Welcome to the travel resources section of the site. Once I had been travelling for six months, I felt it was time to put together a page that details all the things I use – from gear to insurance to websites – in order to keep this trip on the road.
Any full-time traveller worth their salt will admit that all these things are trial and error – there’s only so much you can plan before hitting the road. But I also believe that it’s important to do your homework before you leave home in order to enable things to run as smoothly as they can. Hence, why I put this page together – to help you with your planning (disclaimer: reading this page and following my advice religiously still won’t stop your plane being delayed or bus being cancelled. My only advice here is to drink)! Whether you’re heading on a RTW trip or a week sojourn somewhere exotic, you can use the tips in this guide to get the most out of your travels.
As I’m by no means an expert on everything related to travel, I also share many links from around the web that have helped with various aspects of my planning.
So, here are the things I use on the road as well as some tips on how to plan your trip. I make use of every single resource on this page, which is why I’m recommending these to you. This guide will be continuously updated, so if there’s something I’m missing or if you have any questions contact me here.
Before you leave home
How to decide where to go
So many countries, so little time. It can be pretty overwhelming to try and decide on where to go, especially for a RTW trip. Personally, I like to try and ‘tackle’ continents, as a) it means that I can keep costs on flights down and b) I feel like I get to really know a region.
But where do you go first? I garner inspiration from many different places, but I also have certain destinations in mind that I’ve simply *always* wanted to go to (I’m looking at you Japan, NYC and Cuba). At the beginning of each year, I try and decide on where I want to go and I write a travel wish list (here’s my 2016 list).
Some of my favourite travel sites and blogs for inspiration
I love this website, as it’s an independent travel guide to Southeast Asia. For each country it lists loads of useful information, such as when to go, how to get visas, accommodation, getting around etc. It’s packed full of great posts to help you plan your trip.
I love using Lonely Planet guides while we’re researching a new destination – the guides always give us a good overview of the place that we’re visiting, and we love the format that they follow (plus, once I have a house, I want to line up all the guides I buy and show them off on a shelf 🙂
I also like how you can order the chapters you want out of a book, so say you’re only visiting Hanoi in Vietnam, you can buy the chapter relating to the city. No need to splurge on the whole thing. Nifty, eh?
Planning the logistics
Always check visa requirements carefully before you book your tickets – even if your passport gets you into most countries in the world. I’ve heard stories of Brits and Australians turning up in places where they didn’t even realise they needed a visa. Luckily they were in places like Cambodia where you get on arrival visas, but they were still unprepared and clambering to get photos taken at passport control when they realised their mistake.
For UK passport holders, the Foreign Travel Advice page from Gov.UK has entry requirements for all countries, as well as useful information on any recommended travel restrictions.
US passport holders can log onto the US Passports and International Travel website for similar information.
Tip!Make sure you check out onward ticket requirements for any country that you're visiting. You'll find that many airlines ask to see a ticket out of the country you're on your way to before letting you board the flight.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best at travel hacking and finding cheap flights, however, there are a few things that I always do to try and ensure I get the best deal available. Firstly, I consider flight prices before I commit to travelling to a certain place, and if I find that they’re extortionate for the time of year during which I want to go, I’ll look for other destination options. Sometimes it can be as simple as flying to a different airport within the same country.
If I’m flying across continents (for example, when I flew from Singapore to Birmingham) I tend to go with reputable carriers such as Emirates, Qatar Airways or Etihad. Within continents and countries I usually travel with budget airlines, although I have found some bargains on other carriers, too. The greatest advice I can offer is to be flexible with your dates and try to book approximately three months before you’re due to fly, especially for the longer flights or if you’re travelling somewhere during peak season.
Booking flights as-you-go
I prefer to book flights as I go along, so here are a few pointers on things I’ve done over the years.
- This post by Audrey from That Backpacker has some great advice on how to get cheap flights every time.
- Bridges and Balloons offer their own advice from travelling extensively on how to get the best flight deals.
- This New York Times article explains why not all flight search engines are built equally.
- Budget airlines that I’ve used in South East Asia include Tigerair (I definitely recommend them) and Air Asia (I’ve never had problems with them but I know others have). I also used Vietnam Airlines a few times when I was travelling around the country and while not strictly a budget airline, you can more often than not find fantastic fares.
When I embarked on my long-term journey, I didn’t book RTW tickets, and from what I’ve read on the Internet there are two schools of thought when it comes to whether these tickets are worth it or not. I personally wouldn’t bother with one but that’s because I like the freedom to move around as much as I want and when I want, rather than have my moves dictated by a travel itinerary I made months back.
Here are some good posts that may help you decide on which route is best for you:
- This post by A Little Adrift offers a good overview of the pros and cons on booking a RTW ticket.
