With a seemingly endless numbers of travel booking tools online, booking trips has never been easier.
That said, the sheer number of travel booking tools, each offering different features and shouting for your attention, can become a little bit overwhelming.
We like to keep things simple. We stick to a small set of tools, each specialising in a particularly element of the travel booking process. In this post, we introduce you to our travel booking toolkit.
At A Glance
Use this table of contents to jump ahead to the sections that interest you most.
Flight Booking Tools
Booking flights is notoriously tricky, with constantly fluctuating prices, limited-time sales and cookies causing havoc. Here are the flight booking tools we use to track down those illusive bargains.
Skyscanner is one of our favourite travel booking tools. When we’re looking for flights, our search starts at Skyscanner. We really like the simple, uncluttered interface and how easy it is to use. We also particularly like its strength in finding budget flights and the awesome calendar feature that makes it really easy to find the cheapest time to fly.
A third flights search engine that we’re beginning to use increasingly is Google Flights. Google’s interface is crisp and white and almost completely distraction-free. The option to track flights and receive price alerts is very handy as is the ability to go back and pick up from where you left off without having to save anything.
Jack’s Flight Club
When we’re feeling spontaneous or unsure as to where our next destinations will be, we rely on Jack’s Flight Club. Jack and his team scour the web for flight deals, then send them out to you via email or an app. There’s a free tier where you get sent 1-2 deals a week, or you can pay a small annual fee to get all the deals sent to you. Most of the deals are surprisingly cheap and you will almost certainly make your money back in savings should you book anything. It’s well worth subscribing!
Accommodation Booking Tools
We like to keep things simple when it comes to accommodation, almost exclusively staying with Airbnb. There are however some occasions where we stay in hotels and we’ve included some of the tools we’ve use to find rooms below.
Nine times out of ten, we stay in an Airbnb. Not only does this consistently work out to be the best value (in terms of price, space & convenience), but it also offers the best experience when visiting new places. How better to immerse yourself into the culture of a new country than by living how the locals live. While we have some reservations about Airbnb’s influence on rent prices around the world, we try our best to find places that are privately owned and places that are lived in to lessen our impact.
For hotels, we like booking with Booking.com. We really like how user friendly the interface is and how easy it is to find and book great value rooms. We also like the savings and perks we stumble across now and then as a result of us being Booking.com Geniuses. We tend to make good use of the free cancellation offered on some rooms, giving us the greatest flexibility when it comes to fine tuning our final booking.
Now and again, we’ll use Google Hotels to ensure we’re getting the best deal on an existing booking. Similarly to Google Flights, the interface is clear, precise and without unnecessary clutter. If only all travel booking tools were as clean as tidy as this.
Tripadvisor is handy for two reasons.
The first reason is that it has a decent price comparison engine for comparing hotel room rates.
The second (and probably main) reason though is it’s HUGE database of reviews. Like everyone, we have our requirements when it comes to hotel rooms and we use Tripadvisor reviews to ensure our shortlist has everything we need.
Booking Tools for Transfers (Busses, Trains, etc.)
When it comes to booking busses and trains, it is often best using websites and apps provided by transport operators themselves. Using this method, you’re more likely to get the best rate. Occasionally however, we use other services like those listed below.
When it comes to booking trains (and to a lesser extent, busses), Trainline leads the way.
Its mix of useful tools and great design makes finding fares and booking tickets really easy. What we like in particular is that Trainline is constantly expanding its reach, covering more and more countries and regions, meaning greater scope for cross-border travel and less-stressful connections.
Busbud is a new travel booking tool to us, and therefore not one we've used extensively yet. We like what we see though and will be trying to use them more.
Busbud has partnered with transport providers all over the world, even in remote spots. Similarly to Trainline, they have ambitions for global expansion, so they're certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Which travel booking tools do you use?
We hope you've found this list of travel booking tools useful. Let us know which tools you use in the comment box below.