Trying to decide which companies to book your trip with? Over the last 15 years of travel, I’ve used hundreds of companies. Some have been great, some have been awful.
Below is a list of those I come back to time and time again. They are the exact ones I use when I am booking my travel. I’m a firm believer in them — that’s why they are listed. They are the best out there and continually offer superior deals. Use them to book your trips too!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, including the HostGator link. By using the links in this post, help support this website. At no extra cost to you, we’ll earn a small commission from each booking that will allow us to keep content up to date, run events, create new guides and stories, and maintain the website. I use all the companies listed here and recommend them because they’ve made my travels better. If you have any questions about the companies, email me.
This is my all-time favorite flight search engine. It always seems to find the best deals, and its calendar view lets you see which days are cheapest to fly. I like it because it searches the small booking sites no one else does. Start all your flight searches here.
This company is a leader in round-the-world tickets. Its booking engine will allow you to construct itineraries using multiple airlines, so you can piece together the best deals. And its staff is excellent and really knows their stuff! Win-win!
This great website searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Skyscanner, I’ll also check this site too as a way to compare prices.
Google Flights lets you enter your departure airport and see flights all over the world on a map so you can determine where the cheapest destination is. It’s a good search engine to get a sense of routes, connections, and fares.
This is the best hostel-accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and highest availability. I use it for all my hostel bookings. And, since it bought its competitor Hostelbookers, it really is the only game in town.
Booking.com probably has the widest selection of budget accommodation in the world (it is especially good for listings in developing countries). In our research, it consistently found the cheapest rooms. I also like its easy-to-use interface and no-money-down policy.
This website should be your primary accommodation website for guesthouses and hotels in Asia. It has the most robust inventory and offers the best rates. When I travel around Asia, I always use it.
This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a wonderful way to save money while also meeting locals. Even if you don’t want to stay with someone, you can always find incredibly fun meet-ups through the app.
Trusted Housesitters is a platform that connects you with people in need of pet and house sitters. In exchange for looking after their pets or home, you’ll get access to free accommodation. It’s an amazing resource for long-term travelers looking to travel slow.
This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. It’s constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and so I’m glad it finally exists. Use code NOMADICMATT for 25% off!
Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. It has cheap monthly plans, first-rate customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
This is one of the oldest insurance companies out there that specializes in products for long-term travelers. It has competitive prices, in-depth coverage, and super customer service.
Medjet membership is a very affordable option for those who are going to be far from home and want added evacuation coverage. It’s great for solo travelers too.
Insure My Trip is a wholesaler that helps you compare prices so you can buy the one that’s best for you. While I love World Nomads, they only insure people up to 70 years old so if you are 70 or over, use Insure My Trip.
RVshare is like Airbnb for RVs. You can browse privately owned RVs all around the country, find one that suits your needs and budget, and then rent it directly from the owner. It’s super affordable and makes RVing easy and accessible.
If you are going to Europe and taking a lot of trains, get a rail pass. I’ve used one three times and saved hundreds of dollars each time. The math just works. I book direct with Eurail and suggest you do too. You can read about my experience using rail passes by clicking this link.
This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. It has the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic trip by rail, consult this site.
This website shows you how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. Just enter your departure and arrival destinations and it will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there, as well as how much they cost. One of the best transportation website out there!
This company works voodoo magic and searches the web for the cheapest cruises on the web, sometimes as low as $27 a night. This may not be your typical cruising website, but a deal is a deal. It’s especially good for repositioning cruises across oceans.
BlaBlaCar lets you share rides with vetted local drivers in exchange for pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve you, and off you go! It’s a cheap and much more interesting way to get from point A to point B than by bus or train!
The Japan Rail Pass is a flexible transportation pass used for navigating Japan. Similar to the Eurail pass in Europe, it turns expensive bullet trains into budget-friendly modes of transportation. You honestly can’t visit Japan without one.
Intrepid is my go-to company for small-group tours, as it uses expert guides and focuses on leaving a small environmental footprint. I love its trips and the company’s ethos. As a reader of this site, you can get discounts too!
One of my favorite walking tour companies, Walks offers in-depth history, food, and cultural tours in cities around the world (especially Europe). Its small-group tours are curated and tend to offer exclusive behind-the-scenes access other companies can’t get.
EatWith allows you to eat home-cooked meal with locals. Every host sets their own price (so they can vary wildly, depending on the cook), but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local’s brain, and make a new friend.
