accommodation you’re looking for – AirBnb?Cuchsurfing? Campsites? Homestays? or Hostels?
However the more you travel, the more you’ll start to know which sites to use for your accommodation choice.
My go to sites for Hostels are between Booking.com and hostel world (*Note, hostel world, hostel bookers and hostels.com are part of hostel world group.)
Both booking.com and hostel world generally have the best prices for hostel rooms. Also, becoming a member has It’s advantages as they offer discounts, and both have free cancellations. – There are other sites like Trivago, Expedia, hostel checkers and Alltherooms.com but I’m not a fan of them because of high commission rates they take and they only show select hostels.
TIP: I only book the first nights stay as many local hostels still don’t use booking sites and you can find cheaper deals by just walking around.
(The booking.com tool is a live tool you can use directly from this page and is an affiliate link.)
When I’m searching for transport, I.E trains/buses/ local transport I prefer to look locally once I’m there. However I do look at the sites below to give me an idea of price and routes.
Check my bus – A good site that lets you check and book local bus journeys all around the world.
The man in seat 61 – One of the most reputable and comprehensive train travel guide, search and booking portal on the internet. Includes local, trans-country and trans-regional train journeys from all around the world.
Rome to Rio – A global trip planner by any mode of transport in any country around the world.
STA travel worldwide bus passes – Offer passes for bus companies around the world.
TIP: A good idea if you’re traveling around a region is to pick up rail passes.
Eurail offers passes for train journeys around Europe:
I hate travel insurance, I hate buying it, I hate the thought of having to need it, and I hate buying something I hope I don’t need to use but I know it’s needed (Especially now, the older I get the more chance of accidents.) Travel insurance is important because you never know when you might need it.
However in saying that, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have a go to travel insurance company, there have been trips where I know there is little chance of anything going wrong and I’ve ‘chanced it’ and there are others where I’ve shopped around and begrudgingly bought it.
Buying travel insurance can get tricky, you have to put your research in, there’s so much to choose from. And, what you get out depends on the type of trip you go on, how long, what activities you may partake in; if it’s an adventure trip, if winter sports are involved.
For my last long-term trip I went with STA Travels insurance, mainly for the convenience as I booked a few things with them.
Also if you’re from England, using sites like Travel supermarket helps comparing different travel insurances:
I tend to stay away from tour companies as much as I can, I prefer to travel independently. However the few times I have used a tour company to book activities with, I either do it locally at the destination (works out so much cheaper) or I go through STA travel.
I use STA travel as they are a reputable tour company who specialise in backpacker tours and deals, they cater more towards the backpacker crowd and located all over the world. (STA Travel is not an affiliate link.)
There are other options for you if you’re looking to book organised tours and fixed activities rather than travel independently.
Again there is a plethora of options scoured all over the internet and in paperback – You can go out and buy language and translation books, you can search for things Rosetta stone and there are numerous Apps to choose from. I’ve downloaded a few apps during my travels but end up giving up on most. However a traveling friend of mine recommended the Duallingo App, and I have to say it was and is brilliant. It’s a fun APP, it’s interactive, it starts off with very basic and easy to learn words and phrases with picture association. It progressively levels up with more complex words, phrases and sentence structures. So if I were to recommend an app that would it, Dualingo.
Useful websites and Apps for planning and during your trip.
Along with this useful budget travel booking tools page you can also find a useful budget travel website and apps page.
How did you find this Useful budget travel booking tools page, was it helpful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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