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Want to plan a vacation?
Don’t know where to start?
I’ve gathered here some of the most trusted and reliable booking websites and travel resources to help you plan your best vacation ever!
BOOK YOUR FLIGHT
The first thing you would do when planning a vacation is to book your flight. Airline ticket prices can go up any minute, so it’s best to book this in advance if you already found a good fare for your trip. I usually book tickets directly with the airline either through their ticket office or usually through their official website.
If there’s plenty of airlines serving your destination, you can use websites such as Expedia and Kiwi to search for the airline with the lowest fare. I personally use Skyscanner and have had great results in finding the cheapest fares in any destination I want. Expedia and Kiwi search for fares on different booking websites. Always read the fine print because low fares would usually mean a non-refundable and no changes allowed ticket. It may also not earn any mileage or just a percentage of.
BOOK YOUR HOTEL
My go-to hotel reservation websites are Agoda.com or Booking.com. Both are reliable booking sites and they usually give the best rates for the same room type and cancellation policy. They are part of a network of travel related services, together with Kayak, Priceline, RentalCars and OpenTable.
Agoda is one of my favorite booking websites. What’s great about Agoda is that they can tap into some of the room availability of Booking.com and Priceline, plus their other booking partners; SelectRooms, Getaroom and Rakuten Travel. I say some because there was one hotel in Seoul showing availability for a certain room type on Booking.com but did not show on Agoda’s page. Both websites still have separate systems which mean separate booking allocations.
Booking.com is probably the most popular hotel booking site today. Like Agoda, they offer more room types and cancellation options. More often than not, the rates are cheaper in Booking.com. They also have a member rewards system called Genius. Genius members can take advantage of an extra 10% off on certain hotels and some can even offer late check-out or airport shuttle for Genius members. Great rates and extra hours in your hotel rooms will definitely make you happy on your vacation.
PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE
A lot of travelers tend to skip this part but it’s actually important that you get yourself covered in case there’s an emergency. Hospital bills, lost luggage or canceled airline tickets can be costly and having travel insurance ensures that you don’t shoulder all the damage.
VisitorsCoverage is a great and easy-to-use website search for affordable travel insurance plans that would fit your needs.
SEARCH FOR ACTIVITIES
The best thing about booking travel activities online is that not only do you get discounted rates for popular tours but most of the time, you also get Skip-the-line tickets. Online voucher holders have a line of their own, and the waiting time is usually no more than 15 minutes. Popular tourist attractions have waiting times for as much as two hours. You only need to present your voucher at the designated ticket counter to be exchanged for a day pass or sometimes you only need to show your mobile confirmation at the entrance. How convenient is that!
Make sure to read the fine print of the tour so you would know what’s included and what’s not. Tour inclusions vary depending on the service provider.
We have used Viator multiple times for airport transfers and guided tours in Italy and France. There are many tours available for popular destinations in the US, South America, Europe, Asia and even Dubai in the Middle East. While I find the rates for tours in Europe reasonable, the tours from Asia in general, are of a higher rate. This brings me to my next suggestion.
I learned about Klook while searching for discounted tickets for Ocean Park and Victoria’s Peak in Hong Kong but have never actually booked with them. I only fully appreciated Klook’s services when I started searching tours for our Seoul, South Korea family trip, Their rates for tours and activities in Asia are way better than Viator. This may be due to the fact that their HQ is in Hong Kong and are probably able to get better deals for Asian destinations. They also offer activities in Europe, Australia and several cities in North America. You might want to compare their rates with Viator if you’re booking activity for your Europe trip but definitely, they offer more variety and better deals for Asian destinations.
Another website to consider when booking tours specifically for South Korea and Thailand is Trazy. I came across Trazy while searching for Everland tickets in South Korea. They pretty much offer the same tours (and rates) with Klook but I found a better option for shuttle service between Seoul and Everland. Klook’s option would require me and my family to travel from Myeongdong to Gangnam (where the bus pick-up point is) but Trazy’s shuttle bus offer has a pick-up point in Myeongdong (where we are staying) so it is definitely the more convenient option.
BIG BUS TOURS
I am a big fan of Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tours because it is so convenient and you can visit the top attractions in a city in 24, 48 or even 72 hours.
Big Bus Tours operates in big cities such as:
Europe: London, Paris, Rome, Budapest, Vienna, Dublin
America: New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Washington DC
The Middle East: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat
Asia-Pacific: Sydney, Hong Kong, Darwin, Singapore
City Sightseeing is also a great HOHO bus company and they share pretty much the same services with Big Bus Tours. They also operate in popular tourist cities.
TRAVEL REVIEWS AND GENERAL INFORMATION
I use TripAdvisor for hotels, activities and restaurant reviews. I’ve also come to love watching YouTube travel videos. But my most favorite way of researching a new destination is still reading blogs! It doesn’t matter if it’s a popular site or one of those random Blogger.com or WordPress.com blogs. I actually prefer those over “official” travel guides because they can really give you an idea of what a tourist can expect on a trip. Plus they share so much more photos of things to see and things to buy, which I really love. I seldom read those “How to be/look like a local” guides because come on, you are a tourist! No need to pretend! And it’s not like the locals will judge you for what you wear or what you do on your vacation. The only kind of local guide I would read are food and restaurant recommendations but that still doesn’t guarantee a positive or out of the ordinary experience.
These travel guides (including this blog) are just a guide. It shouldn’t dictate what you need to do but rather it provides a glimpse of all the things you can do on your trip to make it more memorable. Choose from any of the suggested options (or not) and just truly enjoy your vacation.
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KGB IN WANDERLAND’S TRAVEL TIPS