Isn’t technology great? You can plan and book an around the world trip from your smart phone wherever you are – you literally have the world in the palm of your hand! People have asked me on numerous occasions how I find great deals on flights and accommodation so I thought why not write this article and include the main sites that I use together with other great sites I couldn’t live without when planning a trip or actually travelling. All the sites that I have listed have apps which can be downloaded from either the Apple Store or Google Play making it even easier to use your smart phone.
Best for Flights – Skyscanner
Hands down I find Skyscanner the best site for finding flights. I love the search everywhere function. We use this quite often if we have some time to take a trip but don’t really know where we want to go and we are travelling on a budget. We literally type in from ‘United Kingdom to Everywhere’, the dates we want to fly and then sort the results in price order. We have found many bargains by doing this. It’s great to see the price differences if you can tweak your dates one day or so either way. One day the flight may be £110 the next it may only be £40. It’s also great if you know where you want to go and when as it will list all flights to that location on that date in price order/number of stops/duration – which ever you choose, meaning you get pick the flight that suits you the best
Best for Accomodation – Booking.com
One of probably a zillion hotel price comparison sites out there on the world wide web but by far my favourite. It’s as simple as peas to use, you simply put the location of where you want to visit together with the dates of your stay and voilà you are presented with a lovely list of hotels in that place. You can then filter the results as you fancy i.e. by price, by star rating, by customer rating etc and pick yourself the perfect accommodation for your trip. I tend to find Booking.com cheaper than similar websites (which is always welcome) if you are paying up front. Also, most are offered on a pay on arrival basis which means if you don’t have the cash there and then you can still book and it’ll give you chance to save your pennies in preparation for your stay.
Best for Trips – Viator
I’d love to be one of those people, you know the ‘go with the flow’ type of people, the ones who wake up in a morning and think ‘what am I going to do today?’. Well I’m not, never have been and possibly never will be. When I travel I am somewhere for a very limited time therefore I need to ensure I see and do everything I want to see and do within that timeframe. Because of this I use Viator to book nearly all of my trips and excursions. It’s a great site and easy to use. You simply need to type in where you are going and a whole raft of options usually pops up. You can then filter them by a range of different options including ‘Cultural and Theme Tours’, ‘Food, Wine and Nightlife’, ‘Sightseeing Tickets and Passes’ etc making it so easy to find cool things to do wherever you are visiting.
Best for Maps – MAPS.ME
A map app comes as standard now on most, if not all, smart phones but when out of the country where the contract was signed up to in you are likely to experience some big hefty data roaming charges if you choose to use it. I must admit I am a fan of the good old fashioned map however do not always have one on me therefore having the ability to use maps for free whilst travelling is great. If like me you have found yourself lost and quickly flicked the ‘Data Roaming’ back on for a millisecond to find out which direction you need to head and have been charged £20 for the pleasure then this app is for you! Simply download the map of the continent/area you are visiting prior to your trip and once there you can use the map as frequently as you need to without the need for a wi-fi connection.
Best for Translation – Google Translate
Learning another language is firmly near the top of my bucket list. I genuinely think that languages are not taught from an early enough age in English schools so by the time we do start to learn another language, usually, French, at the age of 11 we are already years behind out European counterparts. Most places I have been I have been able to get by with a few simple words like hello, thank you and goodbye ,which always seems to be appreciated by the local people. However, sometimes you need to know a bit more for whatever reason. This site/app has a simple text translation ability together with an audio, handwriting and even photograph (although only limited language) abilities too. Meaning you can translate almost everything one way or another.
As technology advances our list will probably change but for now these are our go to sites/apps. What are yours? We’d love to hear your recommendations – anything that makes booking a trip or travelling is great in our book! 🙂
* This post is in no way sponsored by any of the companies that I mention, they are the actual sites/apps that we use when planning and taking a trip.