We travel full time, book a lot of travel, and write/research about budget travel. Therefore I literally came up with 75+ websites that I actually and regularly use. This isn’t just about miles and points, but about resources for budget travel and travel in general.
Sure there are other tools that other people will find helpful, but I easily came up with over 75 that I found helpful. Booking websites to phone apps. Here’s what we use/check on a regular basis. Bookmark this page and you’ll never have took bookmark again. 😀
Booking cheap travel
Carpooling website in Europe.
- Carpooling.co.uk or carpooling.com
Carpooling website in Europe.
For searching european discount airliners (especially in Europe) – SkyScanner also has an “Everywhere” feature, and a general country feature. I could type in “United Kingdom” for the departing airport, and “everywhere” in the destination airport, then I can select flexible dates and search for the cheapest flights around.
US and western Europe buses for as low as $1.
Gives suggestions for cheapest flights (google.com/flights kind of does the same thing).
Searches hotels and gives maps of hotels and landmarks so you can pick the best hotel.
For paid miles earning flights, this is the best possible resource for searching flights. Searching specific airlines, connections, multiple airports and ranges of dates and open-jaws. See How to Use ITA Matrix.
For discount flights in Asia.
- Google maps public transit
Discounted car rentals.
Lend a couch, borrow a couch, or meet ups. Haven’t “surfed” in over a year, but when we had a couch we hosted a lot of people.
I use it in two ways. The most common one is checking flights I booked on OTA’s… by which I mean mistake fares. And sometimes I use it to find the “fare basis code” which you need to know for earning miles a lot of the times. Read about Booking Class Codes here.
Referrals where you earn too
- Uber – get $30
- To get a free 10€ for Uber in Europe, copy this link, and paste it in 4proxy.de
- Rocketmiles (only used for first use bonus and if you’ve never heard of Airbnb)
- Dropbox – get 500mb
Store things in the cloud and get them on any computer with just a link. Comes in handy all the time.
General planning and savings
To keep track of flights.
- Charles Schwab
Free checking, free atm withdraws anywhere.
- Visahq.com (for quick reference of visa requirements) or travel.state.gov (when more info is needed).
- cashbackmonitor.com or evreward.com
- Searches multiple cashback sites (some give signup bonuses):
Shows the pros and cons when picking your airplane seat and also is good for checking which flight will have outlets.
I am very methodical about putting a hotel in to the calendar as soon as I book and taking it out when I cancel.
I don’t actually use tripit because I cancel way too much and it gets confused, but it automates a lot of my calendar and alert systems.
- Rome2Rio.com (I don’t often think to use this)
Shows bus and train routes around the world. Also raildude.com and seat61.com are supposed to be good resources for this too.
Free proxy credit scores.
Free proxy credit scores.
Miles and points stuff
Spreadsheets are key to keeping track of miles earning credit cards, when you got em and when you canceled. Trust me, keep track of this stuff.
- Frequent Miler’s Lab
Experiments on cashback portals.
- Saverocity forums
- Flyertalk forums
While the atmosphere is way more combative at flyertalk, it is the biggest travel forum in the world.
List of all miles and points promotions.
- Complete Maps
Map of IHG, map of SPG, map of Marriott, map of Club Carlson, map of Hyatt, map of Hilton cat 1 & 2
- IHG missing points form
If you deal with the incompetent IHG long enough, you’ll have a paid stay show up as “non-qualifying”. Used it twice on Carrie’s account this month. Still missing.
Calculates miles flown for earning, or burning with distance based award charts.
- One World Route Map
- Star Alliance Route Map
I need to give proper shout out to AwardMapper. The guys much smarter than me and beat me to the all-in-one version of the complete map set up.
- Hotel Hustle
This tool has taken the hotel map thing one step further and shows not only award price but award availability for hotels. This just launched today actually.
- Complete Guide of Best Rate Guarantees
Has a list of Best Rate Guarantees and claim forms.
- Master List to Avoiding Fuel Surcharges
- List of Airline Stopover Rules
- “Cheapest miles to” series
Cheapest miles to Europe, cheapest miles to Hawaii.
- Complete Guides
These walk you through different programs from earning to burning:
- FAQ: What Cards Transfer and Who do they Transfer To
Lists all the Amex, Citi, SPG, and Chase transfers AND what cards allow you to transfer.
Miles/points offers worth checking:
- Club Carlson 2-4-1 link
Gives two for one rate (or 4 for 2) for weekends in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Read more about 2 for 1, 4 for 2, and other ways to get free Club Carlson nights here.
- Flying Blue 50% Promo Awards
- Miles-And-More’s MileagBargains
50% awards (great for intra Europe flights)
- IHG’s PointBreaks
IHG hotels for 5,000 points a night, read more: IHG PointBreaks.
- Amex Sync
(Apparently offersbot.io automatically enrolls you in Amex offers, but I have not personally used this because it just launched today. Anyone wanna check it out for me?)
- Amex “offers for you” (you just have to log in).
Even though we have an old iPhone with no phone plan, we can use GPS and maps anywhere. Just download the map for your country real quick.
We just downloaded this. It translates words, signs, etc via your phone camera.
- Uber: My sign up link (+ google voice)
- Google Hangouts/Voice
Free calls and texts on wifi.
Free outgoing calls and texts on wifi.
Free calls on wifi.
Free texts on wifi.
Searching for award flights:
- Search for Star Alliance awards: United.com, Aeroplan, ANA
- Search for OneWorld awards: British Airways, Qantas, ExpertFlyer
- Search for SkyTeam awards: ExpertFlyer, Flying Blue?, Delta?
Physical things to travel with
- International outlet adapter (we use this all-in-one)
- Monster To Go power strip (choose between 4 outlets, and 3 outlets and 1 usb)
This is a beautiful thing. We have one power converter that goes from most outlets to an american outlet. Then with a short chord it goes to 4 outlets.
- My Passport Ultra 2TB
You need a harddrive that’s not only small, but self powered. So this is the best bang for the buck in all kinds of ways… it’s 2 terabytes.
- GoPro Hero 3+ Black (the best video camera for travelers).
- FreedomPop Mobile Hotpot
Once you buy, it’s $0 a month if you stay under 500mb of data. Bus rides, cars, airports… there are so many times this comes in handy. It needs Sprint wimax (4g).
- FreedomPop Phone
Same thing, 500 text/month, 200 minutes of talk/month, and 500mb data/month and it’s completely free. It needs Sprint wimax (4g).
Truth be told, mine just got lost/stolen. So now do we get another one, go without or add to tmobile?
- T-Mobile Unlimited Data and Text in 120+ Countries
Tmobile gives unlimited data and text internationally, and you can use google voice to do unlimited calls internationally. It’s $50 a month but the family plans are very reasonable. So if you can find a family to tack onto, another plan is only $10 more. Also, if you use the refer a friend (go back and use my name in the refer a friend link (Drew Macomber)), you get the unlimited plan.
My goal was to add 100 resources, however, this is all I could think of going through my history. Any other suggestions? What should I be using? Obviously I know about expertflyer, KVS and other premium tools. I have no interest. But what are some others? Particularly free tools you think I’ll enjoy.