Today we wanted to put out a list of some of the travel resources we use or will be using to plan our trips. By no means is this list comprehensive, but perhaps the following websites will aid in your own planning. Let’s begin.
Originally we were going to show screenshots of each resource, but this isn’t meant to be a full tutorial. Instead, we’ll list each one and provide a brief description. If it sounds interesting, we find that the best way to learn more is to play around with the website.
Skyscanner is quite useful for finding flights. You can search flights between virtually any destinations and it will show you the cheapest options. The best part is that the search parameters can be quite wide. For instance, you can search “United States” to “Everywhere” and the timeframe could be “Cheapest Month” or “August.” It allows for a lot of flexibility.
The bad news is that it’s not all encompassing. For instance, Southwest flights are not included (only indirectly through other websites) so there can be some added steps / multiple websites to check.
Rome2Rio is Google maps on overdrive. You put in your starting place and destination and it will show you how to get there. Driving is usually an option, but it also includes flights, buses, trains and shared transportation alternatives.
If you’re driving somewhere in the U.S., there probably isn’t much of an advantage. However, if you’re in a foreign city without personal transportation, Rome2Rio can be a great resource to decide which option is best.
Award Mapper is nice for hotel point redemptions. You put in a city of your choice and it will show you where the hotels are and how many points each one requires for a free night.
If you want a more specific view, for instance if you only want to look for a certain hotel chain, the website Travel Is Free has a great “complete maps” resource. These maps show every property in the Marriott, Hyatt, SPG, Carlson, IHG and Hilton catalogs along with the points required for a free night.
This one is for booking flights with miles. Put in any two locations and it will show you the various redemption possibilities with a whole lot of different programs. It also shows you how you can transfer miles to each airline partner. It’s a nice consolidator to see the cheapest awards from point to point.
Auto Slash is one that we haven’t used often, but has gotten fairly good reviews. It’s for car rentals. You sign up, tell them about your rental and then they periodically email you a list of possibilities. It’s especially useful for rentals that you have already booked, as the website will track this booking and let you know if it goes down in price later.
This website (and the next four) are travel blogs that we follow. The theme for Million Mile Secrets is “Big Travel. Small Money.” but otherwise the posts can be about anything. If you periodically check the travel or points-themed blogs, you can get a pretty good feel for some of the current bonuses / sign-ups / deals / best pricing / etc. out there.
This one is probably the most famous in the space, and it has some good stuff, but it’s quite similar to the rest.
Boarding Area is probably the most useful. It’s an aggregator site for dozens of travel and points blogs. The first two sites that I mentioned are not part of the aggregation list, but this does cover a lot of ground. Additionally, it just gives you the headlines so you can quickly scan the list to see if anything jumps out to you.
This website focuses on points too, but also includes deals and bank bonus offers. It’s not included in the Boarding Area aggregation, but often has some stuff that the other websites do not.
This one actually is included in Boarding Area, but we felt it was worth a special mention here. Our favorite resource is the IHG Point Breaks map and sortable table that allows you to see all the current IHG properties on Point Breaks (5,000 points a night) in one place. Note that as the promotion period goes on more and more of the award space is filled up, so this map is most useful when the promotion begins.
Incidentally, this website put out a “March Madness” travel resource contest last year, which highlights some of the above names and a lot of additional resources.
Beyond those mentioned above, things like Google Flights, your favorite points portal (say Chase Ultimate Rewards), Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com and that sort of thing are quite helpful as well. Hotels.com has started to stand out, as you can often get discounted gift cards and they offer a book 10 nights, get 1 free perk that you can’t find on the other discount sites.
Travel is getting much better and the resources now available are making it a lot more efficient and enjoyable. As we mentioned, the names above are not going to be all encompassing. However, hopefully this post adds some insight into a few travel resources that might be useful as you plan your next adventure!