Travel Resources You Need to Know!

    Travel Resources You Need to Know!
    “Der Start” - CC BY-SA 2.5

    Traveling is easier than ever in this day and age with so many available resources to help us on our journey.

    So here are some you NEED to know!


    Hostel World

    Click the link. Type in the city you want to go to, estimate what days you are checking in and out and how many guests you need accommodated.

    Personally, I think of a hostel as a combination of a hotel, college dorm room, and military barracks (depending on which one you’re going to, anyway). You can choose between the dorms and private suites, though not all places offer the suites. Some dorms separate the males and females, but not all of them do. The larger establishments may offer you the choice between co-ed and separate.

    Dorms are cheaper!

    Suites are private if you need a break from people.

    Note! More popular destinations have more hostel options, but those hostels are pricier than less popular destinations. In London, expect at least $20 to $30 per night in the dorms during high season and $90 to $100+ for private suites.

    It’s really cool, too, that most places have free wifi, many have free breakfast, some have bars or restaurants, some just have deals for nearby bars, but that’s a nice package to look forward to!

    Couch Surfing

    Couchsurfing is a service that connects the traveler with a local person who is willing to open his or her home for free so the traveler has a place to stay while on a budget. The host can accept or decline a request at their leisure, and you are very likely going to sleep on a couch or the floor, though you might get an extra generous host who will offer up a private room and bed.

    This is all about hospitality.

    These people are often previous travelers and want to help out the next generation so-to-speak, but this isn’t always the case; some people are just nice! Hosts usually want to meet interesting people, exchange stories, go for a walk or out to eat, maybe show you some cool local spots.

    Remember that if you aren’t comfortable with this, you don’t have use Couch Surfing. But if you do choose to participate, the expectation and rule is courtesy and gratitude. While bringing a small gift of thanks, paying for a meal, or cooking one for the host is not necessary, it is often a good and kind thing to do.

    To use Couchsurfing, you need to set up an account with a profile. This is so potential hosts can learn a bit about you – where you’re from, where you’ve been, hobbies, personality, etc – and decide if they would like to host you. You know, to make sure you aren’t sketchy or anything!

    You can read the profiles of hosts, recommendations from past travelers who’ve stayed with the host, and find out the host’s “rules of the house” so to speak. This is your way of knowing you can trust the person who owns the floor/couch/bed you are sleeping on.

    They also have a feature called “Verified” which checks to make sure you are who you say you are, and it gives you and your host a sense of security if you are going to be sharing a living space. Pretty good idea, I’d say.

    Airbnb

    Airbnb is a site to rent a shared space, a room, or a whole house for decent prices all over the world. You can experience what if feels like to live in London or Paris or Tokyo as a local. You can find some pretty great places (even castles!) to stay in for the duration of your trip.

    This option might more than the average long-term backpacker is willing to spend, but if you have the budget or are just traveling for a week or two, go and find a drool-worthy, envy-inducing (or not) local house to rent for your travels.

    Kayak

    Kayak is an online travel company that searches the web and compares prices to find you the best deals for airlines, hotels, cruises, trains, and rental cars. They also have tools to help ease the way for us overwhelmed travelers.

    While this doesn’t cover the dirt-cheap, backpacker budget-type accommodations and transportation, this is still a wonderful resource many travelers swear by.

    World Nomads

    This is a highly trusted travel insurance company that will calculate a fair price for your trip. Travel insurance is highly recommended, especially internationally, because if you get hurt, sick, or lose your luggage, you’ll want to know that your back is covered.

    The site also has some excellent, expert travel tips for staying safe away from home.

    Lonely Planet

    This site is like the ultimate travel guide with a tried and true reputation for stubborn honesty in every article, recommendation, and testimony. Everything is written by experienced travelers, every locale personally visited. It is the go-to resource for destination searching, activities, travel guides, and booking trips of any and all kinds.

    If there is such a thing as “the travel website,” Lonely Planet is it.

    Bla Bla Car

    This is basically carpooling, and you help pay for gas and a tiny service fee (For example: around 10 Euros for a 1-2 hour trip in France). Location-wise, you’ll find Bla Bla Car in most of Europe, Russia, India, Brazil, and Mexico.

    Basically how it works is you create a profile, enter in what city you want to leave from, where you’re going, and what day. Someone else has submitted a trip they are already taking, and the site will match you. Often you’ll find a number of different people, and you can choose the best deal. You book and pay online, and then call the driver to confirm the smaller details like where you’ll meet.

    It can be fun, too, because you are given “Levels of Experience” to achieve as a driver or rider which come from using the service, getting positive reviews from the other person(s), and more. This can also communicate to future commuters you might travel with that you are trustworthy – or that they are trustworthy.


    That’s all I’ve got for you for now, but there are many more resources out there to take advantage of if you’re looking in the right places. Good luck on your travels!

     

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