The Ultimate List of Travel Planning Resources
When you take as many trips as we do each year, you’re bound to find a LOT of unique and interesting ways to plan your travels.
So instead of keeping these ideas all locked away in my head, I wanted to put everything down on paper (internet?), so you can find some new ways to travel too!
Full disclosure: we haven’t used the services of every company on this list. Some (like WWOOF’ing or Couchsurfing) just aren’t for us. BUT, since everyone likes to travel differently and is on a different budget, I wanted to make this resource list as comprehensive as possible!
I’ll be adding new travel planning resources as I come across them. If you have any favorites you find super helpful that aren’t on the list, let me know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which may reward us with a small commission if you click them. Thanks for supporting the blog in this way!
Inspiration, Guidebooks & Planning
- Pinterest | My go-to for trip inspiration and blogger recommendations for new destinations. Head to our Pinterest boards to get started with your search!
- Eater | Lists of the best restaurants by city, built by foodies (i.e. much more reliable than those TripAdvisor ratings!)
- Rick Steves Pocket Guides | Still my favorite for no-nonsense guidebooks with easy to follow itineraries and tips. Rick’s pocket guides are the best for tucking away in your carry on.
- Lonely Planet Kids | Awesome kid-friendly guidebooks for school age kids.
- Numbeo | Easily compare the cost of living around the world to find your next budget-friendly holiday.
- Passport Index | A great starting point to learn which countries require visas (or not) to visit, depending on your country of citizenship.
- CDC.gov | Important site to check for vaccine requirements and health concerns by country.
Read More: 6 Awesome Travel Apps to Inspire Your Next Adventure
Travel Gear & Packing
- Babies Getaway | Baby and toddler rental gear, servicing every state in the US except Hawaii and Alaska
- BabyQuip | Another baby/toddler rental gear company covering most of the US and Puerto Rico.
- Skyroam | Portable wi-fi hotspot for internet connection in 110+ countries. Read more about why we love it here.
Related Packing Tips + Gear:
Flying with baby: What to Pack in Your Carry On
What to Pack in a Carry On for a 1 Year Old
Flying with Baby: Essential Travel Gear
Shop Our Travel Favorites!
Deciding on which flight search engine to use is really a matter of preference. We typically research using a search tool, and then book directly through the airline or our travel rewards credit card‘s booking tool.
- Skyscanner | Flexible flight search engine, with options to search by cheapest destination or month.
- Google Flights | Another great flexible flight search tool with built-in alerts. Search to whole regions and get suggested time-frames for the best deals.
- Airfare Watchdog | Cheap flight deals with special alerts for sales from your departure city.
- Southwest Airlines | Not to be overlooked for travel throughout the US and Mexico/Caribbean, especially during their fare sales. Their prices will not appear on the search tools above.
- The Points Guy | Follow for flight deals and important airline-related news.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights | Another good follow for cheap flight deals and error fares.
- Park N’ Fly | Pre-pay for airport parking and save a ton! I seriously just discovered this and don’t know why we haven’t been using it for years!
Read More: How to Fly to Europe for Cheap!
Hotel rates can vary widely, so it’s always worth comparing prices across multiple search engines.
- Booking.com | The most comprehensive search tool for hotels, also including many bed & breakfasts and mom & pop-type accommodations.
- Hotels.com | Easy hotel search tool with a rewards program (book 10 nights, get 1 free!).
- HotelsCombined | Compares all hotel search sites (Booking, Hotels, Agoda) in one place!
- Jetsetter | Sign up for special limited-time deals on luxury and boutique properties.
Read More: 10 Luxury Family Hotels in the US Worth Splurging For
- Airbnb | No secret, our personal favorite for family-friendly accommodations around the world.
- VRBO | Great for cabins, lake homes, beach houses, etc.
- FlipKey | Another option for private rentals. We have yet to try it out, but it’s owned by TripAdvisor, so you know you can trust them.
- Kid & Coe | International portfolio of family-friendly rental homes.
- Clanventure | Family-friendly vacation rentals in the US at a lower price-point than Kid & Coe. Most of the homes come already stocked with baby or toddler-friendly gear.
- Long Term Lettings | Great source for private holiday or monthly rental listings all over the world.
Read More: How to Book the Perfect Airbnb
- Glamping Hub | Unique private rentals, including yurts, campervans, treehouses and more!
- Trusted Housesitters | Exchange your house- or pet-sitting services for a free stay.
- Home Exchange | Connect with families looking to swap their homes with each other for a week or more.
- Love Home Swap | Book either a direct swap with a family, or lend your home out for credit towards a future stay in someone else’s home.
- WWOOF | World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, exchange your help on the farm for a free place to stay. The search tool allows you to find family-friendly opportunities.
- Workaway | Lend your skills (farming, building, teaching) in exchange for free accommodation. A great way to connect with other families abroad.
- Hostelworld | Hostel search tool with results ranked by past visitors. The search tool allows you to find affordable hostels that are suitable for families (family rooms, private bathrooms, etc.)
- Couchsurfing | Affordable stays with local hosts in their own home.
- RoverPass | For the outdoorsy family, an easy way to search and compare RV parks and campgrounds across the US.
- RentalCars.com | Search all car rental companies at once. We’re not loyal to any one company in particular, and usually go with whoever is cheapest (yet still reputable) in our destination.
- Rail Europe | Book single or multi-leg trips across Europe, as well as whole Europe or regional/country passes.
- Eurail | Another option for Europe rail tickets. Prices tend to be higher than RailEurope, but it’s worth checking both sites to get the best deal, especially for multi-country passes.
- FlixBus | For long-distance journeys in Europe where trains don’t connect you as well. Service is no frills, but gets you from A to B cheaply.
- BlaBlaCar | Carpooling app that allows you to “hitchhike” a ride with others traveling long distances. A popular and trusted option in Europe.
- Uber / Lyft | Taxi alternatives we love. Just be sure to check they are legal and operating in the city you’re visiting before you go.
- GroundLink | A one-stop-shop for booking a car service to or from your hotel.
- Family Transfers | Family-friendly transfer service to and from many of Europe’s airports, train stations and ports.
- Rome2Rio | Search tool that tells you the cheapest and fastest way to get from A to B using any combination of transportation options.
- Transit App | Easy to follow, up-to-the-minute public transportation info for 125+ cities worldwide.
- Google Maps | Download region maps before you leave and use the app’s turn-by-turn directions, even if you don’t have an internet connection.
Experiences & Tours
- Airbnb Experiences | Wide-range of bookable travel experiences from city tours, cooking classes, volunteer opportunities, and beyond.
- Viator | One-stop-shop for guided tour bookings.
- Free Tours by Foot | “Name-your-own-price” walking tours available throughout major cities in the US, as well as some international cities.
- Triple | Unique guided tours led by locals in the world’s best cities.
- EatWith | Eat with locals in a new city by booking a seat at a home dinner party, doing a market tour, or challenging yourself to an in-home cooking class.
- Chase | Our favorite travel rewards credit card with built-in travel insurance for trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost baggage and more.
- World Nomads | The most popular option for travel insurance (including medical coverage) abroad. Additional coverage can be added for adventure sports and activities.
- Cover More | Travel insurance with extended coverage options for those with pre-existing health conditions.
What are some of your favorite resources for planning family travel?
Great tips!!!! We also love to search itineraries on Pinterest to organize our trip, choose what to visit and do not waste time! 🙂
Thanks! I’ve had so much better luck with recommendations from REAL people through Pinterest, rather than a guidebook. Bloggers have become my unofficial tour guides. 😀