Successful travel is often learned through many trials and errors. It encompasses research and lots of planning. The first step to launching your next exciting adventure is to have the tools to get there.
Planning your trip is often overwhelming to many people. We will try to eliminate that for you. A large part of what scares people away from organizing their adventures is the lack of the tools and resources to do so. We are going to provide you with that!
Our goal is to give you all the Tips and Resources we use to plan our trips. We are saving you many of those hard-learned lessons we experienced. As a result, your trip will be the enormous success you deserve. This is all in the hope that you are already planning your next adventure on your flight home.
We will also talk about the what-ifs of travel and how to be ready for them. Life happens even when we travel, so being prepared mentally and with the right tools to get you through is vital.
While researching and planning your trip, you will discover unique places you never considered visiting. Maybe just a little bit off the beaten path, but they can transform this adventure into an authentic and unforgettable experience. This trip is your dream; you make it your own by planning it yourself. That is an essential part of your journey, and honestly, without it, we think much less fun.
We will help you plan an incredible trip with our Tips and Resources. We will encourage you to squeeze every moment out of your adventure. To map out full days but always leave room for spontaneity.
That is essential, letting those moments in and embracing them.
What is a trip without a cold local brew at the local pub in Ireland? A conversation with a kind elderly gentleman sharing what his life is like in Siena, Italy? Simply people-watching while sitting at a Paris corner bistro? Take that gorgeous boat ride up a river you had no idea was even there.
Combining independent elements into group travel
We believe that independent travel is always the best way to go if possible. What you experience when it is just you vs. a large group can be very different. If you choose the group route, there could always be days before; after that, we can guide you through the planning. When traveling on cruises or tours, somebody else will set most of the schedule for you, but you can still handle many elements. Even in organized travel, you can have ownership of many aspects. Why use an intermediary or travel agent when you can deal with the company directly?
We fully recognize it is not an option or even safe to travel without a tour or guide in some parts of the world. Though we admire those who travel places few would go, we are not risk-takers by nature. There are independent adventures, and those risks outweigh the benefit, at least for us.
Traveling on a Budget
Our Tips and Resources will guide you in keeping costs down without compromising on accommodations or experience. We will teach ways to get the perks you thought were only given to a business or frequent traveler.
Full disclosure: we are not backpackers or people who like roughing it (though we admire those who do). We stay in hotels, B&Bs, or Airbnb. Our dining is kept pretty simple, preferring local eateries, but we occasionally treat ourselves to a nice meal. We seek places where we get complimentary breakfast, free dinners, or executive lounges with an evening light meal. We save costs everywhere we can.
The more saved, the more experiences we can have with our dollars.
As for most of you, the cost is a significant component of how often we can travel.
That said, let us be upfront; life is unpredictable. While we are in a position to travel, we should. We can’t keep saying, well, one day when I have a lot more money, or I have more vacation, or when I retire……… for many, those days may never come. Joelle can speak well to that after her years in Oncology. If you want to travel, do it. Stop putting it off.
Travel does not have to break the bank and leave you stressed for months after. You do not need to settle for unsafe or cheap accommodations. Peanut butter and crackers will not need to be your primary source of nutrition. Tips and Resources are here to guide your next adventure.
The Cost of Tours and Guides
Many people feel safer about taking tours, and that is understandable. We are not touring people but know many people who enjoy them. When sharing more detail, they often speak of the cost, the amount of time spent waiting, the lack of time for self-adventure, or being stuck with people who drive you crazy for ten days. Others rave about it. They adore the group dynamics and the friends they make, which becomes the highlight of the trip. It is your experience, your memories, do what makes you the happiest.
The cost, though, can be relatively high. That cost could equal three times what an independent trip would cost. If you can get three adventures instead of one, when a significant part of your time is the group’s movement and waiting, it seems not much bang for the buck.
Most tours have independent days; you can arrive early or stay later. That is the case before and after cruises as well. Our country pages are full of facts and other important info that is an excellent resource to have no matter how you travel. Click here to go to our Destinations page.
