© 2018 by Two Shades of Travel. Los Angeles, Ca 

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9 Travel Planning Resources


Skyscanner - We used skyscanner to book all of our flights for our trip. The site is easy to use, has an app available for download and is essential for budget-friendly traveling. For our trip, even if we knew the country we wanted to go to next, we were pretty flexible with our travel dates, so we loved that we could view tickets for the whole month and choose the cheapest day to travel. Another feature we loved was the 'everywhere' feature. For the times when, where we went next didn't matter as much, we could put our starting location in and use the everywhere search feature to pick our next destination based on ticket price. They have roundtrip, one-way and multi-city options for traveling. Skyscanner is great for international or domestic travel and can help take some of the headache out of searching for flights.


Rome2rio -- Rome2rio is an amazing site because it combines all modes of transportation to show you the fastest and/or cheapest route you can take. We were addicted to this site when we were planning our trip because sometimes flying is not your cheapest option. Sometimes you have to switch buses twice and then take a train to reach your destination but you'll save $200 and see two other countries in the process. They have an app available for download in case you need to plan something on the go! Whether your goal is to save money or time or both, this site will help you plan out the best route and mode of transportation. They recently added travel guides to their site to help give you a little more information about your destinations.


Visit A City -- If you are a first-time traveler like we were, you will love this site because it will help you make the most of your visit! Not only do they have itineraries ready for you to use, but if you're more hands-on like us, you can create your own and share it with anyone coming on the trip with you! They have important information for most major attractions in a city such as operating hours, history, peak times and ticket pricing. One of our favorite features is that it will alert you when you have a scheduling conflict, such as planning to visit an attraction outside of operating hours. It makes planning your time in a new city seem less intimidating and more fun! We especially loved it when we went to Paris! We were so worried about fitting everything in but the more we played with the itinerary on the site, the more we realized how easy we could see all we wanted. It not only lists out your activities but it also shows you on a map so that you can plan your day in a way that makes sense geographically.


Airbnb -- At this point, everyone has heard of or used Airbnb. It is a great way to experience a city like a local. We prefer Airbnb to hotels because as much as we love room service, we love the privacy and comfort of having our own apartment even more. In some cities, the options range from very affordable to omg that is a castle. Sometimes we have had to opt for a hotel because we couldn't find anything we felt comfortable with, in our price range. If you can get family and friends to use the code that Airbnb gives you, you can rack up credit and get discounts on your rooms! We have stayed in some amazing places from a beautiful studio apartment in Montmartre to a top floor apartment with a view of the Acropolis in Athens. Where you stay can definitely make or break your experience and we have never been disappointed with an Airbnb pick.


Travel/Holiday Pirates: If you like travel deals, you will love Travel Pirates! Depending on what country you're interested in, you may be using a different format such as Holiday Pirates for European travel. They have deals for all-inclusive resorts, adults-only vacations, cruise deals, and flight packages. Depending on where you want to go, you could book your flights, hotels, and excursions all with the help of Travel Pirates! They find amazing deals and packages and bring them all to you! We highly recommend using them if you're planning a group trip but they have amazing solo and couple deals as well!


Atlas Obscura -- Sitting around wondering what to do is literally the last thing you want to do on vacation. Most places have popular attractions that everybody knows of but we love finding the lesser known, off the beaten path, strange and unusual places. One of the best sites for finding oddities in a city is Atlas Obscura. Before we visit anywhere, we check with this site to find things we have never heard of. We never would've known Galileo's middle finger was at the Museo Galileo had we not have checked Atlas first! We ended up making that our first stop in Florence! Atlas Obscura made every city even more interesting!


Busradar: If we needed to take a bus or train then we would always check busradar for our options. This is the only site on our list that only works in Europe. This site also has an app that makes it easy to book things while on the road. We like how easy the site is to use and found it cut down on a lot of our research time because it compares so many different companies. It finds your options for you and will take you directly to the bus/ train company's site for you to book.


Bagbnb -- Long layovers are awesome because you can leave the airport or station and check out the city you're stopped in! It's like a mini vacation! If for some reason you end up with your luggage during your layover, you have a couple of options that do not include hauling it around with you. Of course, if the station or airport has a bag drop, that would be your first and most convenient option. However, if you find there is no bag drop available, try downloading Bagbnb. It came in handy for us in Athens when Ryan's cousins came to visit. We were able to leave their big luggage at a designated business while we all took an overnight ferry to Crete. Instead of people, businesses sign up through the app and you leave your luggage instead of yourself. As it gains popularity, I'm sure it will be even more convenient. For us, it was an affordable and safe option to not have our luggage interfere with our trip.


Culture Trip -- This site/ app is another great resource if you are looking for advice on what to eat and do in a city. We used Culture Trip mainly for food and drink suggestions because they have numerous top 10 lists ranging from 'The Best Souvlaki in Athens' to 'The Best Craft Beer Bars in Bucharest'. I was able to find suggestions for every meal and it never disappointed. They offer so much more than just food, however, with topics ranging from art to travel guides to music and lifestyle. You can spend hours exploring their site and soaking up everything you want to know about an area.