Welcome to my travel resources page! This is full of the products that I use to keep me going on the road, as well as books that will help you travel.
EBOOKS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL
GEAR I TRAVEL WITH
Instead of carrying around hoards of books I used the Amazon Kindle. It only cost me £69 and I absolutely love it! It doesn’t take up any space in my bag so I tend to take it everywhere with me. It’s great on the road because it stays charged for weeks and I can download loads of books from the Kindle Store, meaning I never run out on long bus journeys! Some people ask me why I don’t just use an iPad. An iPad has glare and hurts my eyes after a while, whereas the kindle is designed with a matte finish like a book.
After switching from the HTC Desire Android phone to an Apple iPhone, I won’t be going back! I am a big fan of Apple products. The iPhone 5 has a great camera, is really easy to use and works well with my Macbook Pro. I love being able to sync everything. When I had an Android phone I found it started running slow after a while (a bit like Windows!) and the apps were never as well-designed as the iPhone apps.
The Dakine Split Wheelie is a fantastic bag for travel! It’s really durable, rolls really smoothly and opens out into two separate parts. I love being able to put my belongings in individual compartments so I can easily find them. I put my clothes in the one side, and my shoes, toiletries and accessories in the other side so everything is nice and neat. I am only small at 5ft tall so I find it difficult to carry backpacks, so I would much rather just roll my bag along! You can read more about the Dakine roller bag in my post about it here.
In addition to my Dakine wheelie bag I use a Swissgear Mythos Backpack as my hand luggage. This backpack has a laptop compartment at the back for my Macbook Pro, which keeps it nice and secure. This also makes it really easy to whip my laptop out at the airport when I go through security. There is a secret little compartment at the top where I put my passport, iPod and iPhones, then a main compartment where I store all my cameras and video cameras. The front pocket has plenty of slots for pens and other bits and bobs. It’s really durable, and has plenty of padding so that it never hurts my back. I wrote about it here and you can also read my tips for backpacking with a laptop.
Most of the photos you see on this site are taken with a Nikon D90 digital SLR with an 18-105mm kit lens. I edit my photos using Adobe Photoshop. I know some people love Canon cameras because they are a bit lighter and smaller, but I quite like the rugged feeling of the Nikon body. Plus I am so used to Nikon cameras that I wouldn’t really want to switch. I recently bought a 50mm 1.8D lens which I want to use for portraits and food shots, as they give that nice “Bokeh” blurry effect in the background.
The Chargekey is the world’s smallest charging cable. I hangs on my keychain so I no longer have to carry around messy wires and cables!
MY FAVOURITE TRAVEL SITES
Flight Centre- With Flight Centre you can search for cheap international and domestic flights. They provide a lowest airfare guarantee, meaning they will beat any comparable quote. They also provide holiday packages and travel guides to numerous destinations.
Skyscanner – I use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights available. What I love about them is the ‘everywhere’ option, which allows you to search for the cheapest destinations to fly to. That’s great if you’re keeping your options open and you just want to go anywhere for cheap. If your dates are flexible, you can also search by month, which a lot of flight booking engines don’t let you do.
STA Travel- I often use STA Travel when I’m booking flights because they get cheap deals for students and people under 26. I booked a one-way flight from Kuala Lumpur to London for £207, and a return flight from Manchester to Brisbane for £856. I also booked a return flight from London to New York for £367.
HOTELS & ACCOMMODATION
Hilton Hotels- I’ve stayed in Hilton Hotels all over the world including the Hilton in my home town of Manchester. You can currently travel to great destinations in Asia Pacific from as little as US$63 (£40UK). The region includes everywhere from French Polynesia, New Zealand and Australia all the way up to China and Japan. Hilton are also running a summer sale where you can save up to 33% across Europe, Middle East & Africa.
Hostelworld.com - I use Hostelworld when I’m looking for hostels and cheap accommodation. Why do I like them? They make some great downloadable guides, their website is really easy to use, and they have a great selection of hostels. If for some reason your bed isn’t available when you get to your accommodation, Hostelworld will credit you with $50 towards your next booking.
