A mechanic is only as good as their tools, and travel is a skill where you need the right tools. Instead of having a bunch of quality 10 mm sockets, you need different tools. Their tool chest includes resources, luggage, gear, mindset, and travel experience. Here are some of the tools I use for travel, and I hope they can be a resource for travelers.
This page covers both physical items and online tools. If there is something you think I am missing, let me know, and I can see what I can do.
This page is undergoing an extensive overhaul so that some things could be “not right yet.” So. please bear with me!
Resources for Travelers: Luggage and Travel Gear
Picking the right suitcase is a personal decision; it is like buying shoes. There are different shoes for different needs and styles; not all work for everyone. The key is to find the right combination for you.
I have been traveling for a while and since there isn’t one bag isn’t fits all my needs perfectly, I have about five.
The type of luggage you have can determine how you travel. The lighter you can travel, the better; the smaller your luggage, the easier it is to travel.
When I started traveling, I had a 25’ suitcase, and I often packed it to the max, and when I got home, I did not use half of what I packed. It was also a cheap piece of luggage and lasted a few years before the wheels started to go.
I replaced my original bag with a Travelpro Bold series, and I like it better, primarily due to its quality and price.
What I like about this product is the quality for the price.
Resources for Travelers: 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, the 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 price listest are in “basic economy.”
This site i” a time saver if you have flexibility with a trip. 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 often give you more information about your flight and plane than the gate agent. It was recommended to me by a few of my piolet and flight attendant friends.
The FlightAware app can inform you if your aircraft is waiting for you at the airport, is en route, or has never left the last 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 website and app inform new and experienced travelers about what they can carry on the plane or what goes in a checked bag. Or they let you know that it can not go on a plane.
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; you can use the app when you travel and never touch it when you aren’t. You can black people you do not like, such as political figures or others, or follow a particular travel blogger.
Why get a Twitter account? Many transportation companies (Amtrak, Southwest, and local transportation such as Metra) will tweet delays. You can also use the app to get ahold of the carrier. You can also follow fellow travelers such as me!
Resources for Travelers: Apps For Transportation Services
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 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.
Resources for Travelers: Audio 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. You can benefit from listening and the archives even if you are not a world traveler.
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 for his enthusiasm, even if the topic is irrelevant.
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. You’ll be ready for your trip to the Cresent City if you are on the fence about visiting New Orleans after a few podcasts.
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 Favorit Podcast.
Travel Resources on YouTube
There are undoubtedly more than I have listed, but here is a list of people I have followed and learned from over the years. Use them as a starting point to find the right vloggers for you.
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.