Resources and guides for all
Our style is independent travel, but there is info at Wanderers Compass for everyone. Our overall message is to travel! Travel well and travel often. We want to inspire you to get out there and experience this incredible world. To become a global citizen and absorb all the beautiful places you will visit and the people you will meet. Absorb the history and culture of all the beautiful places you will visit. You will be changed in ways you never imagined.
Want to learn about Wanderers Compass?
Travel perks and tips Knowing where to go
Part of the success of travel is knowing your travel options and the perks available to you, like which hotels, airlines, and rental car companies to use. What are ways to join loyalty programs without frequent stays? Ever wish you could have access to that airport lounge with a free open bar, incredible food, and even a shower? How about a gorgeous suite with a balcony overlooking the walled city of Dubrovnik without paying a dime? You will learn how we use all that and more.
We will share our favorite travel companies and why we use them. We will explain how we travel in style and comfort while keeping our costs low. Some call these travel hacks. We have never liked that wording, as it sounds like you are cheating or getting around someone else to get these perks. You aren’t; they are there for the taking if you know how to get there. Trust us, in the end, they benefit you and the business.
We will work hard in the early stages of the blog to build this part of the portfolio. If we do not give the Tips and Resources to plan the trip, the destination info only goes so far. We plan to do videos of how to plan your trips and daily routes and keep that all in order.
Champagne and dinner before a long flight?
Open bar, unlimited food and snacks, bottled water for flight, lovely surroundings, showers, entertainment areas, workspaces, and even places to sleep. All free, one of the many perks that could be yours.
The what-ifs? Preparation is 90% of the game
With all travel, we must plan contingencies. Our trips could be fraught with emergencies, health issues, injuries (as an example, note on our About page, I am in a medical boot), cancellations, weather, theft, lost documents, and, as we learned in 2020, Pandemics. All of these can turn our travel upside down.
Being prepared is an essential element. Believing nothing will happen is both stupid and dangerous. Young people often don’t get travel insurance because they think I am not old and won’t get sick. They are more likely to get injured on a trip or get robbed. If they get stranded someplace due to canceled flights, hotel closing, all their belongings being stolen, or a host of other problems, they are often the ones with little financial means to get out of the situation. We will discuss preparing for that and where you can keep costs down.
Sharing our experiences to make your next trip the best
Travel is an adventure. Therefore, always make the most of it as you can. Using the Tips and Resources we share will make your next journey even more incredible and life-changing. Let us guide and teach you what we have learned from our decades of travel experience. We can’t wait for you to share your travel success stories with us and what tips you gained along the way.
Wander in Wonder!!
© 2023 Wanderers Compass All Rights Reserved
Our Recommended Travel Resources
Our favorite travel insurance site!
If you are booking a trip, don’t forget to get travel insurance within 14 days of your first booking. We could not be stronger advocates of being well-insured. Not just for the little stuff but the big stuff like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Over the years, we have used many sites but have now found our go-to place. Squaremouth.com does a fantastic job; it has a user-friendly interface, they use top-rated and reputable insurance carriers, and most policies cover Covid medical issues and cancellations. They also mediate on your behalf if you have problems with your policy.
To empower you as a consumer, we suggest you read our blog post on the importance of travel insurance and how to get the best coverage from top-rated companies for an affordable price.
Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world
They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the U.S. to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. They cover Covid-related transports as well.
Medjet carries its own policies. The policy is only for transport and no other aspects of travel insurance. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for around $300. Most of their policies limit the age to 74 and younger. Prices are not based on age below that.
To learn more about how Medical Evacuation membership with Medjet Assist works, check out our blog post for a more detailed review.
Hotels, home rentals, BNBs, flights, and other transportation & tours
Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Whether planning a family vacation, booking for business, or organizing the trip of a lifetime, they are a fantastic resource. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you would need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, and cruises, to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.
Hotels, Home rentals, BNBs, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours
Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes.
