100+ Incredible Travel Resources (For Simple & Cheap Travel)

A man looking at travel resources on the internet before booking his trip.

Here are some of my favourite travel resources that I have used to book and plan adventures across the world.

I have collected them over many years of travelling and running this website.

To say I’m organised would be the understatement of the decade…

…In fact, my wife describes me as organised ‘to the point of irritation’!

Well, one person’s fault is another’s strength and hopefully, you’ll find my collating and organising skills beneficial to you today.

On this page is a list of travel resources I have used over the years to plan and book my travels. I also include lists of my favourite travel books and gear along with the key tools I’ve used to build this site.

So here are my favourite travel resources….


Travel Planning Resources

Sabbatical Planning

Choosing Destinations and Travel Planning

Below is the list of tools and resources I use for planning trips. Once I’ve decided on a destination I use a selection of the resources below to decide what I want to see while I’m there.

[BOOK] Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist: The 500 Best Places on the Planet…Ranked
If you haven’t actually decided where to go then this book should provide you with some inspiration. Voted on by Lonely Planet’s network of authors they have ranked the 500 best places to visit on the planet.

[WEBSITE] WikiTravel.org
A ‘wiki’ is a site contributed to by its members. WikiTravel is an incredible resource for travellers, with country guides and advice on everything from safety to packing. It is one of my first stop-offs when planning a trip as the regularly updated user content means it is often more accurate than any guidebook.

[WEBSITE] AtlasObscura.com
The website of obscure and curious travel destinations. I always have a look at their guides to find interesting and unusual places when planning a trip.

[FORUM] Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum
I’m sure you’ve heard of or used Lonely Planet guides at some point on your travels. The Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forums are the perfect place to build on that knowledge, with sub-forums for regions, countries and specific topics such as health and child-friendly travel.

[WEBSITE] Tripadvisor.co.uk
A review site that features things to do alongside hotels and restaurants. Helps when choosing destinations as it ranks the best places in an area as reviewed by other travellers.

[WEBSITE] TravellersPoint.com
Travel community with incredible country and city guides that go into lots of detail (click on ‘Community Travel Guide’ in the menu).

[FORUM] r/travel subreddit
If you haven’t used reddit before then you’re missing out. It is like the world’s biggest forum with subreddits for every subject imaginable. The r/travel subreddit is really useful when planning a trip. Use it to ask specific questions to help you, or delve into their FAQ for travel guides and useful trip planning information.

[WEBSITE] TravelFish.org
Southeast Asia is a popular choice for travellers. If you are researching a trip then look no further than TravelFish.org. This is the most comprehensive guide to travelling in Southeast Asia on the internet with country-by-country guides and template itineraries.

[ARTICLE] How To Use Travel Blogs To Plan Your Trip
I use travel blogs to help me plan my trips as I find their up-to-date and first-hand guides to often be more useful than travel books. This detailed post covers ways to hack Google to find exactly the posts you are looking for as well as other methods to get the most out of travel blogs to help you plan your travels.


Route Planning

For longer trips, it’s not enough to just choose a list of places to visit, you’re going to need to build a route to work out where everything is and the best way to fit it all in. I build a custom Google map to help me do this and the other resources below to help me find the best routes.

[WEBSITE] Google Maps
I always build a Google Map before I travel to help me plot out the big attractions I want to visit. Even on smaller trips such as city breaks, it is a really useful way to plan out your trip. If you’ve never built a custom Google Map before check out my video here which will help you.

[WEBSITE] Rome2Rio.com
If you’re wondering what the best way is to get from one destination to another Rome2Rio has got you covered. Comparing rail, road, bus, plane and boat all in one place to help you make a quick decision.


Travel Booking Resources

a woman using travel booking resources to plan her next trip on an Apple Mac computer surrounded by photos and maps
Photo Credit seb_ra

[WEBSITE/APP] TripIt.com
An app that builds a master itinerary from you forwarding on you confirmation emails from flights, hire cars and hotels.


