One of the great thing to live in Europe is if you are a nomad, the whole Europe is open for you from beautiful Bosphorus channel to Atlantic sea through the awesome Balkan region, from Mediterranean sea to Scandinavia. I live and work in Germany, so can assure you life in Germany is exciting. Every weekend travelling new cities, every long holiday - new country. Probably at least once in life, every European were backpackers!
But when it comes to planning the trip, things are not always easy to organise. It gets worse if it is required to plan a budget trip. A thousand of question arises, for instance how to go to place C from A via B, what is the optimal way to visit the city Y in 3 days, what is the cheapest way to travel city Z or how can you organise backpacks for 3 days. Besides all these questions, track the budget air ticket/hotel offers!
My mum calls me ‘travel buff’ - whenever I get chance or time, I never hesitate to discover a new place. From my experience, I believe if you just follow some tricks, you will never feel pissed off during travel planning. Here is the list of tools that has got essential part to make my backpackers life easier.
Consider a scenario, I want to go for a trip which should cover several cities or places. Say start from city A and end at City E. Meanwhile, I want to touch city B,C and D. But how can I make this critical query? Searching on the google maps may help but not sure if it will show the optimal(cheapest and shortest) way. Rome2rio aids to get rid of this. It is called ‘multimodal transport search engine’. One can input multiple origin and destination. This Melbourne, Australia-based startup company has built its own repository of the train, bus, flight, ferry, rideshare and even walking route which helps to organise long-distance or local journey planning. This app is trustworthy as they update their information constantly.
2. Stack exchange Travel
Most probably you are familiar with this name if you are a programmer, mathematician, photographer etc. Stack Exchange is a network of question and answer on topics of various fields. They have a very effective community on travelling as well namely, Stack Exchange Travel. Along with Trip Advisor, I have found this community very active and helpful. Most importantly, this is a voluntary community where anyone gets responses from experienced contributors in a short time. You can rate the answers, so the quality of responses is preserved. I have seen people asking questions like “How does Booking.com enforce cancellation fees when booking without a credit card?” or “Is it possible to build up malaria and dengue resistance?” Once I asked “Camping/tent facility in Munich” and one response helped me to discover the most attractive place for backpackers there - The Tent.
3. Condé Nast
It is always exciting to read travel experience of other travellers. This digital world is full of contents. A simple google search will bring you thousands of articles. But my experience says, many of the articles are full of very general info. Condé Nast is an award winning luxury and lifestyle travel magazine where many people have shared their travel experiences. Whenever I plan to travel a specific place, the first thing I do is look for articles at Condé Nast related to that place. The blog is trustworthy because of the quality content and worthiness of the information. The articles like “The 50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World” or “12 Ways to Enjoy an Endless Summer” are the real motivation for the hodophiles (travel loving people) like me. They have categorised all their travel articles like Food & Drink, Arts & Culture, Travel Inspiration, etc. If anyone really wants to get some travel motivation or a nice place to travel or things to do in X or how to organise your travel bag - this blog will be a really great source of information. Even you can share your own experience and let other people know what you got!
If you travel in a budget, my suggestion would be to stay in the hostel. The best thing about the hostel is that, every day you will meet new people. Usually, hostels have their own bar, kitchen. Sometimes, I have discovered myself sharing the room with people from 6 different continents, doing party, playing board games, get drunk and next morning they are in their own ways. It makes me really nostalgic when they knock me on facebook. It is a great source of sharing your culture and feelings. But where to find all these cool hostels? My choice is Hostelbookers because this is the one-stop platform where one can search available hostels citywide, look for ongoing offers, confirm the booking, make the payment and as they claim, there is no booking fee! It is always worth to read the reviews of hostels which clearly identifies what other guests liked or disliked. I believe, once one has used hostelbookers it is more likely that he/she will love their service and will book hostel again using this site.
Okay, let’s keep the students’ choice (which is cheaper!) for a moment. The hotels are usually bit expensive for students compared to hostels. Sometimes you need to book hotels, for instance, if you are travelling a city for business purpose. Now, it would be a critical task to find out what are the hotels available there or what hot deals for those hotels. Of course, you could have searched on Expedia, Booking.com or Tripadvisor. But most of these sites have their deals with hotels, consequently there is no way to compare the prices. What I miss here is a ‘google’ for ‘hotel’ search. Trivago appears to be handy in this case. Just type the name of the city. Trivago collects all the available hotels, offers and shows in a listview. Unlike other booking sites, their user interface is quite user-friendly. Do not need to worry about advertisements or fake offers. It is possible to filter hotels based on the distance from the city centre, price and facilities. From my experience with Trivago, I have made successful booking each time which I believe - comparatively optimal for me.
Did you ever think for a while what makes it difficult during booking a flight? Yes, you are right - most of the booking site misses simplicity. What should be expected? We want to get the cheapest flight where the expected flying and return dates are given. It will be super cool if it shows prices of some other dates. What makes search and compare flights with momondo special is the way they represent the flights and compare the prices. You just put your preferred date and momondo will search through thousands of airlines sites to grab the data and represent them in a nice graphical ‘bar graph’ view. It enables you to see in which date airfare is reasonable and reorder your schedule optimally. I think their searching algorithm finds most feasible and relevant flights for any circumstances. It is also possible to search hotels and transportation using momondo, although I have not tried these services yet.
These are the tools that has made my backpackers life easier ever. Have you tried them already? Or do you have any suggestion that you felt must be added to the list. Just drop me your words!