With so many travel booking websites these days, we know it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. We have compiled our favorite sites below, which we use personally for our trips, to help make this a little easier! After years of traveling, we have tried out many travel booking sites in our time, but these are the ones we keep coming back to.
Disclaimer: some of the links below are affiliate links. While we make a commission off them, it comes at no extra cost to you. We only include companies we use, which have made traveling easier for us!
Booking Your Trip
Finding the perfect flight can take a lot of work. We use each of these sites to get a baseline price and travel time and see which airlines fly to our destination. Then, we start playing with different routes and dates to try to put together our own itinerary for a cheaper price.
Third-party websites can have great deals, but if your flight is canceled or delayed and you need a new flight then they can be an absolute nightmare to deal with! Unless the price is so irresistible that it's worth the risk, we always book directly through the airline.
Skyscanner is great for finding cheap deals with many ways to search and filter for flights.
If your plans are flexible, you can search by an entire month or by the cheapest date to find the best time to fly.
We often set the destination to "anywhere" to get an idea of alternative routes we can take by booking separate legs. This is how we often find our most affordable flights
Google Flights makes no commission from airlines and travel agencies when you book through the platform, which means you see the real prices for these flights.
It's one of the most useful tools for flight comparisons due to the huge amount of data Google has access to and the extensive range of search options.
The 'Explore' tab lets you easily compare the cost of flights from your destination to multiple cities in a single search and is an extremely useful tool to find alternative routes for multi-leg journeys.
The Secret Flying team finds the best flight deals online and posts them on their site. It's a great resource to find flights with fare mistakes and view monthly deals from your departure airport.
We have found some great deals through them over the years! Unlike other similar websites, the best part is... it's free!
Almost everywhere you go, accommodation will account for a large chunk of your budget. That's why we always compare our options through each of these sites before booking anything, to make sure we find the best deal for us. Each one has something different to offer, so the best one to book through always comes down to when and where you want to go and what type of accommodation you are looking for.
Booking.com is a great resource for all kinds of accommodation as it frequently offers the most options. We've used it to book hotels, hostels, and even homestays all over the world.
It's also a great resource to find last-minute deals and, with their Genius rewards program, the more you book, the more you save.
Agoda has plenty of options for hotels, apartments, and homestays. Recently, it has become our most used platform with heaps of deals that always seem too good to be true. They also offer great last-minute deals for those travelers who don't book ahead.
Once you get VIP Gold status (easier than it sounds), you unlock even bigger discounts! Can you tell we are fans?
It can be daunting trying to figure out how to get around a new city or country, but luckily these days there are plenty of tools to help. While it does vary depending on where you are, we generally use a combination of these apps and sites to help us navigate from A to B.
With the option to search for walking, driving, and public transport directions, Google Maps is a great tool for navigating around new cities, or between destinations. We almost exclusively use this for directions.
In the app, you can download a map of the areas you are traveling to so you can access them offline.
Maps.me is our go-to for hiking. It shows both official trails and those that are off the beaten path and can't be found on Google Maps. For those lesser marked trails, Maps.me has notes from other users with helpful info to keep you on track.
The maps are also accessible offline, so you don't have to rely on mobile reception to use them.
No one ever expects they will need to use their travel insurance, but it should still be a non-negotiable for every trip. The one time you need it will be the time you don't have it. With so many affordable options these days, it is not worth the risk to travel without it!
Safety Wing is great for everyone but is particularly useful for digital nomads and long-term travelers with open-ended tickets. You can set up monthly, automatic payments which can be canceled at any time, so you don't have the hassle of trying to renew your plan while you are on the road.
Safety Wing offers great coverage and the customer service agents are always extremely helpful.
World Nomads has great coverage if you are traveling with expensive gear such as cameras and laptops.
The cost of your insurance plan is based on the specific countries you visit, so it can keep costs low if you aren't visiting countries that have a premium, like the USA.
In our experience, the claims process is straightforward and hassle-free.
DAN (Divers Alert Network) offers the best and most comprehensive travel insurance for any scuba diver. Many travel insurance policies don't cover scuba diving or if they do, the coverage is limited and comes at an extra cost.
For those diving regularly, such as on dedicated diving trips, liveaboards, or completing courses, it's essential to have diving insurance and this is the best of the best.
We typically only travel with carry-on luggage, no matter whether we are traveling for 1 week or 1 year. You never need to bring as much as you think you do, so having limited space helps prevent overpacking. Although, you'll be surprised what you can fit into these backpacks!
As with all Osprey bags, these day packs come with a lifetime warranty.
This is our go-to everyday pack as they are the perfect size for day trips and hikes, with enough space for camera gear, snacks, and water.
On travel days when they aren't needed, these bags can be folded and packed away.
Osprey Daylite Plus Pack
Osprey bags are built to withstand the wear and tear of travel, but if your bag does get damaged they have a lifetime warranty.
They are big enough to fit a few months worth of clothes (with strategic packing) and yet are small enough to carry on to flights.
The main compartment zips all the way open - one of our non-negotiables, saving you from having to empty your bag in search of the one thing you need that always seems to be at the very bottom.
Osprey Farpoint Carryon Pack
Everyday Travel Gear
Marketing for travel gear does a great job of making you feel like you need to buy a whole lot of fancy gadgets and products. In reality, most of these things are unnecessary. Here are the items we have found to actually be useful and bring with us on every trip.
Travel towels can take some time to get used to but they save a huge amount of space in your bag. Plus, they're quick drying so you don't have to worry about packing a wet towel and stinking up the rest of your clothes.
While there are many options, we prefer the Nomadix brand because they are durable, have unique designs, and can even be used for yoga.
The insulation in these bottles keeps hot water hot and cold water cold.
