We’ve spent a lot of time on the road traveling all over the world and the companies listed below are the exact ones we use on our adventures. They have helped us countless times and that is why we believe in them and want to share them with you. Bookmark this page and check back here before you book your trip or while you’re out exploring the world for the latest updates and additions. Happy travels!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We use all the companies listed here and recommend them because they are awesome and make traveling a whole lot easier. If you are heading off on an adventure and would like to support Life Is Meant For Exploring in some way, using these links is one way to do that. Please do not spend money on any items or services that do not feel right to you. If you have any questions about the companies, e-mail us. We’d be happy to answer any questions about the companies you have 🙂
One of our favorite search engines for flights. They always seem to find airlines that offer the great deals and they have a calendar view feature that lets you see which days are cheapest to fly. This is a good starting point for all flight searches.
Hands down the best flight search engine for flights in and around Asia, but also around the world. We continuously find the best deals on Skyscanner and the calendar feature lets you see which days are the cheapest to fly. They search many of the budget airlines that others miss.
A powerful search tool for flight, but best used for when you do not have a particular destination in mind. Just enter the airport you want to depart from and Google will show you all of the cheapest flights heading all around the world on a map. They also have a feature that will make suggestions based on the cheapest date.
Use them as a reference point against the sites listed above. Not saying they are good or bad, but not as dependable in terms of providing the best deals and service compared to the ones we have mentioned already.
Same goes for Kayak. You can probably find some great deals depending on the destination and time, but not our first choice of search engines. As always, it is nice to have many platforms to compare prices so that is why we have included Kayak.
This is a site we found through Nomadic Matt. They are a leader in booking tickets around the globe. Their platform gives you the ability to construct itineraries using multiple airlines so you can piece together the best deals.
We love using Airbnb! If you are not familiar, this site allows homeowners to rent out their space directly to you. You’ll get all the comforts of home, an opportunity to live like a local and pay a fraction of the cost of a hotel room. (If you’re new to Airbnb, get $40 off your first stay!)
This is the booking site we use the most. Their app is the most user-friendly and they always seem to have the best properties available at a reasonable price. You can even rack up gift card rewards from your frequent bookings to apply to your next stay. When in Asia, this is the only booking tool you need!
We stay in a lot of hostels, and besides Agoda, Hostelworld is the app we use to book the majority of our stays. You can use the app to quickly and easily find the best hostels in the area.
Along with Agoda Booking.com offers the best deals on hotels, hostels, and guest houses around the world. They do not the best website or app, but a good deal is a good deal! 🙂 Get $25 back on your next booking by using this link!
On this site, you can create a profile and search for people willing to open up their homes and let you stay on their couches or spare rooms for free. Talk about a great way to save money while meeting locals and getting to experience how they live.
With the name your own price tool, you can literally bid the amount you want to pay for a hotel room and save a lot more money than booking directly. Set your location, star rating, and price and see what deals you can score.
The #1 rule for traveling: Never Leave Home Without Traveler Insurance! We always use World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. They are also recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographic so you know they are good.
Pretty much a one-stop shop for any outdoor or travel enthusiast. We love wandering the store looking at all of the awesome gear they carry. Everything is top quality and will last a lifetime. Become a member and get special offers and a 10% annual dividend for all of the stuff that you buy.
This website allows you to connect with locals and eat home-cooked meals with them. People around the world post listings for dinner parties and special meals that you can sign up for. The host sets a price that you pay for when you select a meal, but this is a great way to experience local cuisine and culture and make new friends.
Lonely Planet Guidebooks
The travel bible… we prefer to use blogs for our travel insight, but you can’t deny the quality of Lonely Planet guidebooks. Throughout your travels, you will inevitably see countless people wandering around with a copy in hand and will see them lining the bookshelves at each hostel you visit. Get them for cheaper on Amazon.
Hands down the best travel pack on the market! We absolutely love Tortuga Backpacks and will continue to shamelessly shout them out on our Insta and blog posts even though they don’t pay us. We have the Outbreaker Pack and it has been with us since day one of our adventures through SE Asia and shows no signs of falling apart despite the horrors it has seen haha.
If you have space, a compact travel hammock is a worthy luxury to carry around with you. We love stringing ours up at hostels, on the beach, beside waterfalls, in the jungle, and anywhere else we can imagine throughout our travels. High quality and reasonably priced. We have had the same one for years and it is still holding strong!
Let’s be real, life on the road can be a smelly affair. Doing laundry in the sink is a pain in the a** and paying to have it done can add up fast. TJ’s aunt gifted us this genius device before we left for Asia and it has been a lifesaver. Though it still takes some effort, the Scrubba makes washing your clothes by hand much easier and more effective while also doubling as a drybag (something you should definitely carry on your trip to keep your devices dry). Two birds with one stone!
We love to read. We have read over 100 books combined in the last year alone. Though we do pick up an occasional hard copy when we see something we like at hostels and cafes, we do most of our reading on our phones with the Kindle App. *Pro tip many public libraries now offer digital libraries that you can use your library membership to check out ebooks which you can download to your devices. We check out most of our books from our local library back home and read them on the Kindle App.
