Trip Planning Resources
Here are a few websites and tips that have helped us save a lot of money and time while planning our journey. We hope they will be of some use to you as well in your trip planning!
Finding Cheap Flights:
http://matrix.itasoftware.com/. This website is a great reference tool. It shows you the best available price for flights within any one month period. You can’t book directly through them, but you can take the price you find to your travel agent or can book online directly through the airlines website or on another website like momondo.com or skyscanner.com.
Unfortunately, this website does not always show low cost carriers (Air Asia, Wizzair, EasyJet etc) so you might have to research those on your own to find an even better price.
If you’re looking to do a long term trip like ours and are having trouble finding suitable travel insurance we suggest you take a look at World Nomads Travel Insurace. It was the only company we found that allowed long-term travel through several countries without having to be returning to your country of origin in between. We’ve been using it since the beginning and although we haven’t had to call in a claim yet it gives us peace of mind every day.
While we haven’t found a great way to do this quickly and easily, we like to use booking.com as it allows you to easily sort hotels based on the price you want to pay, review score and location. We usually like to cross reference and ultimately book with agoda.com since you can earn rewards points after purchase and even more after you review the hotel. These points can be redeemed for discounts or free nights in the future.
You can also check hostels.com or hostelworld.com but we find that these websites usually have the same properties listed at a higher price. It’s worth a look just in case, but we don’t usually use them.
If you are like Kendall and like to check reviews on hotels before booking, tripadvisor.com is always a good reference.
Booking Overland Transportation:
Each country has its own unique transportation options and you need to do some digging in order to find them. We use wikitravel.org and Lonely Planet as reference guides. Here are some companies and website that we recommend:
Greece we used viva.gr to book our ferries
Poland/Eastern & Central Europe: polskibus.com – a very comfortable coach bus with free wifi. It is cheaper, faster and nicer than the train.
Turkey: Metro and Pamukkale bus services. Although they do have a website where you can book online, it is only available in Turkish. Buy your tickets at the bus station. Buses have airplane type entertainment tv sets, complimentary water/juice and snacks.
Intercape.co.za. If you want to do southern Africa independently, safely and comfortably Intercape is a good option. It covers pretty much every major city in Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe). However it is heavy on Christianity with prayer videos and other religious based entertainment so be forewarned.
Nakedbus.com. These comfortable, reliable and affordable buses go absolutely everywhere you would want to go on both islands. Book far enough ahead and your fare could be as low as $1.
Cleartrip.com. You can book your train tickets throughout India from at home or in the country from cleartrip. They charge a tiny commission but you do not have to stand in line at the train station (trust us you do not want to do this).
Other useful links:
Couchsurfing.org. If you want to have an authentic in-country experience and make new friends give couchsurfing a try. Do not use the site if you are only interested in a free place to stay, it is very much a cultural exchange. Bring a small gift, be helpful and keep an open mind!