Obviously you are here because you love travel and you have come to the right place!
I created this section of Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog to help you find the best accommodation and travel gear,
thanks for stopping by ☺!Below I share my favorite websites to find the best accommodation around the world. You can also find a list of my favorite travel gear and why I love each item on this list, click here to go directly to the travel gear section. In the last section you can find the travel apps and sites I use, both for planning my trip and when I am on the road.
If you are looking for travel planning resources, such as travel budget information or detailed travel itineraries, check out the Phenomenal Globe Travel Planning Library.
I hope these resources will inspire you to travel and help you plan your trips! Please get in touch if you have any questions, I love to hear from you! Happy travels!
It’s a slight obsession of mine to find the perfect accommodation… A beautiful or bad accommodation can really impact your travel experience. Also, I love a good bargain, which is why I spend hours browsing the web trying to find the best price-quality hotels. Here are my favorite accommodation sites.
Best accommodation websites
Important note: if you are traveling in a country where getting cash is an issue, I recommend booking via Agoda. With Agoda you can pay for your accommodation via Paypal or credit card, which significantly reduces your need for cash!
When I’m not staying in hotels I often use Airbnb. Particularly in Europe, I find Airbnb a great alternative to expensive hotels. I’ve stayed at Airbnb accommodations many times and also rented out my own place via Airbnb on several occasions. So far I have nothing but positive experiences with them, both as a guest as well as a host. Get a discount on your first Airbnb stay with this link!
I also started using Homestay, a concept similar to Airbnb but slightly less commercial (for now) and more focused on interaction with the hosts. With this link you get €20 of your first Homestay!
Another site I use every now and then is Hotwire. This website offers (last-minute) deals for hotel chains with empty rooms. How it works? You choose your preferred neighborhood and preferred start rating and browse for deals. You don’t know the name of the hotel you’ll be staying at until you complete your booking. I like the element of surprise, plus, you can get up to a 60% discount! I mostly use Hotwire in (expensive) cities when there are no good Airbnbs available.
Finally, I recently signed up for Trustedhousesitters. Mind you, Trusted Housesitters is not intended as a way to find free accommodation, you have Couchsurfing for that. Trusted Housesitters is a platform for:
• People with pets who want to go on a (short) holiday and are looking for someone to take care of their pet (and house).
• People who love pets and are looking to stay in an area for a longer period of time while take care of someones pets and house.
So far I have done 2 house-sits and I love this slower way of travel. Plus, I can finally give in to my dream of having a house full of cats and dogs by pretending the animals I am taking care are my own…
Check out the complete list of best accommodation I stayed at during my travels here!
I am currently on my second long-term trip around the world and spent a lot of time planning what to take with me and what to leave at home. The most important thing?
DON’T PACK TOO MUCH!
In my opinion the key to smart packing is to bring versatile items and to invest in proper travel gear. Yes, that may cost a little more but good-quality items last longer. Also, there is nothing more annoying than stuff that breaks (always on the wrong moment) or items that just aren’t good enough (like a not so waterproof raincoat). Below you can find my favorite travel gear and why I love these items.
Bags & Stuff
Backpack: I tried out several backpacks in an outdoor store, stuffing it with heavy shop inventory and carrying it around the store. My Deuter ACT Lite 50 + 10 Backpack definitely was the most comfortable, it neatly follows the arc of my back and the straps fit snugly around my hips, making sure I carry most weight there and not on my shoulders. I have been traveling with this bag for 3 years and hiked the Everest Base Camp track with it so trust me, it’s thoroughly tested!
Flight bag: I highly recommend to use a flight bag, it helps to prevent damage to your backpack. All the loose straps of your backpack can easily get caught on a luggage belt, the rail of a jeepney, etc. Zipping your backpack in a flight bag streamlines and protects your bag and keeps it clean when it’s shoved on the roof of yet another local and slightly dirty bus. While my backpack is still in good shape, I’m currently on my second flight bag (granted, I traveled a lot in the last couple of years).
Daypack: I use my Nomad Topaz 20liter bag every day because I LOVE IT. It is the perfect size, for traveling but also for work because it fits my 14-inch work laptop without a problem. I used this bag for the three day hike through the Banaue rice terraces and for many weekend trips, like my trips to Sardinia and the Azores. It is big enough to fit clothes for a long weekend and has convenient elastic pockets on both sides. For me it is the perfect bag! It is a Dutch brand, I am not sure if they sell it on Amazon.
Packing cubes: I like being organized which means packing cubes are a must-have for me. I use one cube for tops, one for bottoms and another one for underwear, socks and miscellaneous clothing items. These packing cubes are very similar to the ones I have (I bought mine at Decathlon in the Netherlands).
TSA travel lock: I put a lock through the zippers of my flight bag. I know this won’t stop people from slashing through my flight bag and backpack with a knife if they really want to, but at least it puts up a bit of a barrier.
