The Best Hostels in Thailand

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Planning a trip and looking for the best hostels in Thailand?  I’m here to help!  I’ve spent several months traveling throughout this amazing country.  I’ve stayed at some great hostels, and I’ve also stayed at some very questionable ones.  I’ve done a ton of research, and compiled the best hostels throughout Thailand.  Now this the list of the places that I recommend; there are definitely a wide variety of places to stay; from budget hotels, guesthouses, and bungalows…I wanted to talk about specifically hostels, especially rooms with dorm beds and social atmospheres ideal for the travellers looking to meet people.

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Let’s Start With the North

Northern Thailand is absolutely amazing, and I think it’s completely different then the rest of the country.  The vibe is much more relaxed, even in Thailand’s second biggest city Chiang Mai, it seems to have a really chilled out atmosphere.  If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, don’t skip the north.  From doing some research, asking fellow travelers, and staying at a couple; these are the best hostels in Northern Thailand:

Chiang Mai

  • Soho Hostel — This hostel is definitely one of the ones that comes up the most when people are asking for recommendations for Chiang Mai.  It’s perfectly located within walking distance to the nightlife districts, night markets, and cheap food.
  • Hug Hostel —  Located at the northern tip of the Old City, you’re in a prime location for exploring the city.  This hostel is well equipped with a social atmosphere, clean facilities, and excellent reviews.  Definitely one of the best places to stay in Chiang Mai.
Renting that apartment in Chiang Mai for the month was a solid decision. I loved the city, songkran was amazing, and watching different versions of this sunset from my balcony every evening was incredible. Ill miss Northern Thailand, but im pretty sure ill be back there soon.

Sunset in Chiang Mai

Pai

  • Spicy Pai Backpacker’s Hostel —  Easily one of the most recommended hostels among the young backpacker crowd, you’ll definitely enjoy your stay at Spicy Pai.  Located across the river from the main action, it’s definitely advisable to rent a moto to make things a bit easier.  There’s a great chill-out area, and a really relaxed vibe.
  • Common Grounds Pai — Perfectly located in the heart of walking street, this hostel / guesthouse will make your stay in this wonderful city unforgettable.  With a great atmosphere, pool table, and comfortable 4-person dorm rooms, you’ll have a nice comfy stay at Common Grounds.
The Chinese Village lookout point gives you a great view of Pai distirict. So great to relax, enjoy some green tea, and marvel at the beauty of Northern Thailand...get here soon, because it most definitely will not look this way in 10 years...

Overlooking Pai

Chiang Rai

  • Fun D Hostel —  Only a short distance outside the city center, this hostel has excellent facilities for an unbeatable price.  Wifi in the rooms, clean showers, and breakfast is included.  Room rate start around 250-300 baht per night.
  • Mercy Hostel Beautiful hostel, clean facilities, pool table, full kitchen, and comfortable rooms, all perfectly located during your visit in Chiang Mai.  Room rates from 160-200 bahtt.

BANGKOK        

Whethere you’re backpacking southeast Asia for five months, or just cruising out to Thailand for a few weeks, you’ll most likely find yourself in Bangkok at one time or another.  These are the two best options for hostels.

  • Nappark Hostel — This is easily the most popular and most recommended hostel when it comes to Bangkok.  Located perfectly around Khao San Road and The Grand Palace, you definitely will not regret staying here.  You’ll meet tons of fellow backpackers, have a comfortable stay, and probably have a couple crazy nights out partying on the streets of KSR.  It is a tad bit expensive for prices in Bangkok at around $12 per dorm bed, but I think it’s a fair price for what you get.  The wi-fi works well, the facilities are clean, and the beds are comfy.  Perfect for solo travelers looking for a good time in Bangkok.  For reservations, availability, and room rates, click here.
  • Green House Hostel –  This is the absolutely perfect location for the solo traveler who does not want to sleep in a dorm bed.  Located on Rambuttri Road (adjacent to KSR), this location simply can’t be beat.  The beds are decent, there is wifi in all areas of the hostel, and the restaraunt serves up some delicious food.  There’s tons to do in the area, and it’s super easy to meet people.  You can get a private single room for only $8, or if you are with two people, you can split a a room with two twin beds for only $15.  For reservations, room rates, and availability click here.

