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Travel Planning on a Budget: The Best Tools for Saving Money

Here comes the time to plan your trip, what an emotion! But also many things to do, how I’ve had that feeling several times! But no panic, in this article we will answer the question: Which tools can you use for planning your travel and save money? We’ll be listing the tools we use for our trips.

The goal is that you do not miss anything to consider while planning your longed for vacations or that dream trip.

To get started, here are some quick links:

Now, let’s see the travel planning tools by category:

Means of transport


  • Skyscanner: This is the tool I use the most when booking flights. It’s the first place I do a search, even if I don’t have a clear idea of where I want to go. Because of the way it is done, it allows you to do quite broad searches. It never disappoints me. It is an indispensable tool to find cheap flights and save good money.

  • But that’s not all: skyscanner isn’t the only one out there, it’s the one I use 99% of the time. But there are also momondo, kayak and let’s not forget Google flights, the giant is everywhere.


  • Rail Europe: specializes in selling train tickets and passes for travel throughout Europe. They work with various railway companies in Europe, such as Eurostar, TGV, Thalys, and others, to provide a convenient and comprehensive booking service for train travel across the continent. Rail Europe offers a range of ticket options, including point-to-point tickets, rail passes, and high-speed train tickets

Car rental

  • Rentalcars: it’s like skyscanner but to search for a rental car, on our last trip by land it helped us save a lot, so this is a recent discovery, but it will become one of the basics from now on to be able to find cars at the best price.

Local transportation

These tools are not so much for the planning phase, but rather for when we are already in place.

  • Uber: This app operates in almost every country we’ve visited (since it’s been around) and we’ve never had any complaints. Very useful for not struggling with the typical haggling of taxis, the most extreme being the one that happened to us when we arrived in Yazd in Iran.

  • Grab: it’s like Uber, but widely used in Southeast Asia. We use it in Vietnam and highly recommend it. Saved us plenty of headaches.
Recorriendo Hanoi
Touring Hanoi

Lodging travel planning tools

  • Hotels.com: it is the page where I make hotel reservations the most, I always compare with the others, but generally the price difference is not great and here I have the advantage that by accumulating 10 nights booked on the site I have one free. I have already had several free nights, such as the Shangri-La in New Delhi.

  • Booking.com: almost the same as the previous one, and in fact it is the most popular in the market, but I can’t say why it attracts me less. For me to book on this page and not in hotels.com, the price difference has to be significant and the hotel I want is listed only here.

  • Tripadvisor: an essential site to be able to look for opinions on the hotels that we want to reserve, the opinions can be filtered by language, by situation, by season and the most useful are the photos that travelers upload. An essential before booking.

  • Centraldereservas.com: I consult it sporadically, and I have found good prices, they are almost always the normal prices, but sometimes there are good discounts, such as when we stayed at the Hotel in Mérida Yucatán, it was with them that we booked it as it was at a great price.

  • Airbnb: there are times when, either because we want to save money cooking our meals, to look for another experience, or for any other reason, we prefer an apartment and not a hotel.

  • HotelsCombined: It’s like skyscanner or rentalcars, a metasearch engine. When presenting the results, it will show the prices on sites such as booking and others. We have discovered it recently, but we will put it to use.
The room key

Activities and tickets

  • Civitatis: on this page you can book excursions, but not only, when entering you have to filter by country, region, city, and it will offer us a diverse range of services. These vary from country to country, for example, in Vietnam we contracted the Vietnamese food tour, but we also bought a SIM card, all through the same page. Fast and easy.

  • Tiqets: on this site you can buy tickets for museums, monuments and others. The attractive thing is that with this you can avoid queues, in fact, sometimes the ticket is accompanied by a fast pass which saves time. We were able to use this for the first time during our trip to Japan to visit the Abeno Harukas Tower. The purchase was easy and fast.

Maps and travel guides

In this case, clear and updated maps will save you time, and well, time is money. In addition, the guides often make us discover places that are good nice and cheap that will save us a little money and discover beautiful places.

  • Google maps: it helps us when planning the trip, to be able to see the itinerary on a map. It also helps us when traveling, even to know how far to walk or if you can take public transport, it has saved us on several occasions (although there have also been times when it makes us walk more, like when we went to the cafe of Totoro in Bangkok).

  • Lonely planet: These travel guides need no introduction and, unsurprisingly, yes, we use them quite a bit on our travels.

  • Guide du routard: this guide is in French, and it also accompanies us on several of our trips.
Vincent consulting the map

Apps we use

Easy Currency: This app converts currencies from all over the world, and we love it, both in the planning phase and during the trip.

Google translate: another app that needs no introduction, it is useful to us, very useful, even in countries where the language does not allow us to type what we want to translate, you can take a photo and that’s it.

Which tools to plan your trip and save money? While using your money

Using your cards without knowing how much commission they are going to charge you for the currency exchange, for example, can be expensive. Here we tell you what we use to get around the classic card charges.

  • Revolut: is a popular mobile banking and payment service that offers a prepaid debit card that can be used by travelers to save money on exchange commissions. One of the key benefits of using a Revolut card for travel is that it offers near-perfect interbank exchange rates, without any hidden fees or commission charges. This means that travelers can save money by avoiding the often-high exchange fees charged by traditional banks and currency exchange services. If you are interested in trying it, you can open your account here.

  • N26: the card itself is quite basic, it gives a few withdrawals per month for free, currently there are about 5. The only interesting thing about this account is that if you are going to travel to a country with a different currency, the conversion is much more interesting than with traditional banks, in addition to the fact that they do not charge the happy commission for currency exchange. If you are interested in trying it, you can open your account here.

  • American Express: there are several types of cards, the one we have is the one that accumulates frequent flyer miles, there are others that accumulate points, there are different price ranges, and there are also some free ones.
Nuestra tarjeta amiga: Amex Gold
  • PayPal: it is not a card, but it is convenient to have it when necessary. I have been able to pay for many things through PayPal, and thus I do not have to give my card number. In addition, the transaction is instantaneous, unlike traditional banks.

Travel tools to use in case things don’t go as it was in your planning

This, obviously, is not planned, but it is better to have it on hand in case it is needed, as it happened to us during the canceled flight to Germany.

  • AirHelp: this company helps you manage compensation for cancellation or delay of your flights, obviously they take a commission on what you manage to earn. This is especially true in the European Union, keep in mind that the airline could owe you up to €600 for the cancellation or delay of your flight. Claim your compensation here.

Note: we want to be clear with you, some of the links you will see above are affiliate links, that means we will receive a small commission if you go through them to make a reservation. Obviously, this does not affect the price for you at all, and in some cases you will even have discounts. We are not going to recommend something that we have not used.