Travel sheet: a travel sheet is like a lightweight cotton sleeping bag and perfect for dodgy hostels/night bus/night train/night boat/etc. It’s tiny and weights next to nothing.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mattress: this mattress is the best! It weighs just 540 grams and packs up into a 22 x 12 x 12 cm roll. Most important: it’s comfortable! In general, I hate sleeping on air mattresses because they are squeaky, bouncy and cold. But not this one, in fact, it’s said to keep you warm even if the outside temperature is -30 degrees Celsius. Why anyone would go camping in that weather is beyond me, but theoretically I have the perfect mattress for it ?.
Sleeping bag: I am still looking for the perfect sleeping bag… It needs to be lightweight and small, but it has to be warm enough as well. I currently have this one from Bever Sport (a Dutch outdoor shop) but in the freezing temperatures of Hokkaido it wasn’t warm enough. I should probably get a 4 season sleeping bag instead…
Lowa Lady Light GTX: for my trip to Japan I packed these B grade hiking shoes as I did multiple long hikes over demanding terrain and I absolutely love them. From the moment I put them on they felt really comfortable but sturdy enough for heavier hikes.
Teva Tirra: I wear these sandals all the time, they are soooo comfy and give proper foot support.
Travel adapter: carry this in your hand luggage so you can use it on airports etc.
Mobile phone: I currently own an iPhone 6s and I absolutely love the quality of the pictures! That being said, I recently invested in a DSLR camera!
Nikon D3300: After years of traveling with just my phone I finally invested in an actual camera. I wanted to be able to take pictures of wildlife, the Milky Way and improve my photography skills in general. So far I’m loving it! I invested in a kit including a telephoto lens and some other gadgets (UV filter, tripod, etc.) too and super excited to learn how to take better pictures.
Kobo Glo e-reader: I love to read! This e-reader is perfect for me, because of the extremely long battery life. Also, I like the screen, it almost makes me feel like I am reading a regular book.
Asus netbook: for years I carried this small and light netbook, perfect for keeping a travel journal and watching movies.
Acer laptop: I recently upgraded to a new laptop because I want to keep the blog running smoothly during my Big Trip. Writing post and editing photos is a lot easier on a bigger screen and faster laptop.
Tep Wireless: I used this convenient little device in Japan, Spain, Croatia and Ireland. It’s a tiny modem that allows you to connect to the internet everywhere in the world (provided there is a signal). You can buy a 24 hour pass with unlimited data for €7 and can connect up to 5 devices. I love to disconnect and be offline, but I like to have the option to look up important information or get in touch with my family and friends in case it’s necessary.
Lonely Planet: I love these guides! Usually the first thing I do when I decide to visit a country is buy a Lonely Planet… I find their sample itineraries perfect for inspiration and love the detailed information about things to see and do.
For my Dutch and Belgian readers, most of these items are also available via Bol.com.
The perfect packing list for every trip
I have written several packing lists for different occasions:
• The Ultimate Packing List For A Long Term Trip
• The Perfect Packing List For The Everest Base Camp Trek
• Camping In Japan: The Perfect Packing List
• Ireland Packing List For A 5 Day Campervan Road Trip In Autumn
• Hiking The Koyasan Choishi Michi Pilgrimage Trail
Best travel apps & sites
Campermate and iOverlander
I love camping, both with a tent or a camper van. To find good camp sites I use two apps: Campermate in New Zealand and iOverlander in North America. In both apps you can find free and paid campsites. Plus, you can read comments from people who have recently visited those campsites and commented on the facilities and status.
The value of money can be a little confusing when you cross borders every couple of weeks. To keep track of the exchange rate of a local currency against the Euro, I use the XE currency app. You can add up to 10 currencies and use the app both online as well as off-line. The offline exchange rate might not be 100% accurate, but unless there is a major currency devaluation, it should give you a reasonable estimate.
Flights are a major travel expense so finding the cheapest one is crucial. I use Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo and Secret Flying to find the best deals. Mind you, Secret Flying is for return tickets, the other apps are also good to find cheap one-way tickets.
Google My Maps
I love planning trips (I know this is stating the obvious) and one of the tools I use in the planning stage is Google My Maps. I usually plot highlights and places I want to visit in a map. With this map I can create a feasible itinerary and cluster activities and sights that are close to each other.
One of my favorite and most used apps is Maps With Me. This app allows you to download a detailed map of entire countries or specific regions which you can access offline, very convenient! This app saved us many times, especially in countries where people speak limited English or where I can’t read the street signs (like in Japan).
I use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when I’m working on my blog or completing transactions requiring personal or payment information via an open network. Security is obviously the most important reason to use a VPN, but using a VPN can help you to find the cheapest flight prices. Prices can differ (substantially!) when you are viewing them from different countries in the world!). I bought my VPN via NordVPN.
NordVPN has been awarded the highest “Editor’s Choice” by several tech companies (such as PCMag, Cnet and BestVPN), proving they really know their stuff!
I hope these resources will help you plan your trip,
feel tree to contact me if you have any questions!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale if you decide to make a purchase or book a hotel. I appreciate your support a lot, it helps me to keep this site running! If you have questions about a product or a hotel, please don’t hesitate to contact me.