I’ve planned and booked a lot of trips all over the world and the companies listed below are the exact ones I use when I travel. I’m a firm believer in them and that’s why they are listed. They are the best out there, and continually offer the best deals, including some Nomadic Matt exclusives. Check back here before your book your trip for the latest updates.
This is my all time favorite search engine. They always seem to find airlines that offer the best deals and their calendar view lets you see which days are cheapest to fly. I like them because they search the small booking sites no one else does. I make this my starting point for all flight searches.
A good flight search engine for fares leaving from the United States. They search a wide variety of airline and other flight brokers (Kayak is what is known as a meta search engine). I think they are a great starting point for searching for cheap airline tickets, especially if you are based in the US.
This company is a leader in round the world tickets. Their booking engine will allow you to construct itineraries using multiple airlines so you can piece together the best deals. Their staff is excellent and really knows their stuff.
A great flight search engine, especially for international flights outside the US. It’s one of my main starting points for when I book international tickets and I’ve found fares on their site hundreds of dollars cheaper than I’ve found elsewhere.
This great website searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I’ll often check this site too as a way to price compare.
One of the best flight search engines out there, Google Flights lets you enter your departure airport and see flights all over the world in a map so you can see where the cheapest destination in. They also suggest different dates for cheaper flights.
Another good accommodation alternative, this site connects with homeowners who rent out their homes/apartments to you. You’ll get all the comforts of home, the chance to stay in a local, non-touristy part of where you are going, and pay a fraction of the cost of a hotel room. (If you’re new to Airbnb, get $35 off your first stay!)
An amazing website for accommodation in Asia. This should be your primary accommodation website for guesthouses and hotels in Asia. They have the most robust inventory and offer the best rates. When I travel around Asia, I don’t use anyone else. (As a reader, get 10% off your booking with the code AGODANOM10.)
Booking.com provides great resource and booking site for cheap hotels and other accommodation. I like their easy to use interface too, wide selection, and no money down policy. They are especially good for listing in developing countries.
The best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and highest availability. I use them for all my hostel bookings. And, since they bought their competitor Hostelbookers, they are the biggest game in town.
This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can tell you much more about a city than you will find out in a hostel/hotel. I have used this website dozens of times and the site also has groups where you can meet up for events in your city.
One of my favorite hotel sites because it allows you to bid on hotels and save a lot more money than just by booking directly. When used in conjunction with the bidding site Better Bidding, you can substantially lower the cost of your hotels by as much as 60%.
I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. They are also recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographic so you know they are good. DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE.
If you are going to Europe and taking a lot of trains, get a rail pass. I’ve used a rail pass three times and saved hundreds of dollars each time. The math just works. I use the company Rail Europe and suggest you do too. You can read about my experience using rail passes by clicking this link.
I’ve had the same REI backpack with me for the last 6 years and it’s as good now as it was the day I bought it. Their products will last you a long time. Because the quality has been so great, I purchase all my travel gear through them. For more on picking the perfect backpack, read this article.
Everyone has their own guidebook preference. Lonely Planet is mine. I like the look of their guides, organization, light weight, and emphasis on budget travel. Lonely Planet also redesigned their books in 2011 and they are now better organized with more photos and better maps.
If you are a traveler and live in the U.S., get T-Mobile. T-Mobile gives their users contract-free plans (starting at $50 per month) with free international data and text messaging in over 100 countries — plus all calls while in those countries are only 20 cents a minute. I’ve been using them for years and love them.
This website allows you to eat home cooked meal with locals. Locals post listings for dinner parties and specialty meals that you can sign up for. There is a fee (everyone sets their own price) but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local’s brain, and make a new friend.