These are the best travel websites and any backpacker or flexible traveler likely uses them all the time! Here’s some real life examples of travel gems from each.
1. CouchSurfing.org This is a project set up for people to stay with others while they are traveling and to host other travelers while they are at home. It is mostly designed for the backpacker type of traveler, but we’ve seen all sorts of people on the site. It is an incredibly enriching experience to be able to surf or host. For surfers, you get to stay with a local and experience the culture. We’ve found the hosts to be very nice and fascinating people. For hosts, you get to have guests from all over the world stay with you, you learn about them and their travel experiences, and get to have that travel feel even when living at home. Definitely one of the best travel websites and a great idea.
2. Bid on your hotel on priceline.com instead of paying the upfront cost. We really only have 3 or 4 experiences with booking hotels on priceline, but were blown away with the deals. We were staying at the hostel in Washington, D.C. and going to be heading to Annapolis, Maryland: a small town on the Chesapeake Bay about an hour away. We figured we would try priceline’s bid feature and put in what we thought was a ridiculously low amount… just to see. So we bid $35 for a hotel room and got it, in a pretty decent hotel (the Super 8 for 2 nights) with two beds and a bathroom, and we liked that so much we decided to try it again, not sure if it was a fluke. So after biding the same price we got a room at The Marriott (rated 2 stars, but it should have been higher!), which was extremely nice and again had two beds, a bathroom and a fridge, a gym/swimming pool plus a pretty decent breakfast with eggs, waffles and fruit included. Kid you not, we got the deal a third time before we went to stay with the people who would be hosting us for the next week.
The one thing about priceline, is that you can’t change the reservation once you submit the bid, which we’d suspect has gotten a few people before when plans changed. Also, you can try and add extra nights at the end of your reservation once if there is availability. So for this option you do need to be able to be adaptable and flexible, but you can get amazing deals!
You can also bid on other things such as rental cars but we’re not as impressed with this service because often you have to pick the car up at the airport and can’t choose a different rental office.
3. Use itravel2000.com This site is really good for booking flights. We’ve used it to get a return trip from Edmonton to Cabos San Lucas, Mexico. It was a direct flight and it was only $350 Canadian including taxes. Haven’t booked too much else on there but we’ve seen some great deals while browsing.
4. AirTransat.com We’ve seen really cheap flights on here… especially from Calgary to Europe. Limited areas it visits but if it reaches your destination it might be worth checking out.
5. Vacationstogo.com This is the best travel website for finding cruises. You can book both last minute deals or ones more in advance. We’ve never actually booked through here, just done a lot of browsing. Most cruise prices are for two people booking with them.
These are the best travel website and frequent travelers or backpackers likely use these a lot!