Travel Resources for your travel planning!
I suffer from “Compulsive-Obsessive-Travel-Planning Disorder” (COTPD) so I tend so too much time planning trips and annoy my friends in the process. In order to save money and embark on some non-tourist adventures at the same time, I usually rely on some trusty travel resources to help me during my obsessive planning!
A very comprehensive site that offers information about all the prefectures in Japan. You can find reliable information about places of attraction, opening hours, prices, transportation and even JR passes. However, they do not really offer much information about lesser known prefectures/cities. Their cherry blossom reports and autumn leaves reports provide real time updates about the blooming/colors progress.
While not as organised or informative as Japan Guide, Taiken has a good spread of travel articles. Their Top 15 lists are quite useful – like this (my Top 15 Okinawa list)!
This Japanese site (with English support) provides very accurate information for those who are hunting for sakura.
Similar Japanese site (with English support) provides very accurate information for those who are chasing after autumn leaves.
Useful site to check train timings (everything from JR lines, Shinkansen to local trains).
The Japanese version of this site has a wider selection of accommodation. As I am very “cheap”, I usually use this site to book traditional inns (ryokans) as the prices are cheaper than meals are generally provided. However, do check the prices against booking sites like Booking.com and Agoda.
- Prefecture’s tourism site
Most prefectures have their own tourism sites which offer information. They are great for checking about weather, festivals (especially the local ones) and even special offers!
This lucky man has travelled all over Europe and makes a living providing travel information. His Europe guides are a good place to start trip planning. His website provides summarised information extracted from his guides. Sometimes I can find his guides in National Library. His old-school Youtube videos provide bite-size information about popular attractions in Europe. I also make use of his travel forums to hunt for information.
I am a fan of Booking.com as I like their free cancellation coverage. They usually offer free cancellation for most accommodation except for some busy cities like Hong Kong and Seattle. For the big cities, the booking rates are generally cheaper for the non-refundable options. On various occasions, they helped me to contact the hotels to request for waiver of cancellation fees. This usually works except for an unfortunate situation with a hotel in Kyoto.
I used Agoda more in the past. Recently, most of their deals are non-refundable and the prices are higher than Booking.com after including taxes.
Tripadvisor is ever trustworthy for general searches. I usually check their reviews to select my accommodation before booking them on Booking.com. I also use their travel forums to get information which I can’t find through google searches.
Sometimes Viator will have good deals. They are recommended in some Tripadvisor forums.
They have good deals for air tickets and hotel bundles (especially with credit card promotions) frequently. However, do check the air fare conditions as one of my friends had to pay quite abit when she had to rescheduled her SQ air tickets to Okinawa.
I sometimes use Hotel.com to check hotel rates. It is good that they do a “price match”. They said that their reservations are guaranteed to be the lowest rate you can find. If there is a lower rate publicly available for the same dates and the same hotel or vacation rental and room category, you can contact them prior to the hotel’s cancellation deadline. I have not tried this yet tho!
Good for getting an overview of airfares and possible airlines / routes. I usually use it to scan for airfares and shortlist the airlines. Then I will go to the individual airline websites to check the prices. It helps to compare the airfares using different sites!