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THE ISLANDS

Koh Tao

  • Jizo’s Hostel —  I stayed here for 4 nights the last time I was on Koh Tao, and really enjoyed my stay.  It’s absolutely perfectly located in Koh Tao, right along the main strip, just a couple shops down from the Australian Pub where the Koh Tao Pub Crawl starts.  The social vibe is there, but not the best of the hostels I’ve stayed at.  The facilities are okay, and at around $8 – $10 bucks a night depending on the season, you’ll enjoy your stay.

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Koh Phangan

  • Echo Beach Backpackers ResortThis is the best place to be for people looking to meet people, party like crazy, and really enjoy your time on Koh Phangan.  The staff are really informed about all the parties going on, there’s tons of chairs and seating room, awesome pre-games, amazing music, and delicious food.  I honestly love this place.  It’s not the cleanliest of hostels, but if you’re coming to KP for a good party, this is where you want to be.  It’s located in Ban Tai, so it’s about a 15 minute drive to Haad Rin where the FMP is, but they organize the rides for everyone.

Koh Samui 

  • Behind The Scene Hostel — The top rated youth hostel in Koh Samui is definitely the top pick for backpackers who make their way to Samui.  A lot of backpackers skip this island because it is a litte bit more expensive, and over touristic, but there is actually lots to do on this beautiful island.  The nightlife area around Chaweng beach is awesome!

Koh Phi Phi

  • Paradise Dorm Room — During my second stay on Koh Phi Phi, I had no accomodation booked.  I walked around, and stumbled upon this one, and really enjoyed my stay.  The beds are comfortable, the wi-fi works really well, and it’s right in the middle of everything.  There’s also an amazing Indian restaraunt next door you should try at least once.
  • Flower Bungalows — This is for the budget traveler.  I stayed here during my first trip to Phi Phi, and met an amazing group of people.  I’ll admit, it’s not the most comfortable place to stay, but it’s defintiely budget friendly, and well located.

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Krabi Town

  • Pak-Up Hostel — This hostel is absolutely amazing!!  One of my favorites that I’ve ever stayed at in all my travels.  The location is perfect in Krabi town, you’ll meet a ton of people.  The rooms are comfortable, great storage space for your stuff, and amazing showers / facilities.  There’s not much to do in Krabi town, but you definitely have to stay at the Pak-Up Hostel!  Just make sure to book in advance, because this place sells out on a very regular basis.

Ao Nang

  • Slumber Party Hostel —  The name says it all.  If you’re looking for the backpacker party area, but also clean facilities, quick wifi, and comfortable beds — this is the spot.  They put on amazing pub crawls, island hopping, and beer pong tournaments.  It’s a bit of a walk from the beach, but if you want to spend the extra cash, check out their  Slumber Party Hostel At The Beach hostel.
  • Ao Nang Backpacker For those who are a bit more budget conscience, head over to this spot.  It’s literally just across the street from Slumber Party, but costs a bit less.  The dorm room is massive; definitely the hostel with the most beds I’ve ever stayed at, but you get what you pay for.

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Koh Lanta

  • Peacock Hostel — Super awesome atmosphere with a large deck equipped with hammocks; the perfect spot to meet people and relax.  Koh Lanta isn’t the island for partying, but you’ll still meet some awesome people here, and enjoy your stay.  It’s really affordable, and highly recommended.

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Koh Chang

  • Pajamas Koh Chang — This place might seem a little pricey, but it’s actually an amazing place to stay!  This beach house boutique hostel is located just 2 min to lovely Klong Prao Beach in Koh Chang. They’ve got really nice and modern accomodations, and an amazing swimming pool.  If you’re a solo traveler, this is the spot for you.

 

Well, there ya have it.  Obviously, I did not cover every city or area, just the places I’ve been and the more popular spots.  I didn’t include Phuket or Pattaya, because I personally think they are two of the worst places to visit in Thailand.  Anyways, hope you found what you were looking for!  All of these hostels are awesome!  Safe Travels.

