Travel + Blogging Resources
TAKE THE HEADACHE OUT OF TRAVEL PLANNING
last month I really wanted to go to paris.
Today I bought a ticket to paris.
the moral of the story?
follow your dreams.
Okay, so we all know it just ain’t that easy (boy, wouldn’t that be nice?!). You gotta save up, buy the ticket, decide on a hotel, plan the trip, blah blah blah… it takes some serious dedication and planning.
Thankfully, I’ve crafted a whole post with exactly that…
Pick Your Section
Another flight scanner comparison tool, with a whole slew of features. Skyscanner is absolute perfection if you’re flexible on both dates and destination. I use it two ways: 1. with specific dates searching worldwide (yup, it’s possible), or 2. Destination in mind and searching for the best price during an entire month.
Upon sign up (there’s a free and paid version), you’ll get personalized emails with super cheap international flights and/or error fares. The discounted fares don’t last long, so you need to act fast! This is how I found great deals on flights to Kauai and SFO to NYC for under $200. If you’re flexible, Scott’s Cheap Flights is your dream come true.
My go-to app for incredible last-minute hotel deals. Think road-tripping and spontaneous weekend trips. You can now check and book hotels up to seven days in advance. Top tip: download the app in advance in case you’re stuck without wifi for a bit. Use my promo code JKLEINER for a free $25 towards your first booking.
Feel more like a local in a new city/area by renting out a private room, entire apartment, or even a full house! We’ve had some fantastic experiences and wonderful hosts, and saved a ton of money! Read all the reviews and make sure the property owner is readily available to contact. Always check the cancellation policy. There are some epic experiences to be had - from treehouses to yurts to castles and everything in between. Save $35 off your first stay here!
I never used to buy travel insurance. But after thinking about all the things that could go wrong, I finally came to the realization that it really is worth the (small) extra cost, and it’s just plain stupid to travel without. World Nomads is not just for medical insurance, but also helps when luggage is lost, you need to cancel a trip, or when your gear is stolen or damaged when traveling. You’ll be kicking yourself mid-trip if something goes wrong and you’ve got to pay tons out of pocket. They say if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Now I won’t travel without it. Get a FREE quote. Planning a trip abroad? Just get the insurance. No excuses.
If you’re covering large distances around Japan, a Japan Rail Pass is most likely your cheapest option for transport. You’ll need to buy it beforehand as it’s not readily offered for sale in the country. We booked our Japan Rail Pass with this company and our voucher arrived promptly in the mail.
I tend to choose Uber over taxis whenever possible, for a variety of reasons: you order the car straight from your cell phone, know how much it’ll cost upfront (typically less than taxis), and you can track the route. It’s not available in every city, but is becoming more and more common around the globe.
Looking for a more locals-type experience? Think baking macarons in a local Parisian’s kitchen, going on a photo walk of NYC, and taco/mezcal food tours of Mexico. I’ve been using AirBnB to book experiences pretty frequently now! Save $15 on your first AirBnB experience here.
I’m a BIG FAN of GetYourGuide when it comes to browsing activities and signing up for tours. From cultural experiences, to sightseeing, to food tours, I alway find a few things of interest to me. I’ve been using the site for years, and can honestly say 99% of the time the tours are downright AWESOME and a good bang for your buck.
Whenever GetYourGuide doesn’t have what I’m looking for, I head straight to Viator. Viator tends to have more options and a greater number of destinations covered. However, in all honesty, I do prefer GYG since they’re upfront about the tour provider of the activity, whereas Viator only discloses this information after you book.
International Travel Planning Resources
Before jetting off, I always check the CDC website. It’s filled with lots of useful information, including travel health notices and recommended vaccines and medications. It’s always wise to schedule a travel appointment with your doctor so you can decide what’s best when it comes to vaccinations and precautionary medications with trained medical staff.
A tiny personal wifi device that’s only a few bucks a day, and can be used for multiple devices. If you rely on your cell phone for literally everything like I do, and don’t wanna pay for a data plan from your cell company, a personal wifi device is super helpful.
Other Things I Love
Travel internationally a bunch?! Make the switch to T-Mobile. I’ve been with them for years, and love the access to free data and texting (in over 210 countries!), including free wifi in the air at times. A true lifesaver if you rely on your phone for just about everything (GPS, emails, social media, etc).
I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years, and have (thankfully) learned quite a few things over that time. I reached 100K+ page views per month in June 2017, and it’s only gone up ever since! (I now average 200k+ per month). Here are all the services and products I use to keep my blog running.
The most powerful tool for blogging. And different than wordpress.com. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, do me a favor and start with wordpress.org from the very beginning. I made that mistake once, and ended up spending hours upon hours converting my site. Not much fun.
If you’ve never touched the WordPress platform before, you may wanna check out these video tutorials (it can be a tad tricky for beginners). And yes, as the website says, you can really learn wordpress in about an hour or so, without all the confusing tech jargon.
Performance Foundry: What I currently use for hosting my domain. Once I reached 100k page views a month, I made the switch, and haven’t looked back since! With an hour of FREE tech support each and every month, and basically no downtime (I can trust them to keep my site from going down due to a viral post), they are worth 5x what I pay.
Bluehost was the first hosting company I used when I started my site, and used it for 5+ years before needing to update to a more powerful host. If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend Bluehost. Sign up now for only $3.95 a month; this price really can’t be beat.
My current site is running on a Genesis child theme, and designed and coded by Laura from PixelMe Designs, who is an absolute dream to work with, just FYI.
If you’re not looking for a fully customized website, I highly recommend perusing ThemeForest, as there are tons of options (and where I found my old theme used on my site from 2013-2019). It’s the ultimate site for premium customizable and fully responsive themes. So many offer question and answer sessions, an updated features log, and so much more. Look here first if you’re thinking of switching up your theme. I bought my theme and interactive world map plug-in from this site. Also on Envato Marketplace: premium plug-ins, graphics, code, and audio.
This bad boy is perfect for anyone who wants to dip their toes into professional photography editing, yet doesn’t want to learn the craziness of Photoshop. It’s pretty intuitive to use, and if I can’t figure something out, it’s so easy to find tutorials on YouTube! Great for resizing photos in batches, too!
When editing on the go, I tend to use Snapseed, ColorStory, and Retouch. I use Canva to make pinterest graphics and Pixabay to find stock photos.
Keysearch (keyword research tool). If you’re looking to increase your chances of ranking on page 1 on search, you need Keysearch. Plain and simple. Investing in Keysearch was the best thing I ever did in my blogging career (if you have a blog, you NEED this). Sign up here and use discount code of KSDISC to receive 20% off!
I’m very weary of online courses these days, as so many make false promises and are not backed on actual results. With that being said, the only course I ever took was Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It got my butt in gear and helped me really focused on earning passive money through affiliates.