Resources

When I started traveling in 2003, there weren’t many online resources available. I had to learn the ropes of traveling as I made my way from Asia to Europe, Africa, South America and beyond.

Now, after 12 years of traveling 90+ countries across all seven continents, I’ve picked up a trick or two when it comes to world travel.

This page is an organized list of resources that I still use today to plan my travels and sustain my travel lifestyle. I strong believe in them and that’s why I recommend them here. 

For a more detailed list, please refer to my book, The Adventure Traveler’s Handbook. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and let me know how I can help!

 

Travel Insurance and Visa Applications



Travel Guard

I’ve been using Travel Guard since I started traveling in 2003. They offer great value, in depth coverage and excellent customer service. I’ve made a claim before and the compensation was great and the whole process was fast and easy. If you’re an active traveler like me, you can also get an adventure insurance plan to cover high risk activities like white water rafting and horse riding.



World Nomads

They are a well respected company with competitive prices and worldwide coverage, highly recommended by many world travelers. It is one of the few companies that allow you to buy a policy when you are already traveling. Their policies include baggage loss and flight delays/cancellations.




VisaHQ

Applying for visas can be quite expensive and tricky if you are planning to travel to a few countries in a region with lots of bureaucracy. If you want to avoid the stress, I suggest using the services of VisaHQ to expedite the visa application process for a small fee. This is the best visa company to use for travelers in the US.




The Visa Machine

If you’re based in the UK or Europe, I recommend opting for this company to handle your visa applications. They are a highly reputed company used by many major tour operators. I used them when applying for visas in Central Asia and they were highly efficient. Their service was excellent and the process turned into a very simple, pain-free one.

Tour Operators


G Adventures

G Adventures

They are a small-group adventure travel operator with an emphasis on authentic, local experiences. I am a brand ambassador for G Adventures and I’ve traveled with them to Antarctica, Arctic, Nepal, Brazil, southern Africa, New Zealand and Mongolia — they’ve got my seal of approval. I  recommend signing up to their newsletter for offers and last minute deals. If you become a returning customer, you get discounts on your next trips.



Oasis Overland

A highly reputed tour operator with overland expeditions in Africa, South America and Central Asia. Their overland trucks are equipped with cooking facilities, storage space, and seating capacity for 30 passengers. Note that their trips involve camping and participation from travelers, so don’t expect to be indulging in five-star luxury. I traveled with them on the Silk Road journey, and loved the flexibility and unpredictability of the experiential journey.



Viator Tours

For any type of day tours, hikes or outdoor excursions, this is the company to go to. It has the largest selection of short tours on the internet, and you can book anything from cooking classes and flamenco shows to paragliding excursions and hiking adventures. They cover more than 1,500 destinations worldwide.



Context Travel

This company organizes scholar-led walking tours in major cities around the world. Intellectually curious travelers will definitely love these “walking seminars” as they provide an in-depth alternative to traditional tours. Groups sizes are strictly capped at six, and the group leader is often a Ph.D.-level scholar from a local university.



Tinggly

This is a new concept of buying experiences and giving them as gifts. You can get a Tinggly gift box for $119 and it’s is valid for any of 350+ experiences in 80+ countries. There are some interesting experiences ranging from a bungee jump in New Zealand to a scuba experience in Cancun.



BonAppeTour

Discover a unique and interesting way to immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine. BonAppeTour connects travelers with local, in-home restaurants in various locations for a taste of home cooked cuisine. With the program you can connect with restaurant owners and schedule the perfect meal, and an authentic dining experience to boot.



Eurail

If you are planning to travel Europe by train, the Eurail pass will help you save lots of money. I’ve used a rail pass in Lapland (the most expensive part of Europe) and the Balkans without spending more than $500 on transport each trip. You can book the pass in advance and they’ll ship the pass to you for free.

Flights



Skyscanner

This is by far my favorite website for finding cheap airfares as it searches a wide variety of airlines, including budget carriers that other sites miss. It allows you to see airfares for an entire month in one window, so you can pick the cheapest day to fly. I also like its “Explore” feature that allows you to put in your home airport and see the best flight deals.



Vayama

A great flight search engine, especially for international flights outside the US. It’s one of my main starting points for when I book international tickets and I’ve found fares on their site hundreds of dollars cheaper than I’ve found elsewhere.



TripAdvisor Flights

They are a meta search engine, with the user-friendly option of clicking to compare results on other travel sites, including BookingBuddy, Hotwire, Priceline and Travelocity.



Dohop

This is a good all-in-one site to book flights, hotels and car rental. I think they are a great starting point for searching for cheap airline tickets, especially if you are based in in Europe.



Airtreks

If you are planning an extended trip spanning across continents, booking a RTW (round-the-world) ticket can be a cheap and convenient way to fly around the world. Airtreks is a leader in RTW tickets. They can mix and match from all available airlines (excluding budget airlines) to find you the best deal.

Accommodation



Booking.com

This is my go-to website for booking hotels worldwide. The hotels range from budget 3-star hotels to luxury resorts. The interface is easy to use and the booking process is fast and convenient. I like booking through their app – it just takes a minute or two, and it saves my confirmation in my phone’s passbook (accessible offline).



