I may have mentioned several times in my previous posts that I’m not a fan of tour packages. I prefer planning my trips on my own and to be honest, it is not that easy planning for a trip. But there are several travel resources that helped me a lot in my previous trips, especially when I did my backpacking trip last year. Below are my go-to travel resources and websites whenever I do my travel planning for Southeast Asia.
Travel Resources for Booking Transportation
Baolau is a multi-transport travel search engine for East Asia and Southeast Asia. With this site, you can find the best routes and compare hundreds of transport options. I used this site to book bus and train tickets in Vietnam and Cambodia and never had any problems. They send tickets by email very quickly, and you can use Paypal or credit card to pay for your tickets.
Traveloka is one of Southeast Asia’s leading travel booking sites. You can book flights, hotels and airport transfers with them. I have been using their app for flights since it was introduced to me by a colleague three years ago. What I love about the app is that you can see the lowest flight rates in a calendar format so you can see the dates where airfares are cheap. Also, the app gives you a list of flights with the corresponding prices for a certain destination and you can sort it by price. Also, most of the time the airfare is cheaper with them than when you book directly to the airline’s website.
Travel Resources for Booking Accommodations
Booking.com is a digital travel company with over 6.2 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. You can also book airport taxi and rent a car in the app/website. I used Booking.com several times to book hostels in Thailand and Singapore. What I like about them is that most of their properties offer free cancellation until three days before check-in. They also have a loyalty program called Genius wherein the more you stay with them, the more travel rewards you get.
You’ll be awarded Genius Level 1 if you had two stays with them within two years. With this level, you get a 10% base-rate discount on your succeeding bookings. You’ll get to Genius Level 2 if you had five stays within two years. With this level, you get a 15% base-rate discount, free breakfast on selected options, and free room upgrade on selected options.
Browse Booking.com by property type:
Agoda is an online travel agency and metasearch engine for hotels, vacation rentals, flights, and airport transfer. It is very popular in Southeast Asia and I have used it many times to book my hotels and hostels and never encountered any issues. Like Booking.com, Agoda also has a loyalty program called AgodaVIP. You qualify if you complete 5 or more bookings in the last 2 years. Agoda VIP members receive the best possible rates and discounts and these deals are highlighted by the Agoda VIP badge in the app/website.
Airbnb is an online marketplace where you can rent local apartments or a spare room. I rarely use this as I prefer staying in hostels, but I used it during my trip to Bali as it is a good resource to find beautiful villas in Bali.
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Hostelworld is an online booking platform that is focused on hostels. I have never booked with them because I find them more expensive than Booking.com and Agoda but I check their website to see which hostels are available in the area that I am visiting, then I look for that property in either Booking.com or Agoda.
Travel Resources for Activities
Klook is a booking platform that sells travel activities and services across Asia. I used it to book activities in Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, and Hanoi. You can also purchase Simcard or rent portable wifi with them. What I love about Klook is that they offer Join-in Tours for activities that are too expensive if you’re going to do it alone, making it perfect for solo travelers. Also, they sell tickets at a cheaper price (tried and tested in Singapore and Bali), and booking with them is very convenient. No need to wait in line to buy tickets as they’ll send you the ticket in your email after completing your booking.
Aside from accommodations, Airbnb also offers one-of-a-kind activities designed and hosted by locals. You can find these activities in Airbnb Experiences.
Travel Resource for Travel Insurance
Not many people include travel insurance when planning their travel thinking that it’s just a waste of money. But you never know when an accident will happen. The amount of money you spend on travel insurance is worth the peace of mind.
World Nomads is one of the most recommended travel insurance in the world. You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from over 130 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. I bought travel insurance from World Nomads when I did the climb to Mt. Kinabalu and luckily I didn’t have to use it.