My style of travel is geared towards long term adventure and photography. Here are various resources and links to apps and websites I personally use to make my travels easier. I might go on a backcountry excursion or a climb a mountain, so my needs might differ from yours. From years of travel I’ve found the best combination of gear and digital apps that fit my needs and I hope you will gain a few insights from it.
I’m not a fan of travel guides, so other than Hitchwiki, I’ll browse LonelyPlanet or TripAdvisor every now and then but I prefer to talk to locals and discover things that aren’t written about in some guidebook. There’s just something about the discovering the unknown that drives me.
My photography gear is geared for adventure. It’s lightweight and solid without sacrificing image quality.
Necessities for the long term adventure traveler.
Finding Cheap Flights
The best flight finder out there in my humble opinion. It uses some of the most sophisticated search algorithm power by Google to find the best flights and deals. The only problem is, you can’t book flights directly from it. You’ll have to get to another flight booking website to do it. Here’s how you do it with Orbitz.
This is what I use to book Google-ITA Matrix flights. Most of the best flight deals I’ve found are from here.
Momondo is another place where I’ve found great flight deals. If Orbitz isn’t working for you, try Momondo.
My go to flight search engine. Very similar to Google-ITA Matrix but it will lead you to purchase the ticket with its partners.
I have this as an app on my Android. It’s intuitive enough. If I don’t have access to a PC and I’m looking for flights I use this app. I’ve actually purchased a couple of airline tickets in South America using it. In my experience, this has given me some of the best deals. Check it out.
Some of the cheapest flights from America to Europe or Europ to Asia are from Norwegian Air. It’s cheap because they get in other ways, they charge per checked-in baggage. But if you travel light and can take your backpack as a carry on you’re set.
Another great airline company that offers cheap flights.
Accommodation is probably the least part of my expenses. I don’t mind sleeping in the car or just a cot on the ground. I couch surf as much as I can. Often times I’ll become friends with other travelers at the places I visit and they’ll end up inviting me to stay at their place. Most of the time, though, I wing it.
I don’t book in advance because I don’t really even know where I’m going in advance. I go with the flow. If I get a suggestion from a local or another traveler about some cool spot they’ve been too, I’m likely to go there on a whim. I’d often go to a town or city and use Hostelworld or Google Maps to find a hostel and see if they have any available beds.
I find myself not couch surfing as much as I used to. It’s still a great alternative to a Hostel but I really prefer to have the freedom to come and go as I please like a 24 hostel offers (most of them are). When I’m with a host, I feel somewhat restricted because I don’t want to be disrespectful when I’m coming back maybe late at night when the host is asleep.
I often use HostelWorld to find deals in hostels but also use as a reference when I’m looking for last minute places to stay. As mentioned, I like to go in location and find a place to stay in myself. HostelWorld is pretty good at finding spots but it’s not always accurate and keeping track of which places has available rooms or beds.
Hotels Combined is the Skyscanner for hotels. Find hotels at the best price without any booking fees.
I use Booking.com to book a place to stay when I know ahead of time where I’d be staying. I’m able to find apartment rentals cheaper than Airbnb. I also use to book hotels up to 30 days, giving me huge savings on accommodations.
Book your hostel and hotel directly on this site with MapPov. It’s easy to use the map interface to find your cheap and affordable accommodation fast. It’s using the same engine as Booking.com.
I’ve had problems with Airbnb in the past. But now that I’m traveling with my GF it’s become easy. I know a lot of travelers advocate AirBnB and for good reason. It’s easy to use but more expensive because they’re geared towards tourists. I recommend instead that you check out local listings and classifieds and make comparisons. You might get a much better deal for the same flat and rentals than you can find at AirBnB.
I don’t’ really like booking buses and trains in advance. There’s a ton of online resources out there for busses and trains. I prefer to just ask the locals where the buses are and where it will take me to. I’ve discovered a lot of locations I’ve never even heard about just by asking. I recommend you do it this way. Just talk to another traveler or a local and see what they recommend or suggest. For me, planning sucks the adventure out of travel.