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Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book through these links I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you.  This helps with the cost of running the site, and basically just help me buy my next beer along my travels.  : )  

The Ultimate Travel Resource Guide for South-East Asia

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I’ve spent over a year living, traveling, studying, and working around South-East Asia.  When it comes to travel resources, these are my absolute favorite websites and tools for finding the best accommodation, cheap flights, awesome communities, and more.  For those planning a trip around South-East Asia, these will all make a big difference and save you time and money

Accommodation

Agoda.com — This has been my go-to recently for everything.  They’ve got great prices on hostels and hotels, and is a great and easy platform.

Hostelworld — My favorite for booking hostels.  Really easy to use, great user reviews, and you can always find a cheap place.

Hostelbookers — The alternative to the above.  It’s good, and sometimes you can find a cheaper price online.

Booking.com — I used this one a lot in Europe, and still check it often for price comparisons out in South-East Asia.  It has tons of options, and is still a great resource for booking a place to sleep.

Hotels.com — I just love this site because you get a free night for every 10 nights you book.  Yeah, it does not add up to much, but it’s still cool.   I’m the type of guy to eat at a place just to get his stamp card stamped.

AirBNB — Great for when you’re traveling in a group, and need to find an apartment.  You can find some amazing villas in Bali, or cheap apartments in Chiang Mai.  Definitely a great site to use once or twice.

Budget Airlines

Skyscanner — Rule of thumb: before you do anything…check Skyscanner.  Amazing platform, and you can figure out the best options.  My favorite aspect is being able to search from one city (or country) to another, and view prices for a specific day or entire month.

AirAsia — My FAVORITE airline in the world.  I’ve flown AirAsia at least 15 times in the past year.  They constantly have promotions, sales, and extremely low fares.  They are also the largest budget airline, and have won a ton of awards.  I couldn’t recommend them enough.

NokAir // Thai Smile — These airlines are particularly great for domestic flights in Thailand.

Malindo Air // Firefly — These are are flights for domestic flights in Malaysia.

VietJet — A decent budget airline for flights for getting to Vietnam, and domestic flights.

Cebu Pacific — The main budget airline for travel throughout the Philippines.

Communities

Couchsurfing — If you don’t have an account already, you should definitely start one.  This is listed under the communities, but can also be a place for free accomodation.  It can be great when you are traveling solo, and want to go to a CS meet-up in a city.  Lots of expats and travel lovers are active all over the world.

Trampolinn — This is a new website that offers a cool mix between Couchsurfing & AirBNB.  Definitely worth looking into, although I haven’t used it yet.

Facebook Groups — Whenever you travel to South-East Asia, look for backpacker groups, expat groups, and other forums for fellow travelers.  It’s a great resource for asking questions, recommendations, and meeting other people abroad.

Helpful Websites

Travelfish — This website is full of incredible useful information for South-East Asia.  It goes over just about everything, and you can definitely get lost on the website looking through all their content.

Tripadvisor — This website needs no introduction, the “Bible” of top things to do, hotel reviews, and so much more when traveling.

E Visums — A great website that goes over all the visa questions you have when traveling to SEA.

Lonely Planet  — Another awesome website that gives great detailed information, active user forums, and can provide a ton of useful information.

Man In Seat 61 — This is the specialty when it comes to overland travel.  This will go over train and bus schedules, fares, and information on how to book online.

Vietnam Tours — Really great website for tours especially for Halong Bay.

Travel Insurance

World Nomads  — The number one provider of traveler’s insurance.  Don’t leave home without it.

Blog Posts

The Ultimate Guide To Backpacking South-East Asia — Migrationology

South-East Asia Travel Tips — Nomadic Matt

Planning a Trip to South-East Asia – Goats On The Road

Motorcycle Adventures in South-East Asia — NOMADasaurus

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book through these links I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you.  This helps with the cost of running the site, and basically just help me buy my next beer along my travels.  : )  

Travel Hacking; A Beginner’s Guide

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Want to know how I flew from Croatia – Istanbul – Sri Lanka all for $35 ?  The answer is simple….Travel Hacking.  

For those who don’t know, travel hacking is a process of signing up for various credit cards to receive the bonus offers to basically travel for free.  The key way of this is by getting frequent flyer miles, free hotel stays, rental cars, etc. 