Finding Cheap Flights

Flights are often the most expensive part of a trip, so taking the time to find a great deal is key. I use a combination of the resources below to find the best deals.

[ARTICLE] How To Find Cheap Flights to Anywhere
An incredibly useful 9 point guide that I dig out before booking any flights.

[WEBSITE] Skyscanner or Agoda
I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets. 

[WEBSITE] Jack’s Flight Club
If you are in the UK I would also highly recommend signing up for Jack’s Flight Club to get incredible flight deals sent to your email inbox every week.

[WEBSITE] SeatGuru.com
I also find SeatGuru.com very useful for finding the best seats on a plane for maximum comfort.

[ARTICLE] Airline Carbon Offset: Best Providers and Tips
The best way to reduce the environmental impact of flying is to either not fly at all, or try to travel by land. If this is not possible, then I’ve found this article really useful in working out the best way to offset the emissions.


Accommodation

Finding safe and clean accommodation is easier than ever thanks to hundreds of services on the internet. I generally use the big providers and have become really comfortable in recent years with booking accommodation whilst on the road, giving me more flexibility with my route.

[WEBSITE] Booking.com
When booking accommodation I generally start with Booking.com as they generally have the best range and prices. I also like the free cancellation option that a number of properties offer which gives me more flexibility when travelling.

[WEBSITE] Airbnb
I also regularly use Airbnb for longer stays and apartments in cities (use this link for £25 off your first stay). If Booking.com doesn’t come up trumps or I’m looking for a bigger apartment this is where I do next.

[WEBSITE] Housecarers
For a different experience try signing up to Housecarers for free house-sitting opportunities (get 10% off membership with this link). House-sitting can offer some unique experiences, looking after people’s homes and pets in exchange for free accommodation. You need to be a bit more flexible with your plans to house sit but it can prove to be an incredibly cost-effective option that allows you to get to know an area as if you lived there.


Travel Insurance

Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance.

[WEBSITE] World Nomads
I’ve used World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.


Tours Using Local Guides

Using local guides is one of my favourite travel tips. Getting insight from somebody who knows the area or landmark is better than any guidebook in my opinion. Finding someone you trust can be difficult so I have regularly used the two resources below to help me.

You can also use these sites to ‘skip the line’ at famous destinations. For example we saved ourselves probably an hour of queieing to get in to the Vatican Museums by booking a pass in advance (at no extra cost!).

[WEBSITE] Get Your Guide
The easiest way to find a local guide is to use Get Your Guide who offer tours with local guides all over the world. All of the tours have reviews and clear pricing so you won’t get caught out.

[WEBSITE] Viator
Get Your Guide doesn’t have tours in every destination so when this happens I use Viator in exactly the same way.


Finding Airport Transfers in Foreign Countries

Finding a reliable taxi firm can be difficult in some countries and expesnive in others (and sometimes both!). I like to pre-book my airport transfers in advance to guarantee the best price and my own safety.

[WEBSITE] JayRide.com
I have used JayRide.com in many countries. Their prices often beat the local taxis and I’ve found them to be reliable and easy to use.


Visas

Trying to figure out visa requirements can be tricky, especially if you’re travelling through multiple countries on a trip. Thankfully there are ways to make it simple.

[WEBSITE] VisaHQ.co.uk
This is my favourite resource for finding visa requirements because it is so simple! Just put in your country of citizenship and then the place you’re going and it will give you everything you need, including where to apply.


Sabbatical Resources


Sabbatical Companies

Taking a sabbatical is an excellent way to experience the world, spend time with your family or learn a new skill. This website is designed to help people finance, plan and book the perfect sabbatical and the sabbatical companies below are specialists in unique sabbaticals to suit every type of interest.

For more sabbatical ideas check out the ‘Sabbatical Inspiration‘ page on this site.


Sabbatical Websites and Blogs

There are some fantastic websites and blogs on the subject of sabbatical and career breaks (besides this one of course!). Here are some of my favourite:


‘On The Road’ Resources


Travelling Safely & Staying Healthy

Travelling can be hazardous – different foods, different cultures and different laws all add to the complexity of navigating the globe. With a bit of research you can mitigate some of the risks and find ways to stay both out of trouble and healthy when on the road.

