Plan well and get more travel for your money and be better protected on the road. To make it easier for you, I’ve created a list of resources I think you should consider when planning your next trip. Let me also mention that some of the links on this page are affiliate links meaning that Solo Traveler will receive a small commission when you make a purchase. Your price is the same as always but you’ll be helping make Solo Traveler possible.
My Go-To Trip Planning Sites - the Essentials
I've used a variety of sites over the years but the one I like best right now is FlightNetwork. Last week I booked a flight to New York City and saved almost C$200 on a C$500 flight compared to the airline's site. I just checked it again and the saving was C$66, not quite as much but I'd take it. I was equally lucky when I booked my flight home from Glasgow last month for C$400. They also offer Price Drop Protection which I've not yet tested. Yes they're my favorite at the moment. I hope you have the luck I've had. Please make sure that you choose the correct currency in the upper right of their site.
I use public WiFi as I travel and I use StrongVPN to protect my identity as I do so.
I simply turn on the VPN and to safely use my credit card or do banking over public WiFi. It's easy to set up - just a bit of software you download onto your computer, phone or tablet. Read VPN for Travel: What, Why and an Easy Setup Guide. Also read Eek! I Lost My Credit Card to learn how the VPN really saved me a lot of hassle.
My most recent analysis of travel insurance benefits and pricing surprised me big time.
On the fence as to whether travel insurance is important? Read Do I Need Travel Insurance?
An audio book is certainly not an essential travel product but I always make sure I have two available to me before I set off on a trip. I find them great while I'm waiting in lines, before bed, walking... You can get a free book to download onto your phone with the Audible app by signing up here.
Everyone has their favorite booking engine. My current favorite is FlightNetwork as it's saved me a lot of money in the last couple of months. Always check the prices with the airline's site. This has save me a couple of hundred dollars before. By the same token, booking on FlightNetwork once saved me almost $200 over the airline site. Before you book your flight you might want to have a read of How to Get the Best Deal on Flights.
RailEurope for booking train travel in Europe. You can get your Eurorail Pass or passes to just about any country or combination of countries.
Amtrak for travel throughout the US.
Via Rail for train travel in Canada.
Auto Europe - as it sounds, they specialize in Europe.
Avis Rent A Car - Avis is an American household name that you can rent from all over the world.
Zip Car - You get a membership and then rent a car by the hour or the day with gas and insurance included. It's a great deal, especially if you don't have a car at home and make use of Zip Car there and on your travels.
Sixt Car Rental - for just about anywhere in the world but especially for Europe. They boast high-quality cars at low prices including the world's largest BMW and Mercedes Benz fleet.
Where to Stay
Naturally, I recommend that you check out The Solo Traveler Accommodation Guide for hotels, B&Bs, hostels all of which have been suggested by other solo travelers. If it doesn't have what you're looking for, try working with these tools.
Hotels, B&Bs and Hostels
Recommended - Booking.com is a hotel booking site with a wide range of hotels, hostels, B&Bs and boutique hotels. It's here because it seems to be quite popular in Europe.
Bed & Breakfast.com is a great option for B&Bs which are simple, local, friendly places to stay.
Hostelworld is a great resource for hostel reviews and booking. Read my post on Sleeping with Strangers to get a good idea of what this deep budget option is like. Personally, I love a good hostel.
Trivago is a hotel price comparison site. They give you results from a variety of booking sites like Expedia and Booking.com
Apartments, Vacation and Resort Rentals
Airbnb is well known for booking apartments, homes or rooms. Click here to book and you'll get a $25 credit.
VRBO is similar to Airbnb but tends to include more holiday condos and resort rooms. I used it for a stay in Kauai and got a great deal.
Vacation Home Rentals, another option for holiday rentals. This is similar to VRBO, Vacation Rental by Owner
Homeaway is yet another option similar to Airbnb.
Home Exchange saves you big time on accommodation. Live like a local and stay for FREE. They have 65,000+ worldwide listings.
Couchsurfing.org as recommended by many members of the Solo Travel Society. For information on how to couchsurf safely read Overcome Your Fear: how to practice safe couchsurfing.
Things to Do
You'll usually save by booking these in advance. I once watched some hucksters on the street catching people unprepared and charging a premium for attractions. Read Tickets to Attractions and Day Tours: How to Get the Best Deal.
Tours and Attractions
Viator.com has thousands of things to do in hundreds of countries. Book ahead and you'll sometimes save money. If they don't let you book as a single person, call the tour or attraction directly. There may be a minimum number of people required to run a tour which is understandable but you may be able to join a group already booked. Attractions in major cities: London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and lots more...
Urban Adventures - I've taken a number of Urban Adventures tours and I've really enjoyed every one. They have food tours, wine and beer tours, adventure tours... in 65 countries. Check them all out.
Tours4Fun focuses specifically on tours. From tours in Italy to exploring National Parks in North America, they have lots on offer.
City Pass - for travel in the US and Canada, City Passes will give you up to 50% off admission to major attractions in 12 major cities in North America including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto.
Go Card - for travel in the US, Go Cards promotes discounts up to 55% off admission to major attractions. They also cover 12 cities, some of which are the same as City Pass but some are different. They also have a cards for all of Florida and all of California.
City Passes and Other Deals in the UK and Europe. TicketBar has set up a page specifically for Solo Traveler with lots of special deals for over 40 cities. They have the London Pass, The Paris Pass... Have a look.
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