TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES, THE WANDERLUSTY WAY
Welcome to travel planning, the Wanderlusty way!
On this page you’ll find all the travel planning resources I use on a (much too) regular basis for planning ALL of my trips. Everything from my favorite airlines and air travel tips to my go-to hotel booking sites and more.
I always choose companies that offer the best value and typically go with the most user-friendly option (life is hard enough, mmkay?). When it comes to travel planning resources, I like free cancellations, skipping the lines, and romantic walks on the beach.
Note: Some of the below are affiliate links and I’ll earn a percentage of the sale if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own & I’ll never promote something I don’t personally use or believe in. Thanks for supporting My Wanderlusty Life!
TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES: AIR TRAVEL
My go-to search engine for air travel, both domestic and international, is always CheapOair. They find the lowest prices and hidden flight combinations you can’t even find on individual airlines’ websites. While we’re at it, I rent my cars from here too.
I have been able to find exceptional deals through Kayak recently. Like, $900 less than booking directly with the airline sometimes. I don’t really like how they book through another party–it gets wicked confusing, especially when flights get changed. BUT sometimes the deal is worth it!
When I need to fly domestic, I always always always check JetBlue first. They are my favorite airline ever. Unbelievably great rates, service, planes, great everything! They don’t service *everywhere* but if you can book them, do it! (Sign up for their free points program.)
Though I’m a big fan of a good flight deal, I always try to book directly with the airline when affordable. Booking directly with the airline makes your life so much easier when it comes time to change flights, or if a flight get canceled or changed. Otherwise, it’s an ordeal, lemme tell ya.
I denied needing TSA Pre✔️ for yearssss, but now that I have it I can vouch that it’s 100% necessary. The first time I used it I skipped a line of approximately 600 people in the Boston airport. Six. Hundred. People. I just pranced right past every single one of them half smug and half thinking I was absolutely headed for TSA jail. Add in the fact that you get to keep your shoes on and your laptop/liquids/camera in your bag and TSA Pre✔️ proves worth every penny.
Kinda the reverse of TSA Pre✔️. When you arrive back in the U.S. after your international trip, Global Entry allows you to skip all those chumps in the customs line. And those lines can be loooong. And not everyone in them wears deodorant. Don’t worry, you will be stuck behind that person for two hours. Global Entry let’s you skip the customs line and gets you back into the U.S. in MERE SECONDS. If that didn’t sell you — know that Global Entry also includes TSA pre✔️ as a special little bonus!
I will never go back to everyday airport life again. A Priority Pass membership gives you access into 1200+ fancy airport lounges all over the world. I’m talking free meals and drinks, open bars, tiny bottled waters, snacks, showers, clean bathrooms, entertainment, wifi and charging outlets, and places to sleep. All for free. And you can bring guests. The last one I was in had a Playstation room. Priority Pass has been simply life changing for me. And that is not hyperbole.
TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES: ACCOMMODATION
When I want to read actual travelers’ reviews on hotels, tours, activities, or sights, I always head to TripAdvisor. I love checking out travelers’ photos of hotel properties to get first-hand, authentic views. Tripadvisor reviews are helpful for telling you what you want to know about a property.
I’ve fallen deep in love with Booking.com. It’s heavy on photos, a breeze to use, and gives you the total price upfront (all fees + taxes) so there aren’t any surprises later. And when booking through them, you don’t pay until your stay and you can almost always book with free cancellation!
If you don’t know about Airbnb yet, it’s time to get with it! Airbnb offers travelers a way to stay for less – by renting the rooms/houses/apartments of locals. It’s a totally unique way to visit a new city.
I don’t always stay in hotels or Airbnbs… sometimes I stay in hostels too! I’m a bit past the dormitory phase of my life so I love when hostels have private rooms available (which most do). Hostelworld is a great resource for EVERYTHING hostel when you need to book!
TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES: TRAVEL PLANNING
All Google Maps is one of the first travel planning resources I turn to once I’ve chosen a destination. I use it to plan out my entire trip, start to finish by creating a personal Google map for each destination. For more information on how I use Google Maps to travel on a Time Budget, check out my page on Tips for Quick Trips.
All travelers have their preferences and mine just happen to be Rough Guides and Fodor’s. Everything you need to know about your new destination is found in these books–photos, historical info, cultural clues, dining and hotel recommendations, and insider information. I have a habit of reading these cover-to-cover.
I. Love. CityPASS. CityPASS offers discount booklets to the top visitor attractions in such cities as New York City, Dallas, Toronto, San Francisco, and more. With an average savings of 45% you can save HUGE on sites you’re already going to visit (and sometimes you get to skip the lines). Learn more about CityPASS below on this page.
Once considered a social media site, Pinterest is actually a search engine. By using Pinterest you can find helpful destination guides, gorgeous pictures of where you’re traveling, and all the information you’ll need when planning a trip. Type your destination + “guide” in the search bar and plan away! Pin the articles you want to save for later reference.
Intrepid Travel is a full-service tour agency that conducts tours all over the world. Perhaps you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and wanna just toss travel planning right out the window–enter: Intrepid. Their multi-day tours include all accommodation, overland travel, some meals, and a dedicated local tour guide.
If you’re just looking for day tours to various attractions in and around your destination, Viator is my go-to tour company. They’ve got food tours, sightseeing tours, adventure activities, historical tours, bus tours, and everything in between. Their tours typically include pickup and dropoff, some meals, and a personal tour guide.
SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH CITYPASS
I was so happy when I discovered CityPASS. They have helped save so much money and time on my travels. CityPASS is a discount sightseeing pass that saves you in the neighborhood of 40-50% off regular admission prices. Of the sights you’re already planning to visit. It’s a no-brainer.
CityPASS booklets are currently available for 14 cities across the United States (and one in Canada) like New York City, Dallas, Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando, and many more. (Yes, DISNEY!)
With CityPASS you not only get discounted admission, but most of the times you also get to skip the line as well. (Worth it right there, omg.) To read my personal experiences using CityPASS, check out these posts:
- Which is the Best Observation Deck in New York City?
- How to Use the Tampa Bay CityPASS as a Childless Adult
- One Day in Dallas // a CityPASS Review
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES?
Feel free to reach out!
Hit my up on social media or shoot me an email.
BUT FIRST, PIN THIS IMAGE! ⇣⇣⇣