My favorite travel resources
I am sure everyone has their own favorite travel resources, but I decided to share mine. Travel planning and booking transport, accommodation, activities and restaurants has become super easy in the digital age. Sometimes, however, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options that are available.
For flights I use skyscanner.net, supersaver.fi and the Finnish site halvatlennot.fi (part of Vuelos Baratos Ltd. with corresponding sites in Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden). I also check prices directly from airlines’ sites because sometimes they have good deals. These days it is paramount to check what the ticket includes because the cheapest prices never tend to include e.g. checked luggage. So, when comparing prices, you should always make sure to compare the total price including all the extras you need to avoid costly surprises.
When looking for accommodation I always turn to booking.com and airbnb.com. There are several similar sites to booking.com, like hotels.com, trivago.com, momondo.com, etc. However, I prefer booking.com for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I like that you always make the reservation through booking.com and not through various service providers with different terms and conditions. I also like the option they offer to either pay for the accommodation right away or pay at the hotel; this gives more flexibility and better cancellation options if required. I know that hotels.com also offer these features, but it seems they have less options for paying at the hotel. I also like booking.com’s Genius program that offers loyal customers great deals.
Restaurants & activities
For restaurant reservations I use opentable.com, as well as tabelonline.fi for restaurants in Finland and Tallinn. Naturally I also end up using other systems if the restaurant I want to book a table at uses another system. For restaurant reviews, I use timeout.com, tripadvisor.com and sometimes I also look at Facebook reviews. Google is also my friend when looking for restaurants, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve typed “best restaurants in Xxxx” or “top restaurants in Xxxx” into Google. Another useful search term once you are at your destination is “best restaurants near me”, which can also be used in many variations like best breakfast, best lunch, best bar, etc. When trying to find new places I might have missed in Helsinki and sometimes also Tallinn, I tend to search for “new restaurants in Xxx”. And finally, for excursions I usually end up looking at getyourguide.com and viator.com. Sometimes I use these sites only for inspiration on things to do and places to visit, but I’ve also booked a number of activities through these sites.
I have also signed up for bonusway.fi that is Finland’s first cashback service and currently operating in several European countries. It offers cashback for purchases made through numerous travel sites (e.g. booking.com, hotels.com, expedia, supersaver, and several airlines). I have received several hundred euros in cashback so far and the largest sums come from travel reservations as they are clearly more expensive than other online shopping I do.
Before the major breakthrough of the wonderful world of the world wide web, I do remember reading through stacks of travel brochures when dreaming of a vacation. It did have its charm, but I must say I find the Internet a lot more rewarding as you can find so much information in one place and comparing prices, etc. is super easy. If you have any tips of great travel resources, I would love to hear about them.