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• SKYSCANNER. I always check flights on Skyscanner first, to see who has the best deal. Skyscanner is fantastic. You can look at flights EVERYWHERE if you have dates but no destination. You can also choose direct flights only and you can see monthly overviews to pick the cheapest time to fly. I am the biggest Skyscanner fangirl. In saying that though, once I’ve checked out the deals on Skyscanner, I always book my flights directly through the airline’s official website, in case something goes wrong.
• AIRLINES. As a budget traveller, I usually opt for the cheapest flight, which is usually always with a low-cost airline. In Australia, Jetstar is the only option for me if I want to fly direct from Melbourne to Townsville, and they are a part of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, so I mostly fly with them. If money wasn’t a concern, I would fly solely with Qantas. Overseas, I’ve had good experiences with airlines like Norwegian Air and Westjet. The only budget airlines I don’t love are Tigerair and Scoot, which coincidentally merged with Tiger in 2017.
• HOSTELWORLD. Hostelworld is my go-to accommodation option. It allows you to sort your searches according to room type, ratings, distance from the city centre and more. I also always read the reviews on Hostelworld. There’s been only one time in 50+ hostel stays where the hostel’s direct website had a cheaper price, and that was because it was an autumn deal if you stayed longer than three nights.
Read this post for all of my hostelling tips
• COUCHSURFING. Looking for an even cheaper option than Hostelworld? I personally surfed a few couches during my trip around North America in 2014. I stayed only with female hosts who had excellent reviews, and I had some really fun experiences. They also host events and you can use the website to meet people in different cities, if you’re travelling solo.
• AIRBNB. I’ve written a post on my Airbnb experience, but I’ve used it as both a solo traveller, and with friends and family. I highly recommend it for group travel. If you use my link to sign up for the first time, you get $55 AUD off your first trip.
• BOOKING.COM. Although I rarely stay in hotels when I am travelling solo, I always use Booking.com for family trips. My mum is the biggest fan, as they have an excellent cancellation policy and the best hotel rates. If you want to make sure you’re getting the cheapest price, I also recommend checking out another booking website like HotelsCombined. It never hurts to get a second opinion.
• WORLD NOMADS. World Nomads has a world-class reputation when it comes to travel insurance. For my extended trips, I always turn to World Nomads for my insurance.
• TRAVEL INSURANCE DIRECT. For fellow Aussies, I find that Travel Insurance Direct has the most affordable travel insurance covers. I usually use them when I am doing short overseas trips, for peace of mind.
• VIATOR TOURS. For day trips, Viator is always my first stop. The reputable worldwide company honestly has too many tour options sometimes!
• TOURRADAR. As I’ve mentioned, I like to make sure I’m getting the best deal (#thebudgetlife). So if you’re looking at group tours, Tourradar is a great website to visit before putting down the big bucks. I’ve had several friends use Topdeck as an alternative to Contiki and they’ve loved their tours as well.
• HOSTMETRO. I’ve been using Hostmetro as my website host for the last few years. I’ve found their support to be fast and helpful, as I’ve emailed them a lot over the years. I also think their pricing is very affordable, if your site is still quite small like mine. Another alternative, which you’ll hear a lot of bloggers mention, is Bluehost. I was with Bluehost before I found Hostmetro and its cheaper prices.
• TAILWIND. If you want to increase your blog’s pageviews, look into Pinterest. My second biggest daily referral, I use Pinterest personally whenever I’m researching an upcoming trip. To get the most out of my Pinterest account, I use Tailwind. The small yearly fee pays for itself, seriously. I professed my love for Tailwind in this post, but basically it allows you to schedule pins, join Tribes and re-pin your best performing content. I couldn’t recommend it more.
• BLOG BOOST. Blog Boost is the only blogging course I’ve ever done, but I’m still implementing the tips I learned in this course to Hayley on Holiday. Rachel is a fellow travel blogger and Melbourne local, who discusses SEO, collaborations, monetisation and more. If you’re an intermediate blogger like myself and want to take your blog to the next level, Blog Boost is the course for you.
• KINDLE. I cannot travel overseas without my Kindle. If you like to read and travel, you have to get a Kindle. When I’m at home, I rely on library books. But when travelling, I don’t want four or five books taking up pressure space and weight in my suitcase. Trust me, a Kindle will change your bookworm life.
• SONY A5000. I purchased this camera in 2017 and it has been such a worthwhile purchase. Although there are newer models now, if you want a decent camera with interchangeable lenses, I recommend this baby.
• NIKON D3200. This is another older model camera, but it still works! My Nikon was my first DSLR camera. Nowadays, I usually use my Nikon with a 50mm lens only and take all other photos with my Sony. I love the photos I’ve captured with this lens.