– great for checking flight prices but not always the cheapest or up to date price. When airlines release cheap flights, it can take 36 hours to appear here. Also, prices here can be more expensive and if you go to the airline’s site they may have a sale or have changed prices since skyscanner got their figures
Great for hotel price comparisons. This site used to be the best and cheapest but others have brought their prices into line to compete. Always check directly with the hotel website as they can offer better deals.
One of my favourites and great for accurate reviews from people who have definitely stayed somewhere. Other sites can have dubious looking reviews. Great for adding bookings to calendars on your smart phone. The prices on booking.com frequently include breakfast and do not always list room only rates. Once you have found a place worthwhile always check out other sites for room only rates which can be 20% cheaper.
While obvious I also find the forums helpful in finding out about cities and getting answers to questions. There is an army of people out there willing to help you. I ignore reviews from people who have only submitted 1 review good or bad. Many cities have TripAdvisor guides pre-written for a 3-day or 5-day visit. These guides are also themed for families, matures, budget travellers so usually you will find something to suit. Check out cheap eats, map it and where the most dots appear is a great area to eat and drink.
For maps and reviews of hotels and bars. Google do reviews too and their content is improving. I use this tool to search for restaurants in a city to identify the best areas to stay. The little red dots that appear after a search show the areas you may want to stay (or avoid if you want peace). Google allows you to save their maps offline and also save the location of points of interest
Brilliant site for working out travel options and prices between two locations. It includes trains, planes and buses.
Much better information in large cities on finding bars. I have the smartphone OSMAnd version that allows map downloads and includes wikipedia articles in English on all the sites. As it’s a download you can use while out and about.
A slightly quirky one this as it’s a free game. What is really good is that it has a list of tourist sites that it calls “portals” and is run by the same company that does “Pokemon Go”. The smartphone version you can use while out and about and leads you to interesting sites using local knowledge. I never play the game and just use it to find interesting locations. In Sorrento it led me to a fisherman’s shrine not on any tourist guide and in the Loire valley to a statue of Joan of Arc. I would not have seen either of these without this “game”
Many areas of Europe have their own forum where expats exchange information. Can be a great source of local knowledge and information not found elsewhere. Varies from country to country in quality.
I create login accounts on yahoo.fr, yahoo.es and others and then search in the country I am going to for local best deals. Turning google translate on gets you the prices and information in English. You can save up to 30% by buying local and in Euros.