5 Essential Travel Websites

At a glance, I have thousands of travel-related web pages bookmarked. Out of those thousands of bookmarked web pages, there are a select few that I use, again and again, be it for booking my flights, finding a bed for the night, or reading about the adventures of others.

Skyscanner . Let's start with the most addictive, shall we? Skyscanner is simple enough: select the airport/city/country from which you wish to depart, choosing either a specific date or the month in which you will be flying, select where you're flying to, and behold, a list of prices with various airlines. It's a flight comparison website. What I find most addictive is the 'fly anywhere' option... I love browsing and seeing where I can jet off to. Many a spontaneous trip has been born from my Skyscanner addiction, I can tell you. Sure, it has a few hiccups - sometimes it will display an incorrect flight price, but generally, it's accurate. And you always find those mistakes before booking any flights, so no worries there.

Couchsurfing . I have met so many lovely people through this website, many of whom I'm now fortunate enough to call my friends. Thanks to the freedom of modern-day travel, I have friends in more countries than I have visited - often due to this website! This is the perfect website for if you're short of cash, or, like me, you simply prefer to stay with locals when you're travelling. It's an online community designed to bring together 'surfers' - aka, the adventurous traveller, to you and me - with hosts, who will offer them a bed for the night, or if they can't do that, their company, a drinking partner, a tour guide - whatever. Yes, there can be some safety concerns. I've heard them all from my loving but a tad over-protective friends. You know, warnings about lone young women staying with strange men, in a strange city, in a strange country with a strange language and no money. Honestly, as long as you're careful, and you keep your creep-radar on full at all times, you'll be fine. There are plenty of women acting as hosts too.

Seat61 . While I love flying (a little too much, perhaps. I get such a rush during take-off), I like to travel by train as often as possible. The views are nicer (and there are many more window seats, so it's much less likely that I find myself wrestling with strangers over the best seat), the ride kinder on my ears, and it gives me a chance to say 'ooo what a lovely little village... I think I'll go and explore'. This site is the creation of Mark Smith, 'career railwayman', who luckily saw a need to breakdown for us wanderlusters exactly how to get from any A to any B via train, from routes, approximate prices and timetables. Very handy!

NomadicMatt . This guy is something of a budget travel king. His blog focuses a lot on money-saving tips, from how to get cheap flights and cruise tickets, how to choose the best insurance and credit cards, to how to build a successful travel blog of your own. While now days he has a base in NYC (though according to his blog he only spends a few weeks there at a time before jetting off again), he travelled constantly as a digital nomad from 2006 until New Year 2013. Six and a half years of travel!? I think he's definitely earned his crown.

BlaBlaCar . Again, for when I get that urge to get on the move - or I just want to nip to the next nearest city or a quaint nearby village with no public transport links. If people have planned a car journey, they can sell spare seats for a small fee. Tip: even if you think you're travelling light, always message the driver to check that there is space for your luggage. Don't just presume that they will have room for your matching LV luggage set - or even your teeny tiny rugged canvas rucksack, if you're me.

Honourable Mentions:

Finding the bare essentials:

- Airbnb .
- Hostelworld / Hostelbookers .
- Warm Showers . <----so useful when you've just stepped off a stuffy train/bus/boat after a day-long journey with no air-con, having spent the entire trip stuffed into a sweaty overweight stranger's fat folds. Yes, such an event has happened to me.

Money makes the world go round...

- Global Work and Travel . A great site for finding work abroad; paid, voluntary, internships, etc.
- '7 digital nomads explain how they live, work and travel' <---- very inspiring post, and links to several great blogs.
- WWOOF . While it's really useful that every country has it's own WWOOF website, I find it a little annoying that each of those websites requires a seperate membership, and even more so that each membership ranges everywhere from £0 to £50. If you're planning to 'wwoof' and travel across many borders, this can get quite pricey. Still, a great source for finding fruit picking/farm work if you're looking to experience something different than museums and beaches.
- Verbling . Teach English online.
- '50 Travel Magazines that want to Publish your Writing' .

Inspirational bloggers:

- Adventurous Kate .
- JacksGap .
- The Odyssey Expedition .
- The Runaway Guide .

A to B:

- Hitchhikers.org 

Read about my adventures here.

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