Fat Tire Tours offers bike tours to popular attractions throughout Europe and the US. It’s one of my favorite bike tour companies. (The tours are pretty popular, so try to book in advance.)
Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. The site has tons of tour options in cities all around the world, including cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
Devour has all kinds of amazing food tours around Europe. If you’re a foodie who wants to learn more about the history and culture behind each dish, these tours are for you!
Travel Credit Cards
This is my favorite premium rewards card, as it includes a ton of amazing perks for avid travelers. It’s the supercharged version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and is a good choice for serious points collectors.
This is a superb choice for people who are looking for general rewards but might want a wider range of transfer partners. There are perks for avid travelers and substantial point bonuses for hotel stays as well.
This is my go-to card for all of my business expenses. The bonuses on travel and office expenses really add up. If you’re looking for low-fee business card with excellent perks, this is the card for you.
This is a terrific all-around card for your everyday spending as well as your travel spending. Since it offers both dining and travel credit, it’s a fine choice for travelers who also enjoy eating out.
This card recently got a makeover from Marriott and now has an impressive welcome offer, as well as some great perks. If hotels are your preferred accommodation, this is the card for you!
This is a good card if you’re a regular Delta customer. You earn 3x on Delta purchases and those made directly with hotels, and 2x at restaurants and supermarkets. If you’re planning to fly Delta often, get this card!
I’ve had the same REI backpack for the last six years, and it’s as good now as it was the day I bought it. REI products will last you a long time. They are hands-down my favorite gear store. You can get anything there. For more on picking the perfect backpack, read this article.
Everyone has their own guidebook preference. Lonely Planet is mine. I like the the guides’ look, organization, light weight, and emphasis on budget travel. Lonely Planet also redesigned its books in 2011, and they are now better organized, with more photos and better maps.
LifeStraw makes BPA-free reusable water bottles with a built-in filter so you can always ensure that your water is clean and safe. It filters 99.99% of bacteria, parasites, and microplastics — all while helping you reduce your reliance on single-use plastic.
Patagonia is an outdoors company that makes quality gear. From raincoats to backpacks to hiking gear, it does it all. Best of all, it works hard to ensure that its products are as sustainable as possible. One percent of all its sales is donated to environmental causes.
If you are looking for a good TEFL class, check out I-to-I. It runs online courses, is cheaper than its competition, is widely recognized, and will help you find a job. I recommend it over any other company if you are looking to get a TEFL certificate.
If you are looking to volunteer while you travel, this website compiles a list of ethical and responsible local organizations that keep money within their communities. This is a tremendous resource for anyone wanting to volunteer overseas.
This book is the best resource for those looking to work on a cruise ship. The author spent close to a decade working on ships, and his book will help you find a job, learn about the application process and how to interview, and much more. It’s the only book I know of that puts the secrets of working on a cruise ship in one place.
HelpX is one of the best places to find work and volunteer opportunities when you travel. It includes farm stays, home stays, B&Bs, hostels, and sailing boats that invite volunteers to stay short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
This is another wonderful job-finding website! Workaway is a lot like HelpX except this website has more paid job opportunities (though it also has volunteer positions too).
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a program that connects you with farms all around the world where you can work in exchange for room and board. It’s a great resource for long-term budget travelers!
Worldpackers offers travelers a chance to find volunteer experiences overseas (much like Workaway and HelpX). In addition to hostels, it can help you find experiences with NGOs, home stays, and eco-projects all over the world!
TEFLPros is a comprehensive platform for getting certified as an ESL teacher. Its courses include quizzes, worksheets, and assignments, and focus heavily on lesson planning and practical skills. (For $25 off the price of the course, use the code “nomadicmatt” at checkout!)
myTEFL offers the standard TEFL programs, but they also help you find a job and provide an additional six months of access to the content, so that you can use it as a resource once you start teaching. (For 35% off the price of your course, use the code “matt35” at checkout!)
Looking to break into travel? I’ve created an online travel media school to teach you the skills you need to succeed in the digital travel space. There are step-by-step courses that feature monthly webinars, teacher feedback, and tons of expert interviews and guest lecturers!
HostGator is my favorite hosting company and great for bloggers just starting out. Its prices are cheap, its servers stay on, and I enjoy its customer service. I still host a few sites there! If you’re looking for a reliable hosting company, I recommend this one.
I’ve been using ConvertKit to send all my emails for years. It has an easy-to-use interface, lets you set up autoresponders and create tags, and has stellar customer service! If you are looking for a straightforward email provider, this is the best one.