Now, I’m only 26 years old, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of becoming an expert Travel Hacker.  There are some people who take this VERY Seriously, and are constantly signing up for new credit cards, and completing different offers in order to receive the bonuses they come with.  

I have two different Airline credit cards which both gave me a 50K Bonus Miles just for signing up for the credit card. 

The United Mileage Explorer Card

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.49.06 AMThis was the first card I ever signed up for, and it is definitely my favorite card that I have.  The annual fee is waived for the first year (you can cancel the card before the annual fee kicks in)…and there are zero foreign transaction fees.  This picture says you only get 30K Miles for the sign-up, but all you have to do is call Chase and they will offer you the 50K promotion.  You will have to spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of opening the Credit Card to get the bonus miles, but there are simple ways to do that.

What can 50K Miles get you?  

This bonus is actually amazing, and can save you a ton of money on airfare.  The best way to utilize this is to take a look at the Interactive Travel Award Chart.  It looks like this, and will tell you exactly how many miles it will cost for a one-way economy ticket.

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Examples of Popular Fares

  • U.S.A/ Canada Domestic Flights — 12.5K Miles
  • U.S.A / Canada – Europe — 30K Miles
  • U.S.A / Canada – Mexico — 10K Miles
  • U.S.A / Canada – Central America — 17.5K Miles

These are just a few examples, but take a look at the chart yourself if you want to view more of them.  But just by looking at these numbers, you can take 4 FREE ONE-WAY DOMESTIC TICKETS WITHIN THE U.S.A / CANADA JUST FOR SIGNING UP FOR THE CREDIT CARD.  Just head to the United Airlines website, and begin you’re search.  This is an example of a flight from Los Angeles to New York.

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I’m not going go into too much more detail, but you should get the general idea now.  50K Miles is an amazing offer just for signing up for the card, and I’ve already taken advantage of this deal, and gotten amazing flight deals!  Sign up for this credit card here.

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Now, for those who don’t know, American Airlines and US Airways recently merged their mileage programs.  I think this is a really positive thing, because it means you can sign up for two different credit cards, and earn bonuses for the same account.

Citi Platinum AAdvantage Card

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This is the second card I got when I began travel hacking.  It comes with the same sign-up bonus of 50K Miles, and offers some really great fares as well.  There is a $95 annual fee, but it is waived for the first year, and once again, you can cancel it before the fee kicks in, and still earn the bonus miles.

The system works really similar to the United one, but they don’t have a nifty interactive menu.  Head on over to the American Airlines & US Airways Award Chart, and browse through different fares.

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The best part about this program is that they have the Economy MileSAAVER fares.  This basically they will give you a significant discount if fly during “non-peak” travel times.

For example, a one-way economy flight from U.S.A – Europe (Any City) normally costs 30K Miles.  But if you choose to fly during slow season, you can snag tickets for only 20K Miles.  That means, for signing up for this credit card, you can potentially get a free round-trip ticket to Europe with 10K to spare.

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Award Miles Search One-Way from Los Angeles – Rome, Italy

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Award Calendar Showing both 30K and 20K Fares

I don’t know about you, but getting a free round-trip ticket to Europe just for signing up for a credit card sounds like a pretty sweet deal, yeah?  As well, you could still have 10K miles leftover, and save up for your next one-way flight somewhere!  Sign up for this credit card here.  [divider]

I only started travel hacking a couple years ago, but it’s something I definitely will be doing for the rest of my life.  There are people who are so good at this, they barely pay for anything when they travel.  No Joke.

Travel Hacking Resources

The Points Guy–  This blogger is a must follow.  He’s the “godfather” when it comes to frequent flyer miles, and how to maximize credit card benefits.

19 Resources to Maximize Frequent Flyer & Credit Card Points — This is a great and collective post from the Matador Network that puts together a great list of links.

Nomadic Matt’s Book – The Ultimate Guide to Become a Travel Hacking Ninja–  Now, I personally haven’t read this book, but seeing that it comes from one of the most recognized travel blogger’s in the game; Nomadic Matt, I’m sure it is full useful information for those interested in learning more.  [divider]

That about wraps up my beginner’s guide to travel hacking.  I hope you found this extremely useful, and start travel hacking now!  It’s a great way to earn some free flights, and start traveling more often!

