I get bombarded with PR emails every day from a lot of travel websites, and I get offers to try a lot of products. I get to see the good, the bad, and the ones with potential. People always ask me which companies I work with and which ones are the best. I wrote about my favorite travel companies early last year, but I thought I’d expand the list and name my favorite travel companies of 2010.
SeatGuru – Seat Guru lets you see the layout and configuration of all the airlines’ airplanes in the world. It comes in quite handy when I am picking seats on a plane. SeatGuru is definitely worthwhile, especially if you’re trying to decide whether to use points to upgrade. Some planes are old and you aren’t going to get that many amenities; checking the planes on SeatGuru can help you plan better.
World Nomads – If I need travel insurance I use World Nomads. I like their coverage and price. There are a lot of companies that sell travel insurance — it’s big business — but I wouldn’t use anyone else. When problems arise, World Nomads has a great reputation for getting involved and getting travelers the help that they need. They have excellent customer service, and they are very supportive of the blogging community, which makes me like them even more.
Lonely Planet – I love their guidebooks, as they appeal to my travel style. I like how they are all over Twitter and other forms of social media. Mostly, I find their guidebooks better laid out than most travel guides. Travel guides come down to personal preference, and LP is mine (other than my own!). (Guidebooks shouldn’t be the only thing you use when you travel. There are a lot of good alternatives that you should also use.)
Huffington Post Travel Section – This where I get my travel news, interesting stories, and other travel related facts. They link to articles all over the web so it’s easy to find stories. I’d rather search one website for my news than 100.
Intrepid – They offer good small group tours that use expert guides and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. They are my favorite multi-day tour operator and I take at least two tours a year with them. And, as a reader of this site, you’ll get 10% off all tours over $500!!
Momondo – I mostly book with American Airlines since I like to keep my Oneworld elite status. I find all my long-haul flights on Momondo when I can’t use Oneworld. I don’t know how their flight search algorithm works, but it always seems to find the deals that are hundreds cheaper than other sites. Plus, they sponsored TBEX Europe, and I like companies that support the blogging world.
Skyscanner – This is the best site for finding cheap ticket deals on low-cost and budget airlines. Whenever I book flights around Europe, for example, I use Skyscanner to compare all the budget airlines.
REI – They have the best gear. I still have my Mars REI backpack after 4½ years of beating it up on the road. I believe any serious traveler should purchase all their gear from REI. Their products last forever. My backpack looks just as good as it did the day I bought it. (Here are my tips for buying a backpack.)
Best Buy – As a digital nomad, I use a lot of electronics. Cameras, video cameras, iPhone, converters, etc. They need to be bought somewhere. If I’m not buying them cheap in Asia, I’m buying them from Best Buy. They have a great selection and deals.
Couchsurfing – A great site for finding free accommodation when you travel. The site connects travelers with locals offering free lodging. It’s been around for ages and it’s still one of the best sites out there! I’ve used it many times and I hosted my first guests this summer in New York.
TripIt – This is an app for your smartphone. It’s great. It tracks your reservations and keeps you updated on changes to your itinerary. For people who travel a lot and have multiple itineraries to manage, this app can help keep you organized.
STA Travel – I don’t use STA as much as I used to. I’m not a student or younger than 26. However, when I was, I used STA a lot. It has great deals for students and young adults. I especially like its blue airline tickets, because they are cheaper than regular airline tickets. I always managed to save money going through STA, and I recommend it for young travelers.
Priceline/Hotwire – For the few times a year I actually do get a hotel room, I use either Priceline or Hotwire to find deals. They usually offer great rates, especially if you name your own price. I’ve gotten 4-star hotels for $100 USD per night in New York City. That is a good deal! I’ve had better luck with deals on Hotwire than Priceline, but it’s good to check both.
Note: If you want to help support this site and keep it going, using the links above when you book your trip does just that! Please consider it!