[WEBSITE] UK Government Foreign Travel Advice
Country by country advice on crime, terrorism, political unrest, health and even landmines! If you are wanting up-to-date information on entry requirements and safety this is the best place to come. Most governments have an equivalent site with their latest guidelines.

[RESOURCE LIST] KevinCoffey.com
Over 130 pages of travel safety tips covering everything from surviving a plane crash to avoiding pickpockets. The ultimate travel safety resource on the internet.

[BLOG] ComeBackAlive.com
Robert Young Pelton provides insight and advice about the most dangerous places on earth whilst providing practical information for would-be travellers.

[WEBSITE] BeTravelWise.com
A website filled with resources, online training and videos to help you stay safe whilst travelling.

[WEBSITE] TripPrep.com
Really useful site for seeing vaccination requirements by country.

[BOOK/APP] Convict Conditioning: How to Bust Free of all Weakness
If you’re a gym-goer, staying fit whilst on the road can be hard. A great way to build exercise into your day is using callisthenics or bodyweight training. The best book I have found on this is Convict Conditioning, written by an ex-inmate Paul Wade it teaches you how to build up your body gradually over 6 key exercises. It is also backed up by a simple but useful tracking app.

[BOOK] Shitting Pretty: How to Stay Clean and Healthy While Travelling
We all have anecdotes of the times we have been under-the-weather whilst travelling. Shitting Pretty tries to help us minimise the chance for future stories. A humorous and informative book, that gives advice on how to stay healthy on the move when you don’t have access to the modern-day amenities you’re used to at home.


Useful Travel Apps

Phones have revolutionized the way we travel, packing multiple tools into our pocket which help us stay safe, communicate with others and find the way forward. Here are some of my favourite apps which I use while travelling.

[APP] Calm
Meditation has become a really important part of my life as I’ve got older. It has helped me reduce my anxiety, slow down and live in the present moment. I find it especially useful when travelling, allowing me to not get caught up in the frustrating and hectic nature of travel, and enjoy the world around me for what it is. I tried out a few apps but have settled on Calm for the great introduction to meditation and simple 10-20 minute sessions which I use to start the day.

[APP] GlobeConvert
My favourite currency conversion app, fast, big buttons and updates when on WiFi.

[APP] Maps.me
This mapping and navigation app is perfect for countries where you want to save data. Maps are downloadable and easy to add your own points of interest too, which is perfect for navigation without turning on data roaming.

[WEBSITE/APP] Google Translate
Google Translate is the best way I’ve found to get quick translations on the move. You can download language packs for use offline and there is even an incredible live converter for some languages which allows you to use the camera to quickly translate text.

[APP] NordVPN
Using a VPN is vital to protect yourself from hackers when on public WiFi. I have recently switched to using NordVPN on my phone and Mac which allows me to set up a fast connection and also watch programs from back home that would previously have been blocked.


My Favourite Travel Gear

I have big lists of favourite travel gear across this site, so am just going to pick out the highlights here, and then link out to other articles if you want to read more.

Here is the full list of gear posts:

Clothing

Nike Free Runs
My favourite trainers for travel. They pack down really small, are comfortable, supportive enough for hikes and also (in plain black) are fairly smart.

Reef HT, Men’s Flip Flop
The most grippy and long-lasting flip-flops I have found so far.

Under Armour Charged Lock-Up
My favourite t-shirts for travel. Come in a range of colours with only a small logo and dry incredibly quickly. Can be layered for extra warmth.

Kathmandu Men’s Federate Trousers
The only travel trousers I have found so far that look fairly stylish! They are a skinny cut which makes them look like chinos but have multiple pockets and are made of a material which dries really fast.

Under Armour Boxerjocks
The only boxer shorts I buy now! No chafing here!

Socks
A mix of Altura Coolmax (thin) | Altura Thermolite (thick) | Bridgedale (liner socks, very thin).

