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.
Compare Travel Insurance is a site that helps you get the best travel insurance by comparing different brands. Their Ultimate Guide to Travel Insurance shows you what’s included in a typical policy and which six steps to keep in mind when choosing cover for your trip. The guide also provides you with some really useful tips to help you find the best cover available for your holiday.
MoneyCorp is a great company for travelers. It offers several solutions for travelers: online money exchange followed by a cash pickup, and prepaid international cards. Both of these alternatives will help travelers exchange currency for much better rates than what banks provide. TransferWise is geared at people who want to send international wire transfers for cheap. Remittance, bill payment, or just personal transfers from 1 Euro are available with this platform. Fees are minimal, compared to banks charging 25 Dollars / Euros, per transfer.
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.
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.
In Luggage – In Luggage is an online luggage retailer that stocks brands such as Antler, Samsonite, Paklite and American Tourister. They offer a wide-range of authentic name-brand suitcases, backpacks and travel accessories for an affordable price. If you are a travel junkie like me, you would agree that this site is a traveller’s paradise.
World Baggage – World Baggage is a specialised excess baggage company that offers an easy, fast and affordable way to send your goods to your destination of choice. They offer different service options such as air freight, sea freight and courier to door services, as well as insurance, pick-ups, secure bag wrapping and storage. Head over to their site now to get an online quote!
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!
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.
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.
I’m a big fan of Woo Themes, particularly 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. If you need to set up P2P file sharing abroad I suggest looking into a VPN for torrenting. Some countries are really pesky about this sort of thing.
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.