On this page, you’ll find all the travel companies I actually use and recommend, including several excellent sustainable travel companies.
[Related: Click here for discount codes for the sustainable products I’ve reviewed. For my favorite blogging & website resources, go here.]
Note: Many of these are also affiliate links. That means if you click through them to make the travel bookings you’re planning to make anyway, I’ll earn a small commission from the travel company. (Without increasing the price you pay. And you’ll still have your Booking.com Genius status, and other loyalty perks with the companies.)
This is a major part of how I earn money from this website and can continue to write the detailed guides and reviews you enjoy here, so thank you for using these links!
Table of contents
- Hotels & Accommodations
- Trains, Ferries & Busses
- Luggage Storage
- Multi-day Trips (Sustainable Travel Companies)
- Day Trips & Tours
- Travel Insurance
- Language Learning (Free!)
- VPNs & Tech for Travel
Hotels & Accommodations
EcoHotels.com is a new booking platform that only offers certified sustainable hotels. They have a wider range of of properties than other eco-friendly accommodation platforms (in terms of both geography and price), and they’re a small company themselves.
Plum Guide (upscale vacation homes)
And they’ve cut out all the extra fees (cleaning, service fee, taxes…), so what you see as the nightly rate on Plum Guide really is what you pay.
(Here are a few more AirBnb and Couchsurfing alternatives!)
Booking.com (my go-to starting place)
Booking.com is my go-to when I don’t find what I’m looking for on EcoHotels.com. I prefer Booking because it has more useful and easy-to-use filters than other hotel sites – including a filter for “Travel Sustainable Properties.”
(As always, my best tip for sustainable hotels is opt for the small, independent and locally-owned ones. So avoid the big chains on Booking.com.)
Oliver’s Travels (villas for rent + sustainability filters)
Oliver’s Travels is similar to Plum Guide, above, except that all of their properties are villas – perfect for unique group trips. They also have an excellent sustainability filter, with dozens of eco-friendly villas for rent across Europe.
Agoda (best for Asia)
Agoda is the best booking platform for hotels in Asia – they tend to have the most selection and best prices on the continent. (But you can use Agoda to book in other places, as well.)
HotWire.com (last-minute deals!)
Hotwire is useful for finding last-minute hotel deals. I find it works best in big cities in the US, and the most value tends to be when you go for a 4- or 5-star hotel in a city center and let Hotwire choose the exact property for you.
Trains, Ferries & Busses
Omio (my 1st stop)
Omio is my first stop to get the lay of the land (and sea and air) for travel options. It shows train, bus, ferry and flight options in a single search, so it’s perfect for giving you an idea of what options you have. (I’ve found it’s best for travel in Europe, the US and Canada, and does the best job with trains and busses.)
I’ve done quite a bit of price comparing and found train tickets in Italy are the same price on Omio versus buying them directly from the train companies. (And it’s a lot simpler, as you don’t have translation issues, or problems with non-Italian credit cards.)
For booking Amtrak train tickets in the US, Omio is a bit of a wild card. Sometimes tickets are more expensive, but sometimes they’re much cheaper.
FerryHopper lets you compare multiple ferry companies’ routes, schedules and prices all on one site – sort of like a Kayak or Skyscanner for ferries in Europe and North Africa. (And with no fees or markups.)
I discovered FerryHopper when I was visiting the Greek islands of Paros and Naxos, and I’ve loved it ever since. Other benefits (besides easy price comparison) include e-tickets, which mean you don’t have to check in at the ferry port, and an app with a live map to track your ferry.
The famous EuRail Pass can be a good way to save money on European train travel – depending on your travel plans. Essentially, the passes let you pre-pay for train tickets in Europe.
Whether it will save you money depends on where you’re going and how many trains you’ll be taking, so you’ll have to look into the different pass options and compare with the prices for individual trains tickets. (Use Omio for that part – you’ll see all the train options for a route without having to check different companies’ websites.)
Kayak is what I use most often, because I find it to be the simplest and easiest, but that’s just my personal preference.
You can try your own comparison with the flight search engines below:
My favorite thing about Skyscanner is that it has a calendar view for comparing a whole month’s worth of flight fares. (While Kayak only shows one week at a time.) And you can filter for direct flights only.
