If you are looking to travel, finding the right tools is essential. I hope this page will give you some beginning traveler’s resources to get you started on your next adventure. I am sure you will find a few more on your own as you start down this road; feel free to share those with me! I hope these will get you started.
Twitter has become a handy tool to find updates and news. More companies are using Twitter to update people on problems and updates. Agencies like the TSA use Twitter to keep you up with what is going on.
Beginning Traveler’s Resources: Planning Tools
The following helpful apps and websites For travel are available as websites and apps but for Google Flights.
A Few Google Products:
Google Maps (App and Website)
Google Maps is a helpful tool for planning trips. Many people use Google Maps for driving and do not know that it also helps with walking directions, public transport, Amtrak, and bus information. Plus, it shows you what is around your destinations.
For example, I can enter the address to a train station and then type in your hotel, and the app will tell me what hotels are around and the distance between the two points. Additionally, the app will inform you if public transportation is available, approximate rideshare cost, or how far to walk.
Google Flights (Website only)
Sadly Google Flights is not an app but is an excellent resource for finding the best deals for air travel. Google flights allow you to view flights from several airports at once. For example, Milwaukee Mitchell (MKE) and Midway (MDW) are two airports I use the most, and if I want to return to San Francisco, I can check prices and schedules for both airports with one search. Be aware that most of the price listest are in “basic economy.”
This site is a time saver if you have flexibility with a trip. Note that many discount apps are not on this site, and Southwest is not listed either.
Wanderu: Website and App
Wanderu is a resource for people looking for surface travel journeys, although flights are creeping in. This site can help you plan routes using trains and buses or even combining the two.
Transit is a new app for me; this app connects all forms of transit in one spot. The Transit App helps people get from point A to point B by mixing rideshares and public transportation. This app could save you money by avoiding long rideshare rides.
FlightAware: Website and App
This app can give you more information about your flight and plane than the airline can.
The FlightAware app can inform you if your aircraft is waiting for you at the airport you are at or if it’s en route, or what airport it is still at instead of being at your airport.
The TSA: Website and App
The TSA website should be in your favorites, or download the app for those who fly often. The TSA informs both new and experienced travelers what to carry on the plane or what you need to pack in a checked suitcase.
I was not a fan of Twitter for years, but I found it is an excellent tool for many travelers. You never have to tweet, and if you can use the app when you travel and never touch it when you aren’t. It is possible to block people you do not like, such as political figures or whomever else.
Why get a Twitter account? Many transportation companies (Amtrak, Southwest, local transportation such as Metra) will tweet out delays. You can also use the app to get ahold of the carrier. You can also follow fellow travelers such as me!
Apps For Transportation Services You Use
For example, the apps that fit this category include Amtrak, Southwest, Delta, South Shore Line, Venture (Chicago CTA and Metra), and other carriers. For planning purposes (and occasionally booking), I installed many of these apps on my phone and iPad.
Most of the bookings I do with these apps. I can also check-in (on airlines), be more accessible, and have a quicker look-up cost if you have a crazy idea for a trip.
I know for some this suggestion is a “no kidding and useless point,” but for others, this could be a helpful trip.
Audio Travel Resources
Podcasts can be a helpful travel resource; with a wide variety of topics from inspirations to helping you plan your next adventure, a podcast can change your world or worldview!
Give them a try; I find them useful.
EPOP is the first travel podcast I listened to, and I still am subscribed. EPOP offers several insightful podcasts called “Destination Diaries,” discussing cities and countries. This podcast also covers travel tips and stories. I bought my Tortuga backpack based on their recommendation. Even if you are not a world traveler, you can benefit from listening and the archives.
Zero to travel is an excellent complement to EPOP. The two guys team up on another podcast called Location Indie about location independence.
I have applied tips I learned from Jason on this podcast to improve my travels. His passion for travel is infectious and can brighten your day if you are down. I sometimes listen to this podcast just for his enthusiasm, even if the topic is irrelevant.
This roundtable-style podcast discusses all things relating to travel.
The podcast shows a realistic approach to travel, sharing both highlights and warts of the subject with a practical perspective to round both out. Additionally, they tell the real stories of people working in the industry. They are no longer producing new podcasts, but the archives are handy.
If New Orleans is on your horizon, this is a must-listen podcast. Mark has a passion for his city and loves to share his knowledge. If you are on the fence about visiting New Orleans after a few podcasts, you’ll be booking a trip to the Cresent City.
Most people know about Bourbon Street, but as the title implies, there is so much to this city than just one street or, for that matter, more than only the French Quarter.
Mark bi-weekly podcasts cover history, current events, and the greater area, including places to go, things to see, and where and what to eat and drink.
For more great podcast suggestions, check out Kev’s Favorite Podcast.
Travel Resources on YouTube
There are undoubtedly more than I have listed, but here is a list of people that I have followed and learned from over the years. Use them as a starting point to find the right vloggers for you.
“Nadine” covers a variety of topics on traveling. I enjoy learning her thoughts. Her approach helps the ladies with packing better than I can.
The brothers’ have some excellent travel Vlogs that I have enjoyed. They have an excellent video with suggestions on what to pack and buy as a traveler. They also cover where to travel to as a world traveler.
Mark offers a great series of vlogs, including locations and helpful travel information, including what to do and what not to do as you see other countries. He has many great videos on travel scams and how to be a better traveler.