Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 04:06 pm
Planning to travel abroad? In this post, I will go through my essential holiday planning tools that I use and find helpful when planning trips abroad. I will keep adding to this list if I come across new ones. But for now here is the list of travel planning resources.
- Trip Planner
- Destination Research
- Travel Insurance
- Travel Cards
- Sim card
- Travel Tracker
If you are spending some time in the Netherlands, take a read of these 18 useful apps to use in the Netherlands
Trip Planner & Holiday Cost Calculator
The first holiday planning tool you need is one place to store all your travel information – a trip planner. The last thing you need is to be wondering if you booked accommodation and searching through emails for details of what you booked and where the location is, or trying to find rental car information when you are in another country and have no internet. Trust me I have been there.
That is why I have created a trip planning and budget google sheets template. This travel planning sheet is a one stop shop for all your trip information. It has details of flights, accommodation, rental car, your trip itinerary, packing checklist, expense tracker, a breakdown of your costs which you can track against your budget and more. It can be used as a group and for multiple destinations. You can purchase it here for the price of a beer. It has been my go-to while on my travels.
Google some itinerary’s for the destination you are going to and go down a few results beyond the ads and big companies trying to sell you tours, until you reach some real people giving their honest experience. Here you can get some great tips and advice for your travels. Be sure to check out the other posts on my budget travel blog too.
Have a browse on tiktok, instagram, Pinterest or youtube for some ideas. For example if you are going to Rome for a weekend, search for ‘How to spend 3 days in Rome‘ to give you quick inspiration into where you should go.
Make sure you have travel insurance. I use safety wing – the reason I like this one is that it is only €40 per month and you can stop it whenever you like. You can use it for a defined duration also. Sign up here.
Travel Debit Cards
Travel cards are very useful, making it much more affordable to send money and withdraw money abroad. It is also great for safety reasons. You can top up your travel card every few days from your main bank account so you never have too much money in it in case it gets skimmed.
I use Revolut and I find it great for using abroad – there are no fees on card payments and you can withdraw up to €200 per month with no fees.
You can also turn on and off certain features such as online transactions, swipe payments, ATM withdrawals and contactless for extra security. Wise is another popular travel card.
Where to book flights
Skyscanner and Google flights are a great starting point for looking up prices – when are the cheapest dates and what are the cheapest airlines for example. You can also set price alerts on Skyscanner and it notifies you when prices increase or decrease for your route. You can also set your destination to everywhere to see where the cheapest place to fly is.
Booking through the airline is the safest in terms of customer service. Overall, airlines tend to have much better customer service than booking through an agency.
Airline Loyalty Programs
If you are a regular flyer, then you should sign up to the best airline loyalty program that suits you. Pick the one that you think you will fly with the most. For every flight you are on, you will earn miles that you can use to make a future flight cheaper.
Depending on the program you chose, there are other benefits too. For example, you can earn miles by booking accommodation etc. If you are not doing it now, you should start. It is free money that can make future flights much cheaper.
Hostelworld is great for the budget traveller, looking for cheap hostels around the world. Ensure ratings and reviews are positive before booking.
Booking.com is brilliant too – the more often you use it and leave reviews you can become a genius level 1,2 or 3. This means that you can get discounts on certain accommodation up to 20% depending on the level your at and other benefits such as free breakfast.
Airbnb is another great site for accommodation. I found my latest homestay in Bali on it and for certain accommodation, the longer you book, the more discount you get on it, That is why I like Airbnb for renting long term.
Couchsurfing is also an option for budget travellers – you can get in touch with other travellers to find free accommodation in different cities.
Roomer is an app where people who buy non – refundable reservations & for some reason cant make use of it, sell their booking at discounted prices. If you want to go somewhere last minute, check here to see if something that suits is available.
Exchange your skills for accommodation around the world by using Worldpackers. Whether it is work in a hostel or teaching English, you will get something in return – usually accommodation and a meal but it varies depending on the host.
Get your Guide
Get your Guide is a great service that offers multiple tours and entry tickets all in the one place. It offers multiple day tours, day trips, entry tickets to museums, boat trips, you name it. Type in the destination you are going to and browse what’s available, picking what you prefer most.
Free walking tours
Free walking tours are a great way to see a city. We used Sandemans free tours in Berlin and I would highly recommend, they also have tours in many other cities including New York, Paris, Amsterdam and more. There are also many other companies that organise free tours such as guru walk and more. Note that a tip is expected at the end.
Looking for the best option to travel from one place to another? Then use Rome2Rio to see your options. It includes flights, bus, trains etc.
Next on the list of holiday planning tools is 12GoAsia. It is the Rome2Rio of Asia, laying out the different options of getting from place to place. It is a good starting point to check transport options and prices.
I used omio for booking trains in Europe. It is also used in the US and Canada. It is a useful one stop shop to check your train options and purchase the one that suits you best.
Uber is like a taxi but much cheaper. Just download the app and input your destination to order one. It is used in many European countries, parts of the UK, Canada, US and more.
Gojek and Grab
Gojek and Grab are like the Asian version of Uber. You can order a car ride, scooter ride or even order food. It is really cheap and a great service.
Imoova is an agent for car rental & campervan rental companies that need vehicles relocated from one location to another. This means that you can rent vehicles for really great prices. It operates in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Europe & the UK.
Google maps is used to navigate the route to take from place to place. Without it, I would be lost many times.
Another great feature of Google Maps is that you can create lists. Say you are heading to Dubrovnik and you are looking up where to go – save each place to your Dubrovnik list. When you are finished, open maps and plan your itinerary based on what is near each other. It is visually really helpful – do all the things in the one area on the same day for more efficient use of your time.
Maps.me is a tool where you can download a map of a particular area so you can use it offline. It is very useful if you will be going somewhere you have no internet.
What 3 Words
What 3 words is another navigation tool for finding people or places by sharing their location in the form of 3 words. Every 3 metres square on the planet has a unique 3 words so that it makes it easy to navigate to a precise location. It can be used offline too.
Next on the list of holiday planning tools is Airalo. If you prefer not to get a physical sim, you can opt to get an e-sim. It will be more expensive but is a handy alternative if you do not want multiple physical sims on the go.
Airalo has e-sims for 190+ countries worldwide. There are also other providers that offer e-sims such as flexiroam etc. Shop around and see who offers the best deal for your destination and duration.
The Happy Cow
If you are vegan or vegetarian and are somewhere new not knowing where to eat, then the happy cow app will be very helpful. You can click on vegetarian and it will find all the veggie options nearby.
Google Maps Reviews
When picking somewhere to eat, I would often look at the google maps reviews to assess it. But also many restaurants now, you can view the menu on google maps to see what’s on offer and if it suits your budget or not.
Duolingo is a handy free app to use to learn new languages. Pick a language you want to learn and come back and do a bit in your own time.
Download the Google Translate app to translate languages easily. You can take a picture of text or type it and it translates instantly. You can download the language to use it offline too.
It was extremely helpful when I lived in the Netherlands and got Dutch letters in the post or was trying to find washing powder in the supermarket.
The last of the holiday planning resources is Polarsteps, which is like a travel log that tracks where you travel and you can add photos along the way.
People can follow you on it to keep up to date with your travels. Or you can use it to look back later on after your travels.
I hope you enjoyed these holiday planning tools & resources. Bookmark this page and refer back to it when needed. Send it to your travel lover friends so they don’t miss out either.
Thanks for reading,
That was brilliant Lisa very helpful
Great post – I’ll be making a note of some of these resources for my next trip 🙂