This is a short list of resources we use when we travel. Although no list of travel resources can be complete, this resource list is compiled solely of things we have personally used to make our travel easier, cheaper, safer, and more fun. Everything recommended on this page is something we actually use and can unabashedly recommend.
Just so you know, some of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means if you decide to purchase any of the products we suggest here, we will receive a small commission. Note: there is no extra charge to if you if you decide to purchase a product that we have an affiliate relationship with. Please remember that we have personally used all of these products and companies we list below and recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because we make any small commission. Don’t spend any money on them unless you think they will help you achieve your travel goals.
Table of Contents
Booking your travel
Google Flights: When we’re looking at flying somewhere, we always start with Google Flights to get an idea of costs and schedules. Google Flights is not completely comprehensive. For example some airlines such as Southwest don’t show up in Google Flight results. So, after using Google Flights for an overall picture, be sure to check the site of any airline you think may have flights where you’re going.
Eurail: We are big fans of European trains, and if we’re going to be traveling around a bit, we always get a Eurail pass. There are lots of Eurail alternatives, including how long you’ll be traveling, how many days within that time you’ll be traveling, and whether you’re going to multiple countries or staying in one. All of those are considerations you’ll need to know before you buy your Eurail pass. Also, keep in mind that sometimes you’ll need to also reserve your seats, which you’ll have to do with each individual national train company. But, often too, you can just show up and get on a train and show your pass to the conductor.
Hotels.com and Booking.com: We use two hotel booking sites regularly: Hotels.com and Booking.com. Both are excellent and both have their advantages. We always check both for the best price. One thing we like about Hotels.com in particular is their 10 percent booking bonus. When you book 10 hotel nights, you get a coupon worth a discount on one hotel night valued at the average price of the 10 nights you booked.
Credit card and more
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: We have several credit cards, but the one we absolutely use the most for travel is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The benefits of the Sapphire Preferred are extensive, and include, among other things, the ability to buy Apple products with your points. But as far as travel goes, the best benefit is that when you redeem points for travel, you get a 25 percent bonus. In other words, a $500 flight costs you only $400 worth of points. There’s an 80,000 point bonus currently (as of April 2022) on offer for signup, which is worth $1000 in travel. This is really the one you shouldn’t leave home without.
Wise: Wise, formerly known as Transfer Wise is the easiest and cheapest way to wire money internationally. There are times when it’s cheaper to pay by wire than by credit card, and this is what Wise is for. It’s easy to set up and, once you do, it’s even easier to use. We have used it when an international vendor adds a credit card surcharge to cover their fees. Wise is way cheaper.
Backpacks and bags
Osprey backpacks: We’ve tried lots of backpacks, but we keep coming back to Osprey for their combination of features, light weight, and durability. You can see these posts more discussions of why we choose Osprey for day hiking packs and for cycling packs. We love them.
Fjallraven: We’ve lately been very partial to the Fjallraven brand of small backpacks and other carryon luggage. We’re currently carrying the Kanken mini backpack for Kris, and the small duffel for Tom. The duffel is big enough to fit a tripod and walking sticks if you need to check that stuff, and, if you’re not carrying “non-checkable” stuff like that, it will fit as a carry-on. P.S. We also wear Fjallraven parkas in the Minnesota winter. Swedes and Minnesotans know how to stay warm.
Unbound Merino: Easily our best discovery in travel clothing in the last 10 years is merino wool. We’re very partial the the Unbound Merino brand. I travel with three t-shirts, which obviously saves a lot of luggage room. Also, because merino doesn’t retain odor, you can wear the shirts repeatedly. When they do need a wash, you can wash them in your sink, hang them in the bathroom, and they’ll be dry in the morning.
Patagonia: When it comes to outerwear, especially rain gear, we’ve both been advocates of Patagonia gear forever. It’s durable, packable, and it just works. It’s one of the layers we always bring.
REI Outfitters: REI is the go-to outlet for all things outdoors. We’ve bought everything from backpacks to tents to headlamps to hiking shoes to, well, you name it. If you can, go to a store because their associates really know what they’re talking about. If you can’t get there in person, they’ve got a great website, which also has a lot of good advice.
Apps for your computer and phone
Nord VPN: If you are not concerned about the security of your browsing and identity when you are traveling and using public wifi, you should be. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, routes your online activity through a server other than the public one you are connected to, thereby encrypting your data. Be safe, use a VPN. They are very easy to set up, and once you do, they automatically protect you. They’re also useful to connecting to a site in your home country, which you may need to do at times for certain websites.
Tripit.com: We use the Tripit app extensively. It’s one convenient place to keep records of all your travel arrangements past, present, and future. It could not be simpler to use. Just forward any confirmation email you get from airline, hotel, or whatever, and Tripit handles it. The other great feature is it automatically notifies you of any changes to your itinerary, such as flight delays or gate changes. We love it.
Here is a more comprehensive list of the apps we use when traveling.
Cameras and Photography
BH Photo and Video: The legendary New York store is the choice for professionals and serious amateurs everywhere. Simply put, the have the largest inventory, the best prices, and great, detailed product reviews from expert users. And, if you cant get the info you need on their website, they’ve got number you can call to talk to an expert in any area. We have bought about 90 percent of our camera equipment from BH.
Adobe Lightroom: Once you take the photos, you are going to want to process (develop) them. Of course, these days, that means digital, and Adobe Lightroom is the professional’s and serious amateur’s choice for making your photos pop. You can buy any number of plans from Adobe that include Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere (for video editing) and all the other Adobe products. Or, you can just pick and choose. BTW, Adobe saves all your uploaded photos online. That’s a great, included, backup service.
Smugmug: Once you process your photos, you’re going to want to show them off…and maybe even sell them. Smugmug is what we use for that. You can see our Smugmug travel photo site here. An added bonus is that Smugmug saves your processed photos online, providing an essential backup of your work.
We have a constantly changing list of gadgets you need for travel. Chargers, adapters, cables, clothing, you name it. It is Amazon, after all. And, Amazon wants us to remind you: gf you buy something from this list, as an Amazon affiliate, Travel Past 50 receives a small commission at no extra cost to you.