Traveling to new places is one of the most amazing gifts we can give ourselves and our children. It can be tricky for people who have never traveled before or booked travel. There are so many websites to book on, and so many deals to search for. What I did below is put together all my favorite websites and booking tools that I use to travel the world with my family so that you can use them too and plan amazing trips.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
How To Plan Your First Vacation
Booking Cheap Flights
There are several sites to check when booking flights, however I consistently use and and recommend these three websites below:
If you are looking to book the cheapest flights you can possibly find on the internet, then make sure to use Skyscanner when searching for flights. Skyscanner allows you to search for travel destinations based on the cheapest place to fly to. I usually put in the airport I am flying from and then in the box for the airport I want to fly to, I type in everywhere so it can show me the cheapest place to fly to from my home airport. I also use the flexible month travel option to find the cheapest place to travel to for the entire year.
Google flights is great search tool when booking flights. You can put in up to 5 airports in the departure box and the same in the destination box. So if you want to fly somewhere but not sure which is the cheapest, you can mix and match airports and search all at once. The google flights search calendar is great at showing you the cheapest day to fly on also. Such a great feature.
Momondo is another great flight search engine also. Once I find the cheapest dates on Google Flights and Skyscanner, I usually check those dates in Momondo as well to see if I’ll get a better flight rate.
Pro Tip: When using sites like Skyscanner and Momondo, you’ll find that the cheapest flights are usually through third parties; don’t let that alarm you. I’ve purchased from third parties like Just Fly and Smart Fares with no issues before. It is usually better to purchase with the airline directly but I’m all about buying the cheapest ticket so that’s exactly what I do.
Finding Affordable Accommodation
When booking accommodation, TripAdvisor is the way to go because you can read reviews and see photos from other travelers to get a feel of where you will be staying. It’ll also route to the websites offering the cheapest rate.
- Sometimes, I go to each of the sites below directly and search hotels instead of starting off with TripAdvisor.
Pro Tip: I usually check all the websites above to see which one offers the cheapest rates.
- Vacation Rentals
When searching for vacation rentals, I usually check HomeAway and VRBO for house and villa rentals too. Perfect for when you travel with a large family, and also to save money when hotels are expensive.
- All-Inclusive Resorts
BookVIP is great for booking resorts at over half the cost. Do keep in mind that you’ll need to listen to a 90 minute time share presentation. If you don’t mind doing this, then you can definitely save a lot on your next vacation at an all-inclusive resort.
Booking Excursions & Activities
- Viator & Get Your Guide
My favorite website to search for activities, tours and especially skip the line tickets are Viator and Get Your Guide. This makes trip planning so much easier because you don’t have to search several sites as both websites have several options to choose from.
- TripAdvisor Attractions
Same also goes with TripAdvisor Attractions – you can search and book activities as well as read reviews and see photos that are posted by real people who have been to these places.
Renting A Car
If you plan to park at the airport, visit Airport Parking to find the best prices, as well as make a reservation.
Travel Insurance Is a Must
People book trips and forget the most important part, purchasing travel insurance. Because we travel often, I purchase our travel insurance through Allianz for a year at a time which means that we are covered for all trips within that year. Travel insurance will protect you and your family against theft, injury illness, flight cancellations and so much more. It is a MUST!
I recently had my phone, and money and cards stolen while on Vacation in Vietnam, unfortunately my travel insurance had just expired. So I lost over $2000 worth of stuff that would have easily been replaced if I had travel insurance.
When I am planning a vacation, the first thing I do is search for flights. When I find cheap flights and book them, I then search for accommodation. Sometimes I search for flights and accommodation together because I may find a cheap ticket, but accommodation may be too expensive. So keep that in mind when planning your trip.
Also, “Go Where It Is Cheap”. This motto has allowed us to travel more often because we are able to stretch our dollars.
Favorite Countries To Travel
We have been to over 25 countries with the kids so far, and here are the top places they’ve been to.
- Aiden, 6 years old – Cuba because I visited a farm with animals.
- Ethan, 6 years old – Morocco because I rode on a camel.
- Milania, 5 years old – Italy because of I rode on a horse.
- Avery, 4 years old – Mexico because I love swimming in the pool.
- The Mom Trotter – New Zealand because of all the wine and yummy food.
- The Dad Trotter – Thailand because it’s very affordable.
Looking to save even more money when you travel?
Visit my Travel Resources and Amazon page to see all the reliable and trustworthy brands that I use to book my travel with. I only recommend brands that I’ve used and can vouch for, so you’re in good hands! Also check out these posts below:
- How To Save Money On Flights
- Best Websites To Find Cheap Flights & Error Fares
- Tips On How To Make Travel Affordable For Families
- Kids Fly FREE On Frontier Airlines Starting February 2019; YAY
Top Travel With Kids Tips
Traveling with kids and have a few questions you need answers too, these posts below will help your trip run smooth.
- Best Travel Gear For Kids
- How To Travel With Kids Internationally Alone
- Top Must Have Items When Traveling With Kids
- Everything You Need To Know About Traveling With A Car Seat