Packing

Osprey Farpoint 70 Rucksack
I’m not the first to recommend this and won’t be the last. Hard-wearing, with a full zip opener which makes packing it more like a suitcase than a rucksack. Also comes with a detachable day-pack which is useful for hand luggage.

PRO Packing Cubes
If you have not used packing cubes you are missing out. They make sorting a bag out extremely easy, meaning you only grab what you actually need. They do this without adding much weight, a real time-saver.

Karrimor Drybag 25l
I have found having a drybag an essential part of my kit. From diving to monsoon season they are a must-have to protect expensive equipment.

H&S Hanging Washbag
A hanging washbag will change your life. Ok, not quite but they are really bloody useful, especially when camping or in small hostels where there are no surfaces.

Gadgets and Accessories

ECOdept Microfibre Travel Towel
Travel towels are awesome! Small to pack and quick-drying (I feel like I’ve said this about a lot of kit, but they are essential traits when travelling!) I never travel without one.

Waterproof Sealable iPhone Case with Strap
Handy both for keeping your phone safe but also hanging it around your neck under clothes so it can’t get stolen.

Leatherman Wave LT650 Pocket Tool
My favourite travel knife, I’ve had mine over 10 years. Folds down really small and has useful tools such as scissors and a screwdriver which come in incredibly handy (as does the bottle opener!).

Anker Powercore 20100 High Capacity Power Bank
Perfect for when you can’t plug a device in, I usually travel with two or three power banks of different capacities and have found Anker to be the most reliable.


My Favourite Travel Books

I love to read and travel gives me a chance to do so. When I’m not travelling I also love to read about travel, I think the common phrase is ‘wanderlust’!. Here are some of my favourite travel books and you can find more on my regularly updated ‘reading list‘.

The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia (Paul Theroux)
Paul Theroux has written so many fantastic books, I would happily have put most on this list. The way he captures human interaction brings his stories to life in a way no-one else I’ve read can manage and turns his travel adventures into amazing stories.

Down Under: Notes from a Sunburned Country (Bill Bryson)
Another hard choice, as I have not read a bad book by Bill Bryson, but this is my favourite. He has a unique talent for cramming a book with facts, and combining that with hilarious stories of his travels. If I can ever write half as well as him I’ll be pretty pleased.

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere (Tim Ferriss)
The first book that made me seriously think about my work/life balance and how little of the world I’d seen. The phrase ‘mini-retirements’ was the basis for this website. 

Vagabonding (Rolf Potts)
The pragmatic guide to extended travel. This book covers all bases, and is a perfect way to start planning a big trip.


Travel Blogging Resources

A woman on a plane with the window in the background. She is writing on her MacBook laptop.

It’s taken me a lot of research and many years to build up this website to where it is today.

If you are a blogger and want to use some of the same tools then below are some of my favourites.

I have not included everything below. If you want to learn more about the tools I use, or need any advice about your own website then please send me an email to ben@thesabbaticalguide.com.


Website Tools

It can be intimidating choosing tools when building your website as there are now hundreds available. Below are the ones I’ve settled on, after over five years of blogging and five different sites.

[THEME] Astra Pro
I searched for a long time for the right theme for this blog. I wanted something fast, easy to use but also heavily customisable so I could add my own stamp to it. I had a number of other travel bloggers plus a website speed specialist recommend Astra Pro so I decided to switch.

It was a great decision which I feel has increased traffic to the site thanks to increased speed and has allowed me to get the site looking really sharp (I hope you agree!). I highly suggest upgrading to the ‘pro’ version. The additional features and options (for example, easily changing fonts, colours and heading settings which aren’t available in the standard version) really make it worthwhile.

[PAGEBUILDER] Beaver Page Builder
For one-off pages, I needed a page builder to help me reach my vision for the site. I settled on Beaver Builder and have found it intuitive to use. Check out the homepage for an example of a page built with Beaver Builder.

