Below are companies and sites that we use regularly while booking trips. We highly recommend them and wouldn’t be able to plan a lot of our adventures without them. If you have any questions or would like to know more, feel free to email us at
marriedexplorerstk ~at~ gmail ~dot~ com
Scotts Cheap Flights sends out frequent emails of amazing airfare deals. You can sign up as a free member or as a Premium (just $40 a year). With Premium, Scott will notify you about all the deals he finds, where as with free membership it is more limited but still frequent. We get so tempted by all the deals that I have the emails set with an auto filter with gmail so they go directly into a Travel Deals folder. It’s nice because then I don’t see them in my inbox unless I go to that email folder.
We use Google Flights for their calendar view to see which days are cheapest to travel, and to compare the cost of all the airlines. Google Flights compares most major airlines (Southwest has their schedule but no pricing listed). We used to use Kayak but have made the transition over to Google Flights.
We are partial to flying on Southwest Airlines. They have comfortable seating (they primarily fly Boeing 737), 2 free checked bags, give you complimentary soft beverages and snacks, and comedic flight attendants. They don’t have assigned seats and you board in order of which you checked in, which is open 24 hours ahead of time. We set our alarm so we can check in right when it’s available. Or you could pay for Priority, where you automatically are checked into the first group that boards. We signed up for the Southwest credit card. It has great perks if you fly enough (we aren’t quite at that capacity) and on our birthday they send you free alcohol drink coupons. Sometimes Southwest flights are more expensive and sometimes they are cheaper. Possibly the best part of Southwest, if you do need to change your flight, you can do so without any extra fees tacked on. Only thing you pay is the difference of the flight, or you get refunded if the other flight is cheaper!
HotelTonight has their website but we primarily use the app. HotelTonight provides awesome discounts on nice hotels. The catch, you can’t book until at most a week before, and the deals get better the closer your stay comes. Usually I book the night before or the morning of. Being able to book a place spur of the moment doesn’t always work, sometimes you want to know when and where you are staying. But other times, if you have some flexibility, this app is THE BEST! We have gotten to stay in some really luxe hotels at an affordable rate and we have gotten to stay in some regular hotels for a great deal. HotelTonight is in most major cities and always growing. We’ve used this app in 10 different cities and plan to keep using this app!
If you decide to use HotelTonight, use our code and we both get $50! CODE: KROGERS97
Hotels.com has a nice searching platform where it compares the cost of all the hotels in the area and finds the ones that have vacancies for when you are looking. The benefit to using hotels.com vs another comparing site is that they offer one free night at a hotel after you book 10 nights with them. The free night is valued at the average cost of your 10 nights booked. We would suggest you use hotels.com to look for hotels and then compare the price on their website to the price on the hotels direct website to make sure you are getting the best deal.
We love booking accommodations through Airbnb because of the ease and use of the site! I hope you all watched our instagram story on how to navigate the website. If you haven’t yet, check it out after reading here! For those not familiar with Airbnb, you can stay at someone’s property, whether it’s a house, apartment, or condo, for a day, a weekend, or longer! Airbnb offers many available places at different prices across the world. We’ve stayed in Airbnbs in Cape Town, Stockholm, Tallinn, and in cities across the US. We find Airbnb tends to be cheaper than hotels, but of course they may vary depending on how nice the place you’re staying in, size, location, etc. You can deal directly with the owner, and for the most part, you get access to many amenities you wouldn’t have in a hotel (kitchen, living room, multiple bedrooms, etc).
For our camping adventures, we’ve used recreation.gov. Many of the America’s great campgrounds are in US National Forests, or Parks, thus why you would need to book through the government website. However, there are also many private and/or county-owned campgrounds throughout the country. Our best source here is Google.com to find the best camping locations in the area you wish to explore!
Confession, we don’t stay in hostels too often. We see them sometimes listed on hotels.com or HotelTonight but haven’t booked directly through those sites. The link above seems to have all the information you could want and more about how/where to book hostels but it isn’t technically a site we “use regularly and love”.
Tour Companies and Activities
Go Ahead Tours is a division of Education First. Go Ahead Tours is a company that plans everything for you. You pick which tour you want to do and which of the dates you want to do it and they take care of the logistics. Kara worked for this company for a year and she traveled on one of their tours in high school (through their EF Educational Tours department). In fact, that might have been the trip that jump started her wanderlust. After working there, she recruited Tim to go on an adult tour with her. They went on their Greece tour and had the most amazing time. Usually Kara is great at logistics but she definitely enjoyed not having to worry or plan anything! Plus they had a local guide the entire time as a resource for history, recommendations, and, well, guiding. So between going on their tours and working for them, Kara and Tim can seriously recommend this tour company. They know how to plan, have great customer service and have an emergency response team.
We use TripAdvisor frequently. Even in our home city. We like to use it to look up reviews on restaurants and activities. That’s all we got to say about that.
You can find a lot with a simple Google search. We use Google and Google Maps, like a lot. Tim likes using Google Maps just to look at areas around the world, scoping out our next adventure. It’s great for estimating distances if you’re traveling by foot, bike, car, or public transportation. I’m sure you’ve all used it for traffic, too. Google can help locate mostly anything near you, whether that be restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, bars, etc. We recommend having the app on your phone should you need to find the most fun and efficient way to get from A to B. It’s also VERY helpful if you get lost.
If you are looking to a new credit card that has great travel perks or no foreign transaction fees, this is the site you should go to. The Points Guy compares all the cards and their benefits in great depth.