The internet is huge. Full of hundreds and thousands of travel websites. And while it is relatively easy to find information about anything you could possibly want EVER, it can be extremely difficult to get a simple answer to your question, or to figure out what is going to work for you.
Not all sites offer the same benefits, use the same agencies, or provide the same information, so it can be hard to navigate.
So I have compiled a list of the go-to travel websites we consistently use when planning our overseas holidays—jot them down, check them out, or better yet—bookmark them on your browser for easy access. You won’t regret it.
This site really does deliver on its motto – discover how to get anywhere.
Easy to use, beautifully designed, and also available as an app, Rome2rio is the first place I turn to when I need to figure out how to get from one destination to another.
All you have to do is key in your ‘from’ and ‘to’ destinations, and Rome2rio does the hard work for you. It provides a range of different transport options available between your destinations, and if you select your travel dates, you’ll get more accurate pricing information. Pricing is shown in your location currency, so you don’t have to worry about conversions.
The visuals on this site are great: the world map clearly demonstrates where your destinations are in relation to each other, and the colour-coded transport icons make it really easy to distinguish between the different modes (plane, train, bus, car etc) available. It also potentially opens you up to different vendors that you may not have known about, or been able to find by a Google search.
From the site you can choose which option is the best—whether duration, cost, or mode of transport is the most important—and then follow the links to the applicable vendor in order to book your trip.
Expedia and Webjet
To be perfectly honest, Expedia and Webjet sit in the same category to me; I don’t have a preference for one over the other. They both provide great search options for locating cheap flights, accommodation, car hire, and activities; both sites are easy to use; and we really do have a look at both when researching flights for our holidays.
More often than not we book our flights directly through the airline, but these types of sites are great for figuring out which airline will get us where we need to go, for the best price.
Hotels.com and HotelsCombined
Again, this is another ‘I say potayto, you say potahto’ situation; they are both great, easy-to-use sites, and definitely worth bookmarking.
I usually find that HotelsCombined has slightly better prices than Hotels.com, BUT Hotels.com has an excellent rewards system where you collect points each time you book through their site (you get even more points if you use their app), that you can then use to book your next stay #win.
What could be better than getting feedback from real people who have been to the hotels, attractions, restaurants, and destinations you’re planning on going to? Nothing. That’s what.
Tripadvisor is a site where you can not only find out information about the places you plan on visiting, but you can also learn about the experiences that other people had there.
Yes, you do have to take all reviews with a grain of salt: you have no idea what these people are like in real life, what experiences they had leading up to their arrival at their destination or posting their review, or what their original expectations were.
However, it is a really valuable site that gives you a general idea of what you can expect. We always use Tripadvisor before booking any accommodation as it helps weed out the duds; but we don’t take all reviews as gospel—you can get a pretty good sense of who is genuine and who has just had a bad day.
If you’re hoping to take part in a tour or sightseeing activity during your holiday, then Viator is a great one-stop-shop, offering a range of different options to suit your needs.
It allows you to search for, and book tours directly from the site, with pricing shown in your location currency.
Their itineraries are detailed and easy-to-follow, and they also include photos and reviews from real people who have participated.
Although STA is largely targeted at students, they do have excellent flight deals and awesome tour packages available. For our first overseas jaunt (in 2011), we had only planned on heading to Canada, but after a ’round the world’ ticket from STA caught our attention, we ended up stopping over in Japan and Europe on our way, saving ourselves a bunch of money and crossing off some bucket list items in the process.
If you are 26 and under, STA should be your first port of call when looking at flights, as they offer the best student prices I’ve seen; but even if you are over the age threshold (sigh), you can still get a really good deal from them, so they are worth checking out.