Travel Liner (Sleep Sack)
An accesory that is especially nice for backpackers like us who spend most nights sleeping in cheap hostels. A sleep sack ensures that you have a protective barrier between you and that dirty mattress you’re going to be sleeping on all night. Plus not all hostels provide a blanket, especially in Asia, so having your own sack to crawl into is a nice comfort. We use this one from Sea To Summit and absolutely love it (it even has built-in bug repellent).
The ultimate travel companion. Maps.Me offline maps have saved us more times than we can count. Sometimes Google Maps isn’t an option for us as we don’t always purchase a sim card everywhere we go. With Maps.Me you just download the map for the country you are visiting and it will always work, regardless of data connection. Since most of the locations are user-generated, we have found some pretty awesome “hidden” things like waterfalls and super cheap drinking spots that we would not have been able to find on Google Maps.
One thing that we recommend fellow travelers to do is to set a budget and track your expenses. This can be a pretty daunting task without some kind of tool to help you keep track of it all. Tripcoin is a free app that was built specifically for travelers and is super easy to use. Split up your trips by country, enter each expense and see your spending habits broken down by category. It also has a built-in currency converter which updates each time you’re connected to WIFI. We use this app religiously.
Besides the added benefit of knowing that your messages/calls are encrypted and protected from snooping eyes, Whatsapp is a free phone service that you can use to make calls and send messages anywhere in the world. All you need is WIFI or a data connection.
We primarily use Tripadvisor to find out where the best places to eat are in each city we visit, but that’s not all it is handy for. You can use the app to book experiences, hotels, flights, ask questions via forums and more. It’s also the most trusted source for reviews so you can post your praises and critiques of places if you’re into that.
Uber has definitely taken over, and even though we don’t fully agree with the ethicality of all of their business practices, we cannot deny that it is the cheapest and most convenient way to get around in most places around the world. We have used Uber to get rides from the airport throughout Asia and even to take us several hours to our next destination in Bali besides just typical short commutes.
SE Asian Uber! Grab is even cheaper in most cases than Uber and operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia. It uses the exact same ride-hailing platform through their smartphone app as Uber does.
The Man in Seat 61
This is the only website you will ever need to visit to find information about traveling by train anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. We have used them to find train info all over Asia.
Rome 2 Rio
This site is for when you are wondering how to get from point A to point B. Just type in your start and end point and it will tell you all the different methods you can use to get there complete with estimated pricing. Hands down one of the best transportation websites out there.
The best way to get all of the latest and greatest information for your adventures is from fellow travelers. Luckily, today everyone and their mom has a blog and share loads of valuable information you can use to plan your next trip. Here are some of our personal favorites that we use when researching places to visit and things to do!
Matt is the travel guru and mastermind behind the most visited travel blog on the internet. He can help you travel anywhere better, cheaper, and longer!
Wanderers & Warriors
One of our personal favorite blogger couples. Charlie & Lauren, are a free-spirited couple on the run who combine their sense of humor, love of travel and passion for life to explore the world. They have great posts about Bali!
Extra Pack Of Peanuts
One of our favorite travel podcasts. Trav is an expert travel hacker who covers topics ranging from how to start an Airbnb to how to score cheap flights for as little as $5. A great resource for most travel topics and locations around the world.
Zero To Travel
Jason is the man behind another one of our go-to travel podcasts. His blog and podcast share actionable advice from experienced travelers through podcasts, interviews, articles and more!
Matt shares adventure travel photography & blogs. He shares entertaining stories, beautiful images, and useful travel tips with his readers from around the world!
In a way, Nate and his partner Hannah of Intrepid Introvert (see below) were the ones who inspired us to start a blog. They are a tremendous resource for anyone looking to carve out a niche in the blogging world and offer tons of insight and how to guides on how to start an online business.
Hannah has carved out a niche for herself sharing travel insight from an introverted perspective. She hopes to inspire others to go after their passions. Along with her partner Nate, the two share all the info they have learned over the years of creating a successful online business!
These two have great energy and we love them because they always seem to be having a good time and cashing in on some amazing opportunities. As their tagline states their goal is to fulfill the promise of adventurous days and romantic nights. Definitely a good one for all of you fellow travel couples out there.
Don’t Forget To Move
Another great travel couple, Jules and Christine like to move with purpose. They travel all around the world and blog about some really fascinating topics taking things deeper than just destination guides and how to tips (though they have those as well).
Migrationology is a food travel blog where people who love to eat come for delicious food from around the world. Mark is a fulltime travel eater who shares some delicious food and travel tips as well as destination-specific advice.
Adam and Daisy take diary notes and journal scribbles one step further with their travel blog and offer great insight into destinations around the world.
Telling stories through food, Jodi shares the lessons she has learned in her years of travel, as well as resources for people wanting to try something similar. She doesn’t sugar coat, and she does not post fluff pieces. Expect true stories and a lot of passion.
Before You Go…
This list is by no means complete. We have read hundreds of blogs and the best way to find what you are looking for is to… well Google it haha. We usually will start by entering the topic we are interested, say “things to do in Luang Prabang” and then will add the word “blog” to the end of the search. This usually eliminates most of the TripAdvisor review stuff and gets you a few of the top-ranked blog posts on that subject. Best of luck, and happy travels!