And Skyscanner seems to search small booking sites that other flight search platforms ignore, and makes it easier to book directly with airlines.
Formerly known as Scotts Cheap Flights, Going is a free flight alert service that emails you deals from your home airport. It's most useful if you can be flexible with your travel dates (and maybe even destinations).
They also have a paid version that sends out extraordinary deals (like "error fares"), but I just use the free version. (You can sign up to try it and always unsubscribe if it doesn't work for you.)
I always recommend people stash their roller bags whenever they have a few spare hours in a city! Dragging them around gets old fast – especially in any place with cobblestones.
I’ve used LuggageHero a few times in cities around the world, and it’s always worked smoothly. You use it to pre-book storage online, and leave your bags at a local business (from hotels to hairdressers – you pick the location). You pay by the hour or day for each piece of luggage.
You can often find other options (such as the hotel you’re checking into or out of, for example), but LuggageHero is great for long layovers or a few hours between trains.
Bounce and Stasher are two alternatives to LuggageHero. I haven’t personally used them, but the concept is the same. The choice is just a matter of which one has the most convenient location for your plans.
Multi-day Trips (Sustainable Travel Companies)
Byway is a fantastic new company in the UK that creates fully curated, private European trips without any flights. They're a Certified B Corp focused on getting us off the beaten path and enjoying a slower pace of travel.
You can customize any part of a route they've designed – like Sicily by Sleeper Train, or Canal Cities in the Netherlands (not just Amsterdam) – or create your own from scratch. They'll handle the bookings, and even restaurant & activity recommendations.
Intrepid is the essentially the biggest name in sustainable travel. They run all sorts of small-group tours with local guides – from Italy to Iran to Antarctica.
But what makes them unique is that they're a B-Corp, they've been carbon-neutral since 2010, and are the first tour company to have science-based climate targets!
G Adventures is another great option for booking more sustainable and ethical trips. They offer small-group travel with a focus on positive local community impact. That impact is measured through their unique Ripple Score, which shows how much of the cost of your trip stays in the local community you’re visiting.
Day Trips & Tours
Get Your Guide is excellent for booking all kinds of private and group tours with local guides in Europe, North America, and around the world. It’s especially good for more off-the-beaten path destinations and smaller towns in Europe.
Insure My Trip is the largest travel insurance broker in the US, so they have a wide variety of plans that you can compare side-by-side.
You can go with a basic “travel medical” plan, or filter for plans that include “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage. (And it does mean any reason.)
- Also insures travelers over 70 (World Nomads doesn't)
- Known for great customer service
- Clearly marked "Cancel for Any Reason" plans
World Nomads’ simple and flexible travel insurance policies offer coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
- Simple and flexible
- Buy or extend your policy while traveling
- Very quick to get a quote = Easy way to start your insurance research
- Can't insure travelers over 70
- Fewer options than other providers
While it's not as well known as the others, Travel Insurance Master offers more variety, and lets you compare plans from different providers side-by-side. Plus, if you're not the from the US, Travel Insurance Master has more options regardless of your country of residence.
I also like that you can choose your own deductible. After selecting a plan, you can check how much of a deductible you want, and it'll automatically update the quote.
Note: If Travel Insurance Master says there are no plans available for your trip, try changing the “Plan Type” on the left-hand side from “Trip Cancellation” to “No Trip Cancellation.”
- Lots of variety
- Also insures travelers over 70 (World Nomads doesn't)
- "Choose Your Own Deductible" for any plan
- More options for travelers not from US
Language Learning (Free!)
Learn a bit of the local language before you travel! Use this link for a free week of language lessons from Pimsleur.
It’s enough to at least pick up a few words or recognize a bit of what people are saying when you land. (The program focuses on listening and repeating, which makes it more useful than many other apps that basically just make you try to memorize written vocab.)
VPNs & Tech for Travel
Usually you don’t actually need a VPN to get online securely when you travel – or any other time (as I learned when I interviewed a cyber security expert for the linked post). Using a password manager is much more important – it makes your passwords unique and uncrackable (and you don’t have to remember them).
If you want to keep things simple and use the same company for everything, TunnelBear makes a password manager called RememBear. I haven’t used it, but it’s well rated and I think highly of the company.