Did you know that in 2010 I quit my job as a lawyer and ventured off around for the world for a year…which turned into two years and, before I knew it, had turned into six. The only thing that put a stop to my nomadic lifestyle was rupturing my knee ligaments while I was sailing around the British Virgin Islands. Life advice: don’t do that (the knee bit – the BVIs I’d highly recommend).
Why do I tell you this? Because I’ve got a lot of years of experience booking travel things online.
That new website a friend of a friend told you about? I’ve probably tried. Which website is quicker, cheaper or just simpler to use? I have an idea about that too.
Below is my list of recommended booking websites – these are the sites I go to when I do my own trip planning and after years of trying elsewhere, these are the ones I come back to every time.
In some cases, I get a small commission if you book through my links below, at no extra cost to you. But not in all cases because this page is about suggesting the best websites for booking, not just the ones that make me money. However, if you’ve found the information on this website useful and you do want to send a little commission my way, it would be appreciated. For those sites I earn a commission from, I’ve added a smiley thank you face so you can tell which is which.
My Top Recommendations
Skyscanner for flights
I’ve yet to find a flight search website that covers as many airlines, gives such flexible search options and consistently comes out cheaper.
Booking tip: clear out your cookies if you’re doing a lot of searching – some airlines up the pricing just for you (how nice) if you show a lot of interest. Yes, it’s legal. Yes, I hate it. I’ve written about it here.
? Book here:
Booking.com for hotels
I resisted Booking.com for a long time – I just don’t like the sense of fear it instills during the booking process (only 1 room left in this 1 room town, you may die if you don’t book it). However, there is no escaping the fact that Booking.com is the or at least one of biggest and best at what it does. Easy booking, rooms in the most remote locations, and, best of all, great cancellation options.
Booking tip: don’t search for ‘Prosecco’ when booking a hotel – it will direct you to the town of Prosecco near Trieste. Whilst it is the birth town of Prosecco, it’s not where the best Prosecco can be found. You can read more here. Try searching for Conegliano and Valdobiadenne. Or check out my page on where to stay.
? Book here:
Rome2Rio for route planning
Be warned – you might lose a lot of time playing on this site. I have mapped routes from my house to destinations I’ve not even heard of. If you’re able to remain focused, pop your start and end destinations into Rome2Rio and you’ll get a great comparison of route and transport options, distances and, often, links to transport schedules. I don’t know how I used to travel without this website.
Check routes here:
Tren Italia for train travel
For the most part, the Tren Italia website drives me mad – it seems to take twice as long to do anything on there. That said, it has gotten a lot better in the last year. The language translation mostly works and the booking is reasonably smooth. If you want to book without paying any fees, this is the site to do it. Usually, you can print your tickets yourself and there is also an app for storing tickets, which I have yet to try (it’s very new – I’ll check it out on my next trip). If you don’t print at home, there are ticket machines in the main stations where you can collect tickets, in English, using your booking reference.
Booking tip: Even if you use English, don’t forget to use the Italian names like Venezia for Venice, Roma for Rome etc.
Rail Europe for advance train bookings in English
If you prefer to transact entirely in English and have someone else send your tickets to you, there’s a website for that – Rail Europe. You’ll pay them a small fee on top of your ticket but for some people that’s a small price for complete peace of mind. It’s also a lot less frustrating than using the TrenItalia site.
Booking tip: if you’re booking very local services like Venice to Susegana, I’d personally just buy the tickets on the day at the station. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to do it in Venice just in case of queues.
Hertz for car hire
I know there are lots of car hire companies out there but I have chosen Hertz because a) I have seen with my very own eyes that they have a car hire branch in Conegliano, which is ideal if you want to book onward car hire from within the Prosecco region; b) I’m also sick and tired of those car comparison websites. I don’t think I’ve ever got my car hire for the price I’ve agreed to when I book through them (cue: extra taxes and insurances). At least by booking direct, you are more likely to get the actual price rather than the one designed to lure you into booking.
More coming soon
They are my top recommended websites for booking but there are others and I will add them soon. If you want an extensive list of 100 websites for booking travel, you can find it over on my travel blog, Indiana Jo.