We always start with Expedia to check prices, but it sometimes says it is sold out. We then try Booking.com, and we find it lists plenty of rooms. It could be they are a Europe-based company. Try both before booking accommodations.
Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)
Are you traveling with a family or having an extended stay at your destination?
With over 2 million bookable vacation rentals, VRBO connects homeowners with families and vacationers looking for something more than a hotel for their trip. The VRBO community offers families or groups various rental property types such as condos, cabins, lake rentals, beach houses, etc.
VRBO is under the Expedia group ownership now, which many were worried about, but it hasn’t panned out to be a concern. It is a massive network that has access to all forms of lodging should issues arise. Joelle has used VRBO for many years with her family with no problems.
As the leading marketplace for travel experiences, Viator believes that making memories is what travel is all about. And with 300,000+ experiences to explore—everything from simple tours to extreme adventures (and all the niche, interesting stuff in between)—making memories that will last a lifetime has never been easier.
With industry-leading flexibility and last-minute availability, it’s never too late to make any day extraordinary. This one site has it all and has experiences throughout the world. We use them often during our travels, especially for food tours. We especially take the time to read the reviews provided.
Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, helps hundreds of millions of people each month become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Travelers worldwide use the Tripadvisor site and App to discover where to stay, what to do, and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before.
With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions from nearly 8 million businesses, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at popular restaurants, and discover great places to see nearby. We use them for guidance and research on every trip; it is a valuable app for the independent traveler.
(Airport and sightseeing service)
A global leader in ground transportation for travelers. They help hundreds of companies around the world enhance their services and boost their revenue with our 5-star ride experiences and hassle-free automation
Founded in 2015 in Athens, Greece, Welcome Pick-ups goes above and beyond the standard transfer service as the first company to deliver a holistic, in-destination travel experience. From the moment a traveler arrives at a new destination until they return home, Welcome accommodates all their travel needs (transfers, travel products, things to do, information) as the easiest, friendliest, and most personalized solution.
Discover Europe by Train
Rail Europe sells train and bus tickets for travel across Europe. They cover 24 countries, 105 rail operations, and 20,000 stations. They are the official rail and bus operations agents in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Rail Europe continues to add coverage all the time.
It is a fast, easy, and economical way to purchase European train and bus tickets. Eurail passes are also available to buy through their site.
An excellent source for travel essentials and guides
We now have our own Amazon Storefront with all our favorite travel accessories and gear in one place. Check out our travel store at the link below.
Amazon is one of the most comprehensive online shopping sources in the world. On behalf of their customers, teams worldwide provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery. They offer a vast inventory, and their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com provide extensive options to customers.
We buy most of our travel books, accessories, and luggage from Amazon. We have ordered up to two days before travel and get what we need.
Thoughtfully Designed | Meticulously Constructed | Quality Guaranteed.
We have used this luggage for years, left briefly to try others, and returned to Travelpro. Travelpro luggage is carried by crews from over 90 airlines worldwide.
Travelpro takes the time to learn what travelers want and need, then builds it. The key factor for us is that it must be lightweight upfront and resistant to rough handling. Their luggage is the best, and we could not recommend it enough. It is our go-to luggage.
This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Check out our most recent posts
The Markets of Morocco
A Colorful and Agriculturally Rich Photo Essay “I love Morocco – it’s a real…
Frederick, Maryland: Where Craft Breweries and American History Make for the Perfect Getaway
Historic downtown Frederick: A blend of historic charm with a contemporary edge “Whoever drinks…
5 Best Countries to Retire in Europe
As part of our guest writers series, we are excited to welcome back Martyna…
Traditional Guinness Beef Stew: An Irish Icon
Bring Ireland into your home with this delicious adaptation of the official Guinness Beef…
Guinness Irish Brown Bread with Molasses
Our choice of bread to accompany our Traditional Guinness Irish Stew “Guinness is good…
Dubrovnik Wall Walk: A Photo Essay
Exploring this ancient Croatian wonder through the camera’s eye “We drove in and got…