Travel Resources

Everything you need for planning, booking, packing, and preparing for all adventures [great and small]
Welcome to the Luxury Backpack Travel Resources Guide; an essential list of websites, tools, and tips for every stage of trip planning. These are the resources that I personally use and recommend. This page is updated regularly, with new resources being added as I come across them. Please note that some of these links might be affiliate links.

PRE-TRIP PLANNING

When choosing a destination, I prefer to see things visually. I refer to Pinterest, Instagram, and other blogs for this. The planning tools I use (for trip planning and for this blog) are Google docs – Excel and Word, and Evernote. Both are easily accessible via their apps and on any desktop. My favourite tool for planning is my Bullet Journal. Seriously, I don’t know how I managed with any planner before! You can jump into a new journal at any time of year too. I love the dotted pages version.

FLIGHTS

When it comes to booking flights there are so many sites! If I don’t have a itinerary or destination in mind, I usually look directly on the airlines site for any promotions they have. Otherwise, I always use Skyscanner.com and price alerts. 
Of all the flight price comparison websites, Skyscanner has always been my favourite. It is easy to use, and seems to always bring up the cheapest fares over its competitors. As well as this, it has a unique search filter which allows you to search for the best deals to various destinations – perfect for booking a trip where your dates are fixed but your destination isn’t!
This is the best invention ever for frequent traveller like me who are slightly on the disorganised side! Points.com basically tracks all of your air miles across every airline and allows you to manage them in one place. How it works: You have a ‘wallet’ where your air miles are stored, and you can switch them between programs, allowing you to use them together. So handy!
Often it pays to skip the price comparison websites and head directly to the airline. Virgin’s hotel + flight combos come up with some really great deals. Plus, they have a great feature which is the bid for an upgrade option. Off on your honeymoon, girls getaway, or special trip? Make it extra special by naming your price for being upgraded to first class. Win the bid, get the upgrade!
If you love to experience the best, or just get fed up with so many bad experiences when flying, this airline should be your go-to. Voted the best airline by over 70,000 readers at last years Telegraph Travel Awards, and mentioned specifically for their economy cabins, Emirates is the gold seal of flying comfortably and in style. Try it next time you travel and let me know if you have been converted too!
Known for being a package holiday operator (see ‘package holidays’ section below) TUI – formerly Thomson – also offer flight only deals to all of their holiday destinations. On my recent trip to Mexico, I found them to be by far the cheapest AND most direct. But on top of this, they were fantastic, too. The cabins were clean and spacious, food was great, and the cabin crew were the most pleasant I’ve come across in a long time.
Always search in an incognito window on your browser. Noticed how if you search for a flight the next day the price is hiked up? That’s because the websites store your info. Simply go to File in your browser > New Incognito Window/Private Window. Seat Guru is a really useful website that helps you choose the best seat and gives you tips and guides to amenities, meals, etc. on your flight. It is worth checking out once you have booked your flight!

accomModation

Booking flights can be stressful, but I always find the accommodation part of trip planning to be the fun bit! I love browsing the below websites and trying to find the perfect place to stay. The only hard part? Choosing between an AirBnB, boutique hotel, resort, or hostel!
My go-to website for booking accommodation. I find it the most user-friendly of all the comparison websites, and it always comes through with the best deal. It is the next best thing to booking directly, and I love that it shows me hotels that I would never have found otherwise. We recently found an absolute gem in Puerto Vallarta – one which I will go back to and recommend for years to come.
I LOVE airbnb. I have only ever had very good experiences. Sometimes it is cheaper (and better) to book a hotel, but more often than not airbnb will give you incredible deals and wonderful unique properties that add a major fun factor to your travels. Highlights for me have included a kitsch apartment in the heart of a French town, and a boho apartment in Miami’s coolest neighbourhood! First time users use this link for £25 off your first stay!
Priceline has a unique feature which is worth mentioning it for: It allows you to essentially bid for hotel rooms and rental cars via its ‘name your own price’ feature. The one catch is you don’t know which hotel accepts your bid until your booking has gone through. I tried this for a hotel in Milan and it was a fun process (with good results). Need some help? Websites such as biddingtraveler.com give handy tips to help you get the best deal.
Some travellers swear by it, others are dubious, and some haven’t even heard of it. But the truth is, if you are a solo traveller looking for a cheap crash pad or an immersive experience, Couchsurfing is a great way to travel. With 12 million users, it is essentially a low-key airbnb for budget travellers. Hosts are vetted and reviewed, and it allows you to meet like-minded people whilst getting to know a destination through a locals eyes.
As a long term lover of hostels, I will always plug them to solo travellers looking to meet people. I’ve had so many memorable experiences in hostels, and have met lifelong friends. In fact, I can’t imagine travelling solo and not staying in hostels – what a lonely ride that would be! Like hotels, there are so many differing degrees of hostels, and the best ones have pools, bars, and fabulous unique features. The only difference is, they are all budget friendly!
Secret Escapes is a website dedicated to providing luxury travel without luxury prices. Think of it as Groupon for luxury travel! They offer deals for luxury hotels, and you can even book whole holiday packages too, if you are looking for an easy trip to somewhere fabulous. Categories include spa breaks under £200, luxury afternoon teas, Northern Lights packages, country breaks under £99, and family travel. Get £15 off your first stay by clicking this link!

Package Holidays

Sometimes we just want to jet off into the sunshine and lie by the pool for a week. As much as travel and exploration is wonderful, it is necessary for our mental health to just switch off now and then. Planning a holiday like this can be just as easy as the trip itself when using a company that does it all for you, including flying you there. 

My experience flying with TUI recently was such a good one that I am confident in recommending them as a package holiday company. Take the stress out of your vacation, and let them fly you away somewhere exotic!
Virgin seem to do everything well: trains, planes, festivals, and holidays too! If you are looking for a luxury getaway with everything included, try Virgin Holidays an let them take the stress out of holiday planning.

getting around

CITYPASS
TRIP ADVISOR
In a destination, I use Google Maps to get around and Trip Advisor for quick reviews and to find restaurants near me.

If you are looking to buy tickets for certain activities in a city, CityPass is a great way to bulk buy and unlock lots of activities in a destination for a great price. Really worth it if you intend to do a lot in short space of time, or are travelling with kids.

PACKING & TRAVEL PREP

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