Aside from the obvious environmental benefits of having a reusable drink bottle, they also save you from having to buy overpriced water everywhere you go.
What we love most about the Waterlust bottles though is that 10% of the profits go towards marine research & conservation - a cause very close to our hearts.
Insulated Drink Bottle
Padlocks are not just useful for locking your bag during flights. They are also useful for safely securing your belongings in hostel lockers. Many hostels don't provide locks for their lockers and charge high prices to purchase them, so you are better off bringing one with you.
We always opt for the combination locks so we don't have to worry about losing the key.
When you are trying to stick to weight limits or have minimal space in your bag, toiletries can be a great place to cut down to meet these requirements. Here are some of our weight and space-saving items.
Being able to hang these bags is super useful in bathrooms with a small amount of space. They also lay out flat so you can see everything at once without having to rummage around to find what you are looking for. Plus, they have 2 detachable compartments so you don't have to take everything with you to the bathroom.
But most importantly, without any thick materials or highly structured sections, these bags don't waste any space in your pack or suitcase.
Full disclosure, this is not the exact bag we have as that one is no longer available, but it is the same idea.
Hanging Toiletries Bag
If you are flying internationally with carry-on luggage, there is a 100ml limit on liquids so we fill these little bottles with our usual toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc. Plus, by not taking full sized products, you can save a lot of space.
If you are traveling for longer periods and don't think these will last your entire trip, they are reusable so you can always refill them along the way.
We find the silicon bottles to be best as the plastic ones tend to split after a while. You can also find spray bottles, pots, and pump bottles if you need them.
Travel Sized Bottles
A regular-sized hairbrush can waste a lot of space in your bag, so mini brushes can be a great space-saving alternative.
While it's not a mini brush as such, Caity uses the Tangle Teezer detangling brush. However, if they don't suit your hair type, there are plenty of travel-sized brush options out there.
Travel Sized Hairbrush
While you might not want to be too reliant on electronics while you travel, these few items can really come in handy.
It's never fun when your phone dies while you're using it to find your destination. That's why we always make sure to carry a powerbank with us wherever we go, particularly on long travel days or multi-day adventures.
Newer devices can require a fair amount of juice to charge them, so we always opt for powerbanks with at least 20,000mAh.
This Kickstarter project has become one of our favorite travel items. This little universal adaptor packs up small but surprisingly still has space for 5 power plugs, 1 USB, and 1 USB C cord.
Plus, it works with all plug and socket types, so you'll never have to buy individual adaptors for each country again.
Bagel Universal Adaptor
While this is not a travel essential, it is a surprisingly handy addition to our travel gear.
When you're traveling with others, it's great on long travel days for watching Netflix or listening to music together. Plus, sharing one device means you essentially halve your battery usage. If you have an iPhone, you will also need to buy an adaptor so it will fit newer models.
We use these apps to stay in touch with family and friends back home, keep up to date with new travel friends, and help break down the communication barrier when we don't speak the local language.
Buying local sim cards is often much cheaper than paying roaming charges to stay connected while you travel. But this means your phone number is changing regularly. With WhatsApp, you can keep the same number, so it saves you the hassle of updating friends and family every time you get a new sim card.
Most travelers we have met use WhatsApp so it's a great platform to use to stay connected to all your new travel friends.
Google Translate breaks down the language barrier when you travel. As well as simply typing what you want to translate, you can also use the camera to translate text on signs, menus, labels, etc. During conversation, you can use the microphone for speech to text translations. On the mobile app you can even download a language to be able to do translations offline.
No doubt during your travels you'll have long days on the road or in the air. These apps can help pass those hours a little faster!
If your library is supported, you can access all of their digital and audiobooks right from your phone. It's essentially a free version of Kindle but, just like a physical library, you return the books after you're done.All the books are downloaded onto your device so you can access them anytime, even offline.
Sneaky hack: if your library isn't supported or doesn't offer many choices, some libraries will let anyone sign up online, without proof of where you live.
We are suckers for a good podcast and a road trip singalong and Spotify gives you access to both forms of entertainment. We also use it to make playlists of the local music we discover as we travel.
For long travel days, you can download your favorite playlists and podcasts so you can listen offline, without the need for mobile data or wifi.
Every photographer has their own preference when it comes to camera gear, but these are the products we use.
The Mini 3 Pro is compact, under 200 grams, and delivers high quality videos and photos.
Because of its lightweight, you don't need to register it to fly in most countries, making it a fantastic travel drone.
With the ability to shoot in RAW and an improved signal between the drone and controller, it's a huge improvement from its predecessor.
DJI Mini 3 Pro
If you take as many photos as us, it won't be long until you've run out of room on your laptop or phone and need some extra storage space. Seagate hard drives have quick transfer speeds, plenty of external storage, and have proven to be very reliable.
For phone photos, you will need a computer to transfer the data.
Seagate Hard Drive
This drive is heavy and expensive compared to regular hard drives, but we have found it super useful when we travel without our laptops.
You can transfer your photos and videos directly to the drive via its local wifi network or by connecting your device with a USB cable.
When traveling with a camera, there is an SD card slot for fast data transfers and backups.
If you have TV shows or movies stored on the hard drive, you can stream them to your phone and there is even a built-in powerbank!
WD Wireless Hard Drive
The underwater world provides a whole new potential for photographers, and decent gear doesn't have to cost you a small fortune. This is what we use for all our underwater photography.
This video light produces so much light that we use it for night dives as well. Some might say that it is too bright!
With three light settings and multiple colors, this video light will provide you with plenty of light for your videos and photos while diving at depths. This is the cheapest yet most dependable light that we have come across. 150 dives in and it hasn't failed yet!