My grandfather drilled it in me from a very young age to always consider my purchases carefully.
He even got me a subscription to Consumer Reports‘ kids magazine (Penny Power, then rebranded as Zillions at some point) that I read faithfully every month!
To this day, I always research, compare, and test before making most of my purchases or signing up for a new service.
As a frequent traveler, I’ve gathered a handful of reliable, affordable travel resources.
From hotels and transportation to luggage and blogging, here are my top travel resources.
Table of contents
How to find stellar acommodations
Find a place to rest your head for a night or a home-away-from home for your travels using my favorite sites for booking accommodations.
If you prefer a home away from home vibe, AirBNB is a great way to find a place to stay while traveling.
AirBNB is a network of people who rent out their entire home or rooms within their home.
Prices vary depending on location and type, so even if you’re on a tight budget, AirBNB is still a great option for a place to stay.
AirBNB is expanding the user experience, too, with its new Experiences section. Not only can you book a place to stay, but you can book things to do, too!
TIP: If you use my AirBNB referral link, you’ll get up to $50 off your first stay, PLUS $15 to put toward an AirBNB experience of $50 or more!
How to find cheap airfare
I LOVE Skyscanner for booking flights!
While Skyscanner can be used to book airfare, hotels or vehicle rentals, finding cheap airfare is where it really shines.
If you know when you have time for a trip, but can’t decide where to go, enter Everywhere in the destination field.
This will bring up a list of places you can go sorted by lowest to highest price.
You can also search to find the cheapest month or week within a specific month if you know where you want to travel to.
My favorite luggage and travel accessories
If you’re shopping for new luggage or other travel accessories, check out my favorites below.
Backpacks & bags
There are a couple of backpacks and bags that I use regularly.
Burton and North Face are my go-to brands due to their lifetime guarantee to repair or replace if anything were to happen to your bag.
I use the Burton Canyon backpack as a carry-on for flights or for short trips if I don’t want to take a suitcase. I’ve had this backpack for over 4 years now and it looks barely used even though I use it frequently.
While I sometimes use my Burton backpack while out and about during the day while traveling, sometimes I want something a bit smaller. I prefer to use my North Face Women’s Borealis backpack as a daypack or for hiking trips.
Sometimes I prefer to carry a shoulder bag instead of a backpack, so I also have the North Face Laryssa tote. This roomy tote is great for short trips and doubles as my gym bag!
My go-to brand for any kind of luggage is Burton.
If you’ve skipped over my section on backpacks and bags, the #1 reason I prefer Burton is their lifetime guarantee to repair or replace luggage and bags if anything happens to them.
Burton started as a snowboard lifestyle company, so their luggage is well-built and durable enough for active, adventurous travelers.
And don’t laugh – but I freaking love the wheels on their rolling luggage! They use skateboard wheels, so the luggage glides so smooth and super quiet.
I currently use the Burton Wheelie Double Deck when I need to check luggage and the Burton Charter Roller as a carry-on.
I do not travel without using packing cubes, even if it’s just an overnight or weekend trip!
Packing cubes can help with both compressing clothing (so that you can fit more!) and keeping your bags organized.
Once I get to my destination, I can unpack the cubes into drawers, with the top folded underneath.
That way, I don’t have to root around in my luggage. Everything stays organized and easy to reach.
I started off my packing cubes love affair with a combo pack and slim pack, both from eBags.
I’ve since purchased a set of medium cubes, as I tend to use that size the most.
I use the slim packs for undergarments or for an extra outfit in my carry-on.
If I have a long trip, I use the large cube for shirts and dresses and medium cubes for bottoms.
I use the medium cubes for PJs or shirts and dresses on shorter trips.
I use the small cube to keep important items organized in my carry-on or daypack, like snacks, medication, etc.
Earlier this year I also purchased the padded pouches from eBags. I use the large one for my power bank, Skyroam, and various chargers and plugs. I use the smaller ones for jewelry.
Packing tips and guides
Cameras & travel photography accessories
I love to capture my travel memories through photographs and videos. I have a bunch of photography equipment, but these 4 are my favorite affordable tools.
A selfie remote comes in handy for when you want to get a picture of yourself, but you don’t want to leave anyone out of the photo or keep running back and forth to set the timer.
GoPros are my favorite digital camera at the moment, aside from my beloved iPhone. I currently rely on a GoPro HERO 6 and HERO 8.
In my opinion, GoPros are a step above the typical point-and-shoot digital camera due to their durable and ruggedness. Starting with GoPro HERO 6, they are even waterproof!
Gorillapods are one of my absolute favorite camera accessories, regardless of which type of camera you use.
These bendy tripods can help you get amazing shots without the need to drag around a full-sized tripod.
They even have a model with magnetic feet. You can also add an attachment to hold your smartphone.
Last up is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 instant camera.
These candy-colored cameras are the latest reincarnation of Polaroid-style cameras. They are so much fun for parties, group trips, and backpacking adventures.
For more tips, check out these posts:
- Best Cameras for Blogging & Vlogging
- Best Cameras for Travel Photography
- Best Camera Drones: What to Know Before You Buy
- 65+ Cool GoPro Accessories for Travel Photos
- Best iPhone Photography Accessories
Best powerbanks and smart devices for travelers
While my first smartphone was an Android, I crossed over into Apple fandom many years back and have no intentions of going back.
I’m currently using the iPhone 11 Pro. I love that I can use it to call, text, email, take pictures, get directions, book accommodations, and so much more, all on a single portable, handheld device.
If I anticipate the need for a laptop while traveling, but don’t want to lug it around, I use an iPad Pro with a bluetooth wireless keyboard.
It’s like a baby-sized laptop! While I do have a Kindle, I only travel with it if I’m expecting to read outside, like at a beach or sunny resort. Otherwise, my iPad fulfills that need.
To keep my devices charged while on the go, I rely on a rechargeable power bank.
If I’m traveling off grid or won’t have readily access to a power outlet, I rely on a power bank that is at least 10000 mAh so that I can get several recharges before having to change the actual power bank.
However, those devices can be a bit heavy to lug around all day, so if I’m just going to be gone for a few hours, I stick to a smaller power bank. Around 3000 mAH will give you around 1 charge, possibly a bit more.
How to find good tours
Viator is my go-to for finding tours and activities where I travel. Viator is like a broker for local tour and service companies.
You may be thinking – is Viator legit? Yes, friends, Viator is definitely a legit tour and activity booking website.
What I love about it is you don’t have to root through Google search results and worry about whether a local company is a good pick – or worse, whether it’s even legit.
Viator takes care of that vetting process, so you can be sure you’ve picked a reliable tour or service.
I’ve also booked airport transfers through Viator and never ran into any issues. It was also cheaper than a taxi or shuttle at the airport!
What are your favorite travel resources and tips?
I hope you enjoyed reading all about my favorite travel resources and tips. I update this page regularly, so be sure to check back for new tips!