One of the cheapest ways to travel around Europe. I highly recommend this if you have 30-180 days of traveling overland in Europe. If you split it with a partner or group it’s a lot cheaper than buying a Eurorail pass. It gives you easy access to the European countryside that you’d probably miss just hopping on trains that only stop at major metros. I discovered a lot of off-the-beaten-path locations doing this and it can double up as a place to sleep if you don’t mind car camping. Read More >>
If you’re traveling for less than 30 days in Europe, use this option over Renault. It’s great for getting access to the off-the-beaten path destinations.
If you’re going to be in Japan for a month, this is an awesome deal. It will save you a lot of money hopping from one place to the next. You can only purchase it outside of Japan and it’s only available to foreigners. This is the one instance where planning ahead is very prudent.
Yes, I hitchhike. When I was traveling around in Europe with a car I picked up a lot of hitchhikers. It’s a cheap and fun way to get around places.
A very useful app/website. Gets you from A to B anywhere inland.
I still use Rome2Rio every now and then but GoEuro is one of the fastest travel platforms in Europe! It compares trains, buses and plane prices and timetables all in one place. With this program, we are looking to grow our user base in Europe and as well as the United States and Canada. We are aspiring to become the leading platform for booking European trips.
A tried and true travel insurance company. Don’t forget to read the fine print!
I wish I would have gotten this before my trip to Patagonia. I didn’t have my photography equipment insured and the travel insurance doesn’t really cover the $3,000 Nikon D800e that broke due to a gust of wind.
This is a very useful resource from 1Cover on the importance of getting travel insurance coverage while abroad.
For Techies and Nerds
Amazing tool! This is what I use to plan an impromptu itinerary. I have it on my Android phone. Everywhere I visit I strike up a conversation with the locals or other travelers and punch in the name of the place (I’ve likely never heard of) and then plan my trip accordingly. Read my guide on how to use it, HERE.
For you Apple enthusiast this is it! Your perfect travel companion app. Esplorio automatically maps out your routes, checks you in places and uses your photos to create a travel journal.
A phone service that you can use in over 120 countries around the world! Let’s call over WiFi or use your Google Voice number. Read about my review, HERE.
Forget about Instagram. Aren’t you tired of looking at selfies and somebody’s lunch? Trover is a travel centric app that lets you discover new things. Not as popular as Instagram but it should be. Come join me!
Awesome website for discovering an off-the-beaten-path location! Some of the weirdest and unique facts and places can be found here.
Awesome tool for taking notes and journaling. You can take pictures in lieu of text notes and it Geotags your notes so you know where you wrote it from. Very clever.
No nonsense currency converter. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I don’t work for Google I promise, but this is one cool app. It has a very good editor built in so you can spice up your photos. You can also have it back up your photos directly to their cloud – do this over WiFi so you don’t rack up data usage.
Here’s a secret. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you are entitled to unlimited cloud storage for your photos. Amazon doesn’t advertise this but it’s true. I have the app automatically back up the photos from my phone and I also have a desktop version installed on my laptop to upload my RAW files to the cloud. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
I’ve never had to use this and Prey you never will. It’s a software that lets you track your phone, tablet, or laptop in case it gets stolen.
Turn your smartphone into a full-blown GPS unit! You can download maps from various TOPO sources and for all maps around the world. You can use it without any data connection.
This is how you really geek out. Stellarium Mobile Sky Map is a full blown planetarium for your phone. Point your phone at the sky and the sensor control will help you identify a star in just a few seconds. It’s great for spotting the Milky Way in the sky no matter where you are in the world. If you’re ever in an area where there is low light pollution you can see the galaxy with your naked eye!
Other Useful Resources
- 6 Very Useful Tips For Adventure Travel Photography
- Budget Travel and Things to Do in Norway
- How to Travel the World Cheap
- 10 Ways To Improve Your Smartphone Photos For Instagram
- Directory Of Travel Blogs
Need A Little Inspiration?
Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links. It cost you nothing if you buy anything through those links. It does earn me a small commission to offset some of the costs of running this website. I use all the products mentioned here whether I make any commission or not.