Hostelworld

When I started backpacking in 2005, this was my favorite booking site. It’s the best hostel booking site there with the best search engine and largest inventory. You can find hostels for as low as $5 per night (like the one I stayed in Cairo, Egypt!).



Airbnb

This popular accommodation booking site lets you book short-term apartment rental and experience living like a local. This is a great option if you are planto travel in a group or want the space to cook and enjoy the comforts of home. Sign up with this link and you’ll get $25 off your first stay!



Agoda

As the best booking website for accommodation in Asia, Agoda offers some regional deals that you won’t find on other search engines. When I’m planning a trip in Asia, I always use Agoda.



Couchsurfing

Looking for free accommodation? Couchsurfing connects you with locals who are willing to host you on their couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money and meet locals at the same time. You’ll learn and experience so much more this way than staying in a hotel. I have been both a guest and a host before and highly recommend this way of travel!

Travel Gear



REI

This is the best place to get travel gear if you live in the US. They have the widest range of outdoor travel gear from backpacks to packing cubes, first aid kits and hiking equipment. You can also find all the major outdoor brands there like Deuter and Osprey.



Eagle Creek

I’ve been using their products for a while now and can personally vouch for the quality of their gear. They have a strong focus on innovation and durability and their packs are the sturdiest and smartest you can find in the market. All of Eagle Creek products are covered under the “No Matter What” Warranty that promises lifetime warranty, regardless of the cause. Read my review of several Eagle Creek gear.



Hyperlite Mountain Gear

They manufacture ultralight, durable outdoor gear that are great if you spend lots of time in the mountains. Their packs, shelters and accessories all feature high-tech, waterproof materials with a minimalist design. Sign up for their newsletter to get 10% off your next purchase.

Research and Guides



Lonely Planet Guidebooks

I’ve been using Lonely Planet since my first backpacking trip in 2003. They were the Holy Grail for travelers before the internet came along. While their guides aren’t exactly as updated as information you’ll find on the net these days, it’s still great to have all the info you need compiled in one place. It’s too cumbersome to travel with their thick books these days, I personally like to  buy their ebooks and read on my Kindle while I travel.



TripAdvisor

By far the most trusted website to go for user-written reviews. Before booking a hotel, I usually go to TripAdvisor to check for reviews written by other travelers.



The Man in Seat 61

This is the best resource to plan train travel almost everywhere in the world – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. They’ve got the most comprehensive information on train routes, fares, schedules, and train conditions.



Grassroots Volunteering

If you’ve ever wanted to give back during your travels, Grassroots Volunteering is just the site for you. This site connects travelers who want to volunteer with local organizations all over the world. You can choose the length of time, anywhere from a few weeks to over a year!

Technology



Tep WiFi

We’ve all been there – you’re in a really remote place, there’s no WiFi available, and you need to get in contact with someone via email. With a Tep Wireless device, you can bring a connection with you anywhere you go, with unlimited use for a flat fee each day.



Scratch Wireless

This is a unique phone and texting service that enables you to connect via WiFi, or connects you to Sprint’s network. Basically, the way it works is that you use WiFi for calling, texting, etc., and the cell service only connects when you don’t have access to WiFi connections. It’s a great system for staying connected on the road.



VyprVPN

Vypr is a unique VPN service that hosts its own servers for the more secure connection possible. You can choose to browse the web from over 50 countries where servers are hosted.



Crashplan

Things break, hard drives fail and SD card get damaged. Crashplan is a fantastic service for backing up your personal data from any device. Don’t subject yourself to losing important documents and files — secure a backup plan now with this easy-to-use service.

Travel Blogging



Travel Blog Success

Do you want to learn how to build a travel blog from some of the best in the business? Travel Blog Success is a program that will help you do exactly that. This online course and community, built by seasoned travel bloggers in the industry, is perfect for anyone who wants to build a blog with a solid foundation.



MatadorU Travel Writing Course

Matador is a travel resource website that features stories and anecdotes from around the globe. Along with its fantastic content, it also boasts some comprehensive courses on travel writing, photography, and video. The travel writing course is a great first step into perfecting the art of storytelling.

Bluehost

Once you’re ready to start a travel blog, you’ll need a package to host your website. Bluehost is a reliable, well-reputed hosting website with great customer service. They offer different packages depending on the size of your site and what capabilities you need.



WordPress

Almost all of the great blogs of the Internet use a blogging platform called WordPress. It’s a free, user friendly platform that has various customization options. After you’ve purchased a hosting package, you can install WordPress and start writing.



WooThemes

Once you’ve set up your blogging platform, you’re ready to make it look pretty. WooThemes is a website that has dozens of selections for sleek and user-friendly themes to use on your website. These premium things are used by new bloggers and professionals alike to build clean, well-designed websites.



BackupBuddy

You never know what will happen online, and it’s crucial to back up your site regularly so that you can restore any damages from hackers or server crashes. Backup Buddy is a WordPress plugin that is easy to use and reliable for your web backup needs.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. I earn a commission if you make a purchase, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU. I only recommend companies that I’ve used before and have enjoyed using. Let me know if you have any questions regarding these companies, I’ll be happy to answer them.
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