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20 Money-Saving Tips For Backpacking South-East Asia

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Walk it out.  

I had to start with an obvious one, and easily one of the most practical.  C’mon, you’re in a new area of the world, and one of the best ways to experience it is to walk around, explore different neighborhoods, and see how the locals live.  

Bring Your Own Drinks to Eat

In America, if you go to a restaurant with your own water bottle or soda, you’ll get a death stare from the waiter or waitress.  In South-East Asia, I try to avoid paying for drinks at restaurants.  The people working don’t really care, and when they ask what you want to drink, just point to your water bottle, and say I think I’ll stick with water.  

Bargain 

If you’re planning a trip to SEA, you better be ready to bargain your ass off.  I guarantee you at the beginning of your travels you’ll get ripped off once or twice, but then eventually you’ll get the hang of it.  There are many different techniques, but I always like to stick to my price, and if I don’t like it…walk away.  They’ll normally chase after you, or say “okay, my friend, okay okay”.  

Explore The Options  

When booking tours, transportation packages, hostels, etc; ask around at many different places and look for the best price.  Prices will fluctuate greatly between tour places, and it can be hard to figure out what the best price you’ll be able to get.  But you can’t just book the first deal you think you come across.  

Power in Numbers

I know a lot of people travel SEA solo, but it’s so much easier to get better discounts on things when you are with a group of people.  In Thailand, if something is going to cost 700 Baht, you can probably talk them down to 500 or 550 Baht if you have a group of 4 or more people.  

It’s All About Street Food

You’re in Asia.  Eat like the locals!  You’d be amazed at some of the prices you can find at local food markets, hawker stalls, and street shops.  This definitely is the most important in Singapore.  You can spend $20 at a restaurant, or go to Little India and spend $3 for a huge meal.  Often times, my favorite meals I’ve had in restaurants are from the streets.  

Plan Ahead

I know a lot of people would argue with me about this, but the fact remains that if you plan ahead, you’re normally going to get a better deal.  Obviously, this can change in different situations, but I’ve found I spend more money when I wait to the last minute.  It can be really nice to just “go with the flow”, but if you don’t have a general plan, you might spend more cash than you needed to getting from point A or B, or sleeping at a more costly guesthouse or hostel.           

Don’t Tip

I know.  I know.  “Jones, what the hell is wrong with you?”  Well, let me explain.  As an American I find myself tipping way too much out in Asia.  It really isn’t that customary, and can save you a lot of money in the long run.  Especially with cab drivers, massages, waiters, etc.  Unless you found their services to be amazing, you enjoyed a good conversation, or you just overall had a great time; don’t feel obliged to leave a tip.      

Pre-Game like a King

This goes for everywhere in the world, but is just as great of a money saver in Asia.  Guess what?  Drinks in clubs and bars are more expensive than at 7/11.  Save extra cash by splitting a bottle of cheap whiskey or a couple beers before going out.

Cut Down on the Boozing

I know this can be a hard one; it’s south-east Asia.  Everywhere you go there’s gonna be great parties with a bunch of backpackers.  I’ll admit I normally go to all of these parties, but the costs of alcohol really do add up.  Try to pick and choose your parties, and not attend everyone.  

It’s More Fun In Hostels

Hostels are going to be cheaper than hotels about 90% of the time.  If you’re traveling with people, it might make more sense to all just split a room, but I think it’s still better to choose hostels.  You meet people, which is one of the best parts about traveling!  Just check out Hostelworld.com, sort by price, and pick one of the cheaper ones.  Definitely make sure it’s in a decent location though, and read some reviews before booking.  

Research And Save

One of the most important tips I could give is to research where you are going, what activities there are to do, and how much these should cost.  For example, if you’re flying into an Airport you’ve never been before, look up the cheapest way to get into the city center.  You don’t need to waste money on Taxis.  As well, ask other travelers how much they paid for certain things.  You don’t want to overpay because you didn’t know ahead of time.  

Don’t buy Souvenirs

You’re friends and family are gonna have to live with the fact that you can’t spend a bunch of money on little trinkets, and carry them around in your backpack for the next few months.  The best souvenirs are pictures, memories, and new relationships.  