- For a US-centric guide to booking a RTW ticket, check out Nomadic Matt’s in-depth guide.
- BootsnAll offers a good tool for planning RTW travel here where you can build itineraries.
In my opinion, this is the best flight search engine. I’ve found many, many cheap flights thanks to this site and I never book a flight without checking what it brings up. From my experience, they tend to have the cheapest flight options.
Another great option. I like how you can search for flights to anywhere, so if you’re not sure where you want to go (but want to see to which destination you can get the cheapest tickets) this is a great option.
Tip!Sign-up to receive your favourite airlines' newsletters. More often than not, they announce great fare deals through them. Also follow them on social media for the same reason.
This seems to be the best site to use when looking for cheap accommodation in Southeast Asia. It always brings up SO many cheap options, and I like how you can see verified reviews of each hotel.
I use Agoda and Booking.com with about the same amount of frequency. I think that when you’re looking for great deals for mid-range and luxury accommodation (as well as great value accommodation in Europe), this is the better option.
When looking for somewhere new to stay, I always take a look on Hotels.com too, and have booked some great deals through them before. I think it’s best to try these three and compare. That’s what I always do.
Tip!If you’ve found a few hotels that you like, get in touch with them directly via email. More often than not, you’ll be able to negotiate a cheaper rate with them that way – this is particularly true of mid to low-budget hotels in Southeast Asia.
Do not leave home without travel insurance. You just never know when you’ll need it – life on the road is unpredictable and sometimes messy! I love World Nomads, as their service is incredibly professional and their online interface is easy to use. You can also make claims online, as well as extend the duration of your cover.
Helps you prevent those “I spent HOW much?!” moments when you check your online statement!
I love Google maps and I use it religiously.
This fun app enables you to find inspiration for your next trip through other traveller’s photos. You can also upload your own and add tips that others may find useful.
Staying fit while on the road doesn’t need to be hard. This app is fantastic and has many workouts to choose from. You tell it what you’re aiming for (weight loss, toning up etc) and it gives you various options to suit your training needs.
After reading a lot of reviews I decided on this pack and I cannot be happier with it. It’s a panel-loading bag, which means that it opens up much like a traditional suitcase, making it easier to access things. I also like how sturdy and comfortable it is to wear, and the handy pockets are great for stuffing things in and keeping everything organised.
For link to Amazon UK, click here.
When you’re travelling around (especially in Southeast Asia!) you need to expect the unexpected. Most backpacks aren’t waterproof, so please, please make sure you buy yourself a dry sack and protect your gear and clothes from any unexpected tropical downpours! You can get them in various sizes to meet your requirements. I have one big one that I put all our electronics into whenever I’m on the move.
For link to Amazon UK, click here.
Don’t leave home without these! They keep all your clothes so organised, and if you’re a neat freak like me this is very important! If you live somewhere where there’s a Muji store, then they do a great selection of them. If not, you can order the eBags Packing Cubes, which various fellow travellers use and love.
For link to Amazon UK, click here.
I love how this adapter is a well-priced, all-in-one solution – it includes quick-charge USB ports, surge protection, and can be used in 150+ countries. Oh, and it costs under $20.
I backup all my work on Seagate hard drives. I’ve always found Seagate to be reliable and durable, so I’ve stuck with them throughout our travels, too! I also recommend backing your work up on a cloud, though – especially photos.
For more information on what we packed for our trip, check out our post on what’s in our backpacks.
Cameras and laptops
When I bought this camera I was an amateur, and while my photography has come a long way, I really think this is the right camera for a newbie. While there are many newer cameras, this served its purpose: easy to use, relatively light, and it takes great quality photos.
I’m an Apple fanboy when it comes to my laptops. I have a Macbook Pro, as I work online and need something that’s fast and reliable. Definitely the best laptop for me (just wish the charging cable didn’t suck so much).
I battled with my conscience before taking the plunge and buying the Kindle, and now I cannot recommend it enough. As someone who LOVES books, I didn’t want to give in to the e-world, but I’m now glad I did. I loves being able to buy books while on the move. If you’re a bookworm about to embark on a trip, this is definitely for you. For Amazon UK, click here.
I bought this phone almost a year ago and I absolutely love it. It’s perfect for having on the road thanks to its great quality camera and light body. Great specs for a fraction of the iPhone price.
This blog has become a big part of my life. Here are some of the things I use to keep the site up and running (and that I’ve found very reliable/useful).
Great hosting service at a great price. I’ve been using Bluehost ever since I set up the site, and I have been running my personal website with them since 2012. Never had an issue, plus their 24-hour support team is helpful and fast.
Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you buy something, I earn a small commission. This helps us cover the cost of running the site. But I genuinely love all the products I am recommending, so if you have any questions about them please let me know! Email me at hello (at) scribblesnaptravel (dot) com.