Expedia- I have used Expedia several times to book hotels, especially on my trip around the United States. I like their Secret Saver deals, where you know the star rating, the amenities and the location, but not the name of the hotel. You can often get some good deals this way. I booked a hotel for Oktoberfest in Munich this way, and I ended up getting a sweet hotel for a decent price, right next to the festival (It’s so expensive to find accommodation during Oktoberfest!)
Hotels.com- This is another hotel booking site I use. They have a huge selection of hotels, good rates, and they reward you for your loyalty by offering a free night’s stay for every 10 nights booked at a qualifying Welcome Rewards Hotel.
Agoda- Agoda is a fantastic booking site for accommodation in Asia. I found myself using this one a lot when I was traveling around Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.
Man in Seat 61- The Man in Seat 61 is a fantastic, comprehensive website of train systems around the world. If you need to get somewhere, this website has timetables, pictures of the trains, and detailed information. One of the best resources on the Internet for sure!
WIFI & INTERNET
Tep Wireless- With Tep Wireless you don’t have to worry about those huge data roaming fees. They rent out pocket Wi-Fi devices so you can connect to the Internet wherever you go. For more info, read my review of their handy little devices.
Cruiseabout- Cruise About lets you search over 5,000 cruises around the world using their handy search tool. They’ll let you sail free if they can’t beat any cruise quote.
Travel Associates- Travel Associates can arrange all sorts of tailor-made holiday experiences including food tours, overwater bungalows, skiing holidays, honeymoons and indulgent escapes. You can also click on their ‘inspire me’ tab for some unique ideas if you’re not sure where to go.
French with Michel Thomas- I find the Michel Thomas very good and would highly recommend his French with Michel Thomas audio tapes. There are no books, there’s no writing and you’re not expected to do any homework- just sit and listen to the tape on your iPod and join in the class. It’s a really good method if you want to speak a language at a proficient level.
Rosetta Stone- Rosetta Stone is a very popular online language learning course that teaches you a language without translations, so you speak the language from day 1. Read more about learning languages with my 20+ tips for learning a language.
MY FAVOURITE TOOLS FOR BLOGGING
I’m a big fan of Woo Themes and this site’s theme is their Canvas Theme. Woo is really easy to use, with great looking designs that are very easy to customise using the interface in WordPress. They offer support if you have any problems or questions, and you can either purchase a standard package, developer package or you can join their theme club with a monthly subscription.
For web hosting, I run most of my websites on Hostgator. I have the Baby Croc plan, which allows me to run unlimited domains and starts at $6.36 per month. No-one wants to spend a fortune on web hosting, and I find Hostgator to be good value. I don’t have outages or problems with it, and if I have any questions I like their live chat feature, which allows you to talk to someone ASAP. They also have 1-click installation of WordPress, which makes it very easy to set up.
While I use Hostgator for most of my sites, Pommie Travels runs on a separate hosting account with Bluehost. I don’t believe in expensive web hosting, and I find Bluehost are good with price plans starting as low as $4.95 per month. I was previously unhappy with my service from Hostmonster as there were always outages, so I switched to Bluehost and haven’t had any trouble.
I use MailChimp for my email campaigns because it is completely FREE if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. You can send your subscribers up to 12,000 emails per month without paying a dime, and really, who needs to send 12,000?! It’s really easy to design and compose email campaigns with their interface. However if I develop more than 2,000 subscribers I may move over to Aweber.
Aweber is another great service for creating email lists and this is the one that most bloggers use. If you plan to have a larger number of subscribers, then I recommend you use Aweber. They have good pricing plans and plenty of email templates to get you started. I use this one a lot when working with clients and it has some brilliant reporting tools.
I use OptinSkin for my newsletter signup forms, and to be honest, I don’t know what I did without it! OptinSkin is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to create attractive looking forms with a range of highly customisable designs. You can have them appear anywhere on the page with just one click; at the top or bottom of your posts, in the sidebar, or as a lightbox when a user visits your site. You can also split test them to see what works best! It works with all the major email marketing services like Aweber, Google Feeburner, Mailchimp, iContact etc. It currently costs $67 and comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I genuinely use all the products that are listed on this page and recommend them because they rock and I find them to be useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you buy something. If you are ready to book your trip then using these links will help to support this website and keep it going. If you have any questions about the companies/products I use, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.