Avoid Western Food

I understand that after a couple weeks of eating nothing but Fried Rice, Noodles, and Curry you are going to want something that reminds you of home.  Every once in awhile, Treat yo self!  But western food is going to be much more expensive than the local dishes.  Try and google the specialties of where you are, and try it.  

Never Pay To Use The Bathroom

I remember my first time to Europe, being shocked when asked for money to use a bathroom.  Well, guess what— it happens in Asia as well.  Unless it’s an emergency, you do not need to pay them.  I’ve used this one before — “Can I just go in and wash my hands?”  They normally say yes, but if they don’t, just find a nearby restaurant or cafe that has a bathroom, and pretend your’e a customer.  

Try The Local Snack Food

There will be plenty of times when you only have a couple minutes before a long bus ride, ferry ride, or flight.  When at a supermarket or 7/11, try the local snacks.  If every time you need to buy a snack, you grab the Pringles, Oreos, and Toblerone, you’re gonna be spending a lot.  Each country has their own variety of snack food, and a lot of it is pretty damn good.  

Sleeper Trains / Overnight Buses

On a lot of routes around SEA, you’re going to have many different options on transportation.  A good tip is to look into if they have a Sleeper train or overnight bus.  I’m a big fan of sleeper trains, and have never had a bad experience on them.  They save you a night of accommodation, and are just an enjoyable way to travel.  Long bus rides can be annoying, but sometimes they are necessary.  

Take Advantage of Flight Deals

You’d be surprised how cheap some airfare flights can be.  I found a flight one time for as low as $12.  You have to take into consideration of getting to the airport, and baggage fees (if you need to check a bag), but airlines have specials all the time.  Follow their pages on Facebook, and look for great deals.  Flying might not always be the cheapest option, but sometimes it is.  It will save you a lot of time and energy.  

Never Book “Transportation & Accommodation” Packages from Travel Agents.  

I’d say almost 99% of the time you will be able to do it cheaper yourself.  You can always find a cheap bus or train somewhere, and hostels are in every major destination in Asia.  They might try and sell you to think it’s a good deal, but I’d still avoid them.  Do it yourself.  

Only Eat When You’re Hungry… (Duh)

This could just be me, because I’m a fat kid at heart, but if I’m bored— I look to eat.  Just recently I started trying to save money by only eating when I really was hungry.  It can be hard when you’re just chilling on a beach all day, and don’t have much to do; so you think, who’s down to get some food?  Just wait until your’e actually hungry.    

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Travel Resources

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After spending the past 3-4 years of living and traveling abroad, I’ve learned a lot about how to find the best flights, accommodations, transportation deals, and other various travel resources.  I’m sharing all my information with you, so you can save as much money as possible, see more places, and travel longer.  I’ve used all of these companies before, and can personally recommend all of them.      

Flights

STA Travel

Definitely my favorite website for finding really cheap international flights.  Almost everytime I’ve booked flights between the U.S and Europe has been with STA Travel.  They also have a lot more than just airfare.  You can use them for trustworthy travel insurance, round-the-world tickets, ISIC student ID cards, EuroRail passes, and much more.  This website is geared towards a younger crowd, as most of the exclusive deals only work for students and people under the age of 26.

Skyscanner

This is the site I use the most when looking for flights.  The website is extremely user friendly, and can give you a broad range of options.  My favorite thing to do is search from one destination – “everywhere”, and they’ll provide a long list of the cheapest flights.  For example, I’ll search Barcelona – Everywhere for an entire month, and the results will show everywhere you can fly for cheap.

Momondo

Another useful site that will give you a lot of options to look at for flights.  I use SkyScanner a lot more, but there are times where I’ll compare and contrast between the two sites.

Student Universe

This is another student geared website that can be very handy.  When I’m looking for international flights, I always check with Student Universe as well as STA Travel.  You never know which site will have the best deal at the time.

