Quito Bus

Whether it’s a daytrip or an extended backpack around the world, travel is the drug that keeps me coming back for more.  There are so many websites that cater to the travel junkie, from niche to mass appeal, and from the average Joe, to the rich and idiosyncratic – that I’ll just stick to what I like best for a traveler like me – that is, one who likes adventure, the unexpected (good or bad) and the journey.  I find travel best experienced with the journey in mind, not the destination.  Go it alone, as I’ve done happily many times, or pick a good companion, one that can smile when all around you has gone to hell.  Mark Twain put it best when he said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  Go forth, conquer or be conquered; anything you learn during travel seems to stick all the better and even those that are thick or jaded seem to benefit.

Here are some ideas to get you started – search the Forum / Blog for more

Price Comparison for Air / Bus / Train around Europe – GoEuro

Megabus.com / Megatrain.com – Low cost inter-city travel around Europe

Air:

Kayak – Best site for routing, pricing and now sales

Skyscanner – another favorite for routing, pricing and booking (flights / hotel / car hire)

WhichAirline – finds very cheap connections (sometimes inconvenient) to get you the cheapest fare in Europe

Ryan Air – Cheap flights in and around Europe

Easy Jet – Cheap flights (and hotels) in and around Europe

Wizz Air – Cheap flights from Luton (London) to Eastern Europe

Euroflights – Offers a comprehensive listing of all the discount air carriers in Europe

Train / Ferry / Auto / Bus:

Busradar – lets you search long distance and intercity bus fares throughout Europe and get the best price. (Nifty addition – it will also let you see the price and time for the cheapest flight and you can book directly either bus or flight)

The Man in Seat 61 – Guide to rail / ferry journeys around Europe and beyond for serious “railfans”

Zimride – Share or advertise a ride in a car (US based / fee applies)

Liftshare – Share or advertise a ride in a car (UK based / fee applies)

Bla Bla Car – Share or advertise a ride in a car in France / Europe (France based / French language skills helpful)

Car Pooling Network – Share or advertise a ride in a car in Canada / USA (Canada based)

Responsible Tourism:

Leap Local – Recommends local guides to travelers helping local communities benefit from tourism (good Karma!)

Stuff Your Rucksack – this is a great website to find out what you can pack to bring to communities in need as you visit developing countries.  Before you head out on your trip, look here and find a worthy project to bring supplies (very good Karma!)

Last Minute:

WOTIF– Last minute hotels, holiday stays, flights – best for outside US

Accommodation:

Airbnb – Rent a house, couch or apartment from locals worldwide – see my Airbnb review

9 Flats – Hotel alternatives worldwide

Couch Surfing – Share your couch or stay on someone’s couch for free around the world

Be Welcome – a not for profit hospitality exchange similar to Couchsurfing

Hostelz – world’s largest hostel database, shows ratings, reviews and prices

Tour Operators:

Green Tortoise Adventure Travel – sort of a “hippie” vibe travel company (US, Central America & Mexico), only for those with a high tolerance for going with the flow and small budgets – also has Seattle & San Francisco hostels – I highly recommend

Intrepid Travel – worldwide tours from low budget to moderate budget (worldwide) – also for go with the flow types

Travel Planning Tools:

Wanderlust Magazine Trip Finder Tool – from one of my favorite travel magazines (based in the UK) a way to find your perfect adventure.

Gogobot – this travel planning tool finds suggestions for you by tapping into your social media contacts (or trusted travelers if you don’t want to supply contacts).  It also includes tools to help you build a working itinerary that you can adjust as you go

AFAR – An interactive extension of the travel magazine with the same name, this social networking site offers personalized recommendations from travelers, locals who share your interests, and editors and writers at Afar

Travel Insurance – here’s a site that will compare all the major travel insurance providers in the USA

For Travel Dreaming:

Lonely Planet

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK based)

National Geographic Traveler

The Africa Overland Network – some amazing overland journeys that will make you want to sell everything, buy a Land Rover and spend months exploring one of the last dangerous, fascinating and untamed continents (also includes personal overland accounts from all over the world too)

 

 

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