Unless you're truly a free spirit (or just impersonating one for a few days/weeks) you probably like to have a plan of attack when you hit the road or take to the sky with your sights set on some destination — new or old, familiar or strange.
Taking care of the logistics — where you'll be staying, how you'll get around, what sites there are to see — is an essential part of traveling, and one you won't want to neglect. And, now more than ever, there are tools out there to help you take care of the details.
It's not always easy to find the most useful ones, however, which is why I'm here to let you know what's worked for me, and why you might want to give these services a try, too.
Ready? Here's 3 things to arm yourself with in undertaking modern travel:
1. Airbnb (airbnb.com) — Taking care of where you'll rest your head at night
Airbnb, which boasts more than 3 million listings worldwide, should be your go-to for booking lodging, whether traveling domestically or abroad. This community marketplace was launched in 2008 in San Francisco and allows the ultimate flexibility in accommodation, with basically unlimited options.
Straight from their site: "Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries." And these are all available through private hosts who put their places up for rent on the site (something anyone can do, by the way).
Personally, I've used Airbnb numerous times since creating my account a couple years ago. My first trip was to a cabin in the woods in Vermont (seen above) in March 2015 (you can read about that trip here). Not once have I been murdered, kidnapped, or locked in an underground room by someone with 24 personalities, so I can totally vouch for this website.
If you've already discovered Airbnb, more power to you, but if not, I highly recommend it the next time it's up to you to coordinate lodging for your travels. And, if you really want to be a pal, you can get started with my referral link: www.airbnb.com/c/lhansen709.
2. Turo (turo.com) — How you'll be getting from point A to point B, after you've arrived at your destination
Renting a car used to mean going through a traditional company like Enterprise or Hertz, but now, with the rise of the sharing economy, we have Turo, which is basically the Airbnb for rental cars.
Private car owners rent their vehicles out through the site, once again giving travelers many, many options at all kinds of price points.
From what I can tell, the service is only available in the U.S. and Canada (so, sorry everybody else, I guess), with larger metropolitan areas naturally being its hotspots (e.g. Boston, Denver, Toronto). In February/March 2016, a group of four friends and I rented a 2013 Nissan Altima off of Turo when we visited Los Angeles over spring break (another trip I've written about). It only cost us $50/person for the week.
Wondering how insurance works for this? Turo has all the information laid out, so there's no need to stress. Find a car you like for a price you like and they'll walk you through the rest.
Shameless plug #2: use my referral link — https://turo.com/c/loganh33 — and we'll both get $25 off our trips.
3. Roadtrippers (roadtrippers.com) — Find things to do once you've arrived, or on the way there
As is probably evident from the name, this website is the ultimate guide for roadtripping (in the U.S., at least). Google Maps is obviously great for charting your course on the open road, but Roadtrippers is where you should go to figure out where you'll stop on your journey.
Let them know where you're headed and they'll show you where to find offbeat attractions, places to eat, natural wonders, spooky spots, and just about anything else you could think of really. What's more, if you don't know where to start, Roadtrippers offers trip guides, allowing you to take the road trip of your dreams — even if you only just learned of its existence!
May I suggest a few? Good, because I was going to anyway. Check these out: Road Trip Down Florida's A1A and U.S. 1, Route 66 Roadside Icons, and Finding Mystery and Adventure in Northern California.
If you create your own trip, Roadtrippers will let you know the approximate drive time, how much it will cost you in gas money, and, of course, the amount of miles you're about to rack up. Not ready to go just yet? Create a bucket list or simply add the destination to your "Saved Places."
Hope you feel more prepared to hit the ground running!