Accommodations

Hostelworld

When I’m traveling, I really enjoy to stay at hostels.  The vibe is always great, and it’s fun meeting fellow travelers.  Hostelworld is my favorite site to find the best hostels in cities all over the world.  They have a ton of options, excellent reviews, great pictures, and a really easy-to-use search process.  They also include some hotels, B&B’s, and campsites.  When finding the perfect hostel, definitely read through the reviews left by past travelers, that can give you a great idea of how your time will be at that hostel.

Booking.com

This website has everything.  Great reviews, pictures, and really great layout.  There’s tons of ways to find the perfect hotel or hostel.  I’ve used this website many times.  As well, I like how that when they show the results, they show the full price that you will pay.  So when you are looking, you don’t get slammed at the end of the check-out process with hidden  taxes and service charges.

Hotels.com

I have used Hotels.com quite a bit in my travels.  I really like the look of their website, and their rewards program.  Everytime you stay 10 nights, you get one free night.  It’s pretty great.  They also are linked up with TripAdvisor for reviews, so there are tons of reviews to read when choosing the perfect spot.

Agoda

Another really useful site for finding the best accommodation for your budget.  I haven’t used the site too many times, but I know it’s very popular for great hotel deals.  Always remember to book with a discount code, there’s tons of them online.

European Budget Airlines

RyanAir

Everyone loves to hate on RyanAir.  Why?  Because they can be extremely awful.  The secret to flying RyanAir is for shorter weekend trips, and knowing how to pack properly.  I know it’s easy to want to bring a big suitcase, but they charge extra for checked bags.  Also, make sure your carry-on bag is no more than 10KG.  They can be really strict.  Be sure check in online and print out your boarding pass before getting to the airport.  One last note, make sure you know which airport you are flying in/out of.  They have lots of flights that fly into a city 1-2 hours outside the city center.

EasyJet

Really similar to RyanAir, but I have found them to be much more expensive.  You definitely want to plan in advance when/ where you are going with EasyJet to get the best deals.  They are not as strict with the baggage, but you want to try not to risk it.  They fly all over Europe, and is a great option for low-budget travel in Europe.

Vueling

Personally, this is my favorite airline in Europe.  This is mainly for flights to/from Spain, but you can find great deals around other parts of Europe as well.  I have found some pretty great fares, the plans are much more comfortable, and they are pretty relaxed on how big your carry-on bag can be.  They also have great customer service.  (I was running really late to a flight in Barcelona, and thought I was going to miss it.  They have a “last-minute” check-in counter, and the lady working calmed me down, and said she’ll make sure I make the flight.)

Transavia

This is a Dutch based airline.  So if you are looking for flights to/from The Netherlands, this could be your best bet.  When searching for flights, remember that Holland is a relatively small country, so it might be cheaper for you to fly into Rotterdam airport instead of Amsterdam.  You can search around different options, and find the best deals.  They have a large selection of destinations, and are known to have some pretty extravagant sales!

WizzAir

The Eastern-European low-budget airline.  Are you looking to fly to Romania, Budapest, Poland, Serbia, Bosnia, etc?  This is where you wanna look.  Obviously, I would start out by searching with Skyscanner to cover all the airlines, but this airline normally some amazing deals.  I booked a flight from Budapest- Eindhoven for 20 euros one time!  Be careful with baggage size.

European Bus Companies

Eurolines

I love Eurolines.  They are a great bus company that pretty much covers the entire span of Europe.  They have awesome unlimited bus travel deals if you are trying to fit in a lot of cities in a short amount of time, but I really only recommend those if you are traveling during the off-peak season.  They have fare prices for the shorter trips, and okay prices for longer trips.  I’ve used them many times, and don’t have any complaints.  If you book well in advance, the prices are much lower.  So if you know you are going somewhere, book it early.

Student Agency

The name might be misleading, because this company is not just for students.  This bus company is based in Prague, and is a great way of getting around Europe.  I used them for one of the longest bus rides of my life, Prague – Rome, which took 17 hours.  But the bus was comfortable, and they made stops for food and restrooms.

European Rideshare companies

BlaBlaCar

A really easy-to-use platform for finding people driving from one city to another.  You can find some really cheap rides all over Europe, and can meet some awesome people along the way.

Carpooling.co.uk

Another great carpooling website.  I have found this be specifically useful for Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, Hungary, and Switzerland.