Which companies do I use to plan my trips?
From accommodation to flight booking and buying gear, below is a list of all the websites I do check out when planning all my travel, and I recommend you use them as well.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that, if you click on any them and purchase any of their services, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This means that, if you want to support my website, you can use any of the links below every time you book a hotel, a flight, or purchase your travel insurance. These small earnings help me maintain and keep improving Against the Compass.
BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE
Cheaper than World Nomads. The coverage is lower, obviously, but they do cover travel in many countries (covered in this blog) that World Nomads doesn't: Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Sudan. Book it through my link and get a 5% discount.
For budget backpackers, this is the cheapest insurance company (with in-depth coverage though) covering destinations from pretty much around the world (not Iran though). Buy it through my link and get a 7% discount.
WHERE DO I LOOK FOR ACCOMMODATION
I don't like Airbnb, but I have to admit that it's very convenient. I use it for longer stays and when I want to get a full apartment. If you create a new profile through my link, you can get a voucher for your next stay.
GUIDEBOOKS FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP
Lonely Planet is not as good as Bradt in my opinion, but still is a great introduction to the country and they have the largest range. I use Lonely Planet as a mere first introduction to the country
MOBILE APPS I USE THE MOST
This is the app I use the most: Maps.me offers extremely detailed offline maps of all the countries in the world. It is very visual and more user-friendly than Google Maps, plus all maps can be edited by travelers and backpackers.
The best tool to communicate with non-English-speaking locals. It also has an option that allows you to translate printed text (like a restaurant menu) by taking a photo of it. You can download all dictionaries offline.
WHERE I BUY MY TRAVEL GEAR
WHERE I BOOK FLIGHTS
A Virtual Private Network allows you to connect to a different server and IP, making your connection private and secure. It also allows you to access websites blocked in your current location (useful for Iran, China, or Saudi Arabia).
No matter where I travel to, with N26 I never, ever pay any commission, not even on the exchange rate. However, banking is always a very local thing and so far, it is only available for citizens of the EU.
BOOK A TOUR
I don't tend to travel in a tour-party but, occasionally, I do, especially when there is no other choice. I like GYG because you can book any tour with just one click. I used them for my Chernobyl tour.