Here’s a list of links I’ve used to plan transportion around the world. It’s heavy on flights and trains, since I’ve found that bus is usually easier to set up in country when one needs it.
Here are my favorite web sites for air travel
- Kayak.com – sign in to get the dates flexible option.
- Bing.com – from the US only
- Vayama.com – for international flights
- Cheaptickets.com – not my fave, but sometimes the price can’t be beat.
- sta.com – If I were under 26 and a student, I would use this site.
- My ultimate secret weapon: itasoftware.com – login as a guest. It has a learning curve, but you can figure it out. I like the 30 day view for a very comprehensive view of flight costs. Also, Google just bought this site to bring travel searches into it’s results, so hopefully it’ll become a little easier to use and ubiquitous.
- Airasia.com is the way to get around Asia via Kuala Lumpur
- The Lonely Planet’s list of airlines for that country or region as a starting point. Check the “Getting There and Away” section for your destination. I go here because, sometimes, the best price airline does not show up in clearinghouse web site lists and I find it on the individual airline sites for countries with which I’m not familiar, I find in the Lonely Planet.
When I do the booking, I actually go to the airlines site if I can find the same price. Why? The customer service at the actual airline has been much better than the third party web sites, especially if I need any changes and there are rarely booking fees. Seriously, Orbitz.com, your customer service reps are just looking at the web site, same as me. Where’s the value in that? What am I paying the “booking fees” for?
- Seat61: The best blog for all things train travel
- India train travel: Makemytrip.com The official site is VERY hard to use, so you can imagine my relief when India travel site, makemytrip.com started doing train tickets for a small (100 RS) fee.
- Europe travel sites: I’m visiting Germany, Sweden, and Holland this fall and doing most of my continental travel by train. The sites I’ve used to reserve tickets are below. I’m over 26 so that Europass deal is really not economical anymore.
- Bahn.com for Germany travel. I’ve found that if you book about 60-90 days ahead of time, there’s some very necessary deals to be had. I can’t imagine paying 119 Euros for a four hour train ride, so the deal was 39 Euros booked three months in advance.
- Sweden by Train. The official Swedish train site. I used this site for a Berlin to Malmo ticket and found it very reasonably priced – about $60.
- Netherlands High Speed. My time in Holland will be quick, but still I need to book a ticket for an overnight journey. It’s the only cheap way to do it as it seems no budget airlines fly out of Sweden and a car rental is out of the question.