[FORMS] Thrive Leads
I have an email list which tops 1,000 and all of these have been gained using forms from Thrive Leads. The reason chose Thrive Leads over other form creators is that it is built into the back end of wordpress. Once you create a form it is right there and inserted using a shortcode. You can also use all the media which is already uploaded to the site which I find really useful.

[SERVER] Seravo
I switched my hosting to Seravo as they got great results on Backlinko’s ‘Site Speed Study’. There are a small hosting company based in Finland but I have found their personal customer service and overall speed of server to be fantastic.

[MAILING LIST] Mailerlite
Many bloggers use Mailchimp but left and decided to go with Mailerlite. Why? They are cheap (I still use the free plan!) and sending emails is incredibly simple. I prefer to send standard text emails rather than fancy templates and their interface makes this a breeze.


Best Travel Blogging Resources

Again, there are a number of different places to learn about blogging, but knowing who to trust can be difficult. Below are the resources which I have found consistently deliver useful information that has helped me move the website forward.

[COURSE] Superstar Travel Blogging
If you want to learn about travel blogging, where better than the number one travel blogger in the world, Nomadic Matt? The course is fantastic and regularly gets updated with new material. There is also a weekly email that covers new resources which are always thought-provoking. As part of the course fee access is granted to a private Facebook group, from which I’ve learned a lot about blogging from like-minded bloggers.

[FACEBOOK GROUP] Make Traffic Happen
This Facebook group is full of travel bloggers and is a great place to learn. It is well moderated, so most of the crap is removed leaving space for useful conversations and sharing of new tools and resources.

[BLOG] Fat Stacks
I’ve only come across this blog recently but it has quickly become my go-to place for blogging information. Jon Dykstra is an experienced blogger with 7 websites which earn him over $60,000 a month. The site is crammed full of factual real-life examples and comprehensive tips which I have used to great success on my own site. He regularly promotes mini-courses which give you more information. These are quite cheap (generally less than $100) but are a great deep-dive into an element of blogging. For the price, you also get access to his private forum which is a wealth of information.

[YOUTUBE CHANNEL] Income School
Ricky and Jim release brilliant Youtube videos which have really got me thinking differently about blogging and how I use my time. They make blogging a lot simpler, cutting down the time I spent focusing on things like social media and outreach and getting me refocused on producing content.


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twobanksy
twobanksy
5 months ago

AtlasObscura.com and Nordvpn go together really well, one is for locations the other one is for protecting your shit, especially when a lot of the times I don’t carry cash and do my transactions/pays through my phone or straight through my bank acc

friv300
4 months ago

I really enjoyed reading this post, I always appreciate topics like this being discussed to us. Information very nice. I will follow post Thanks for sharing.

Kenny Kop
Kenny Kop
3 months ago

This is so great. Thank you so much for the detailed post. Had I known this earlier before booking my trip to Vietnam with a travel agency the cost might be cheaper (though they have these amazingly cheap packages http://www.realisticasia.com) but again there is assurance for my trip so…
I will apply this to my next trip!


Useful Tools for Booking Your Sabbatical

Flights

I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets. 

If you are in the UK I would also highly recommend signing up for Jack’s Flight Club to get incredible flight deals sent to your email inbox every week.

Accommodation

When booking accommodation I always start with Booking.com as they generally have the best range and prices. I also regularly use Airbnb for longer stays and apartments in cities (use this link for £25 off your first stay). For a different experience try signing up to Housecarers for free house-sitting opportunities (get 10% off membership with this link).

Insurance

Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance. I’ve used  World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.

Tours

Using local guides is one of my favourite travel tips. The easiest way to find a local guide is to use Get Your Guide who offer tours with local guides all over the world.

Gear

Check out my gear page for my favourite travel gear, here for a detailed 3-month packing list for men and women and here to find 38 great travel gifts.

Transfers

Getting from the airport to your destinations is an added stress after a tiring flight, so take the guesswork out and pre-book with JayRide.com. Their prices often beat the local taxis and I've found them to be reliable and easy to use.

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