Agoda is my top booking site. Seasoned travelers will tell you it’s the best when traveling around Asia, but I’ve managed to find good deals when I went to Europe as well. Also check out Agoda Homes, the safer version of Airbnb.
Next to Agoda, Booking.com is my trusted site. While Agoda gives the cheapest prices in Asia, Booking has a bigger selection of hotels, resorts, and inns around the world. This is how I do my research: When I have my eyes set on a certain hotel, I compare the prices on the hotel’s official website, Agoda, and Booking. Agoda is often the cheapest, but with limited slots. Booking often has more vacancies, but sometimes pricier than Agoda. The hotel website can go both ways. It can either have the highest markup or secret deals you won’t find elsewhere. Also check out the hotel’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for flash codes and sales. Browse wisely.
I prefer booking activities through the locals or joining other backpackers when I arrive in my destination. It’s cheaper and you get a wider selection of authentic experiences. But if you’re the type that likes everything planned and prebooked, my tried-and-tested site is Klook, followed by KKDay, Viator, Get Your Guide, and Headout.
I did not survive my solo Euro backpacking trip without Omio (formerly Go Euro), an app that lets you compare the prices of flights, trains, and buses to your chosen European destination. It helped me learn that sometimes taking the train or bus isn’t always the fastest or cheapest option. I felt like I was living my own version of Eat Pray Love while I was deciding, “Should I take the plane or sleeper train to Spain?” or “Which train will give me a more scenic route as I make my way to Venice?” Have fun using this helpful app.
Skyscanner is a travel search engine that shows you all the available flights, hotels, and car rentals for your chosen destination and date. It will help you compare prices, travel times, and stopovers before you book. I use it only for flights.
Buses, Trains, and Ferries
For buses, trains, and ferries, especially around Asia, I prefer booking locally and directly as it gives the most accurate schedules and prices without agency markups. But I understand if you’d like to book ahead from reputable agencies. For that, I suggest 12Go and Flix Bus, which I’ve tried and tested.
I purchase most of my travel gear from Decathlon, a French sporting goods retailer that carries affordable and good quality brands.