A sustainable guide to Cape Town

A sustainable guide to Cape Town

Is it possible to travel, sustainably? To find the right places to shop and go to? The right hotels to sleep in without having to worry about destroying the planet? I believe it is and I want to show you how, so that you can make the most of your travel experience knowing that you’re visiting this beautiful place – guilt free.

We all know what to do in Cape Town. And, if you don’t, you can check 10+ incredible things to do in Cape Town post and 5 epic places to enjoy sunset. But here’s the sustainable guide to Cape Town for the thoughtful traveller who wants to contribute positively to the city, the digital nomad looking to maintain an eco-friendly yet long stay in the”Mother City”.

You might also be the passerby who wants to pick the right hotel or, a South African local; it doesn’t matter who you are – there are always ways to travel more sustainably.

In this post, we will focus on different filters – because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to sustainability. Some of the options will be vegan, plastic free, using renewable energy, etc. and some will tick only one or two of those boxes. Remember, this is fine too.

They are all contributing something good for our Earth – and adding them to this list just proves how we can all do our little part to contribute, whatever we do and wherever we are. Personally, I am very committed to a plastic-free life – and you will see more of that later in this article!

The Sustainable Guide To Cape Town

The Sustainable Guide to Cape Town

Sustainable transport options in Cape Town

Public transport is better for the environment than travelling solo in an Uber, for example.  Busses, trains and taxis still have CO2 emissions but these transport a lot of people at a time. Cape town makes it especially challenging to do this, as the culture here is to drive everywhere by car. So, what are the options to help you move around more sustainably in the city?

Mini Taxis

Mini taxis are white vans that drive routes along the main streets around town. There are different routes for each group of taxis –  you can find them here. The prices are set by a mini taxi association, all of them follow the same pricing guidelines, costing much less than an Uber or car trip. They drive on the main road and you can stop them wherever you want to get on by raising your hand. When you’re inside, you’ll pay in cash, and then tell them where you want to get off along the route. It’s like public carpooling and works very well in the city.

It feels crazy the first couple times and I’d advise you to go with someone that does this often – just to get the hang of it. They run from early in the morning (about 4am) until quite late at night, but once it is dark I would recommend that you take an Uber instead – for your safety.

MyCiti bus

This transport service has different routes connecting the centre of Cape Town with its suburbs. They generally stay out of main roads to avoid traffic and cater to a different market than the mini-busses or mini taxis. To get in, you will need a card that you can buy on the following shops and the card needs to be topped up with money. It is a hop-on, top-off system. 

Sightseeing Bus

The red double-decker busses offer tourists routes around the city and peninsula. They are also the first South African bus company that is carbon-neutral. They offset their emissions by buying credits from a composting company.

The Green Cab 

The Green Cab is a taxi company that uses fuel polishers to help make the diesel cleaner and to reduce the pollution they release. The business also counterbalances emissions by planting trees. They offer point-to-point tours or transfers – but you’ll need to booked in advance.

Sustainable shopping in Cape Town

When it’s time to get cleaning products, house products or groceries, the below shops will help you consume in a more eco-friendly way:

Shop Zero, in Woodstock

This shop is plastic free and you can find food, kitchen supplies and other household items for you to choose from. You will also find all types of grains, soap and shampoo bars, stainless steel cups and cutlery. You can bring your own produce bag or container from home, weigh it at the store and fill it.

They have a great array of bamboo underwear for men and women, as well as plastic-free deodorant, sunscreen and soap. Inside the shop there’s also a café that serves vegan food – and its delicious!

Nude Foods, in Zonnebloem

The first plastic-free shop in Cape Town. Their array of spices, grains and products is very impressive. You can get everything from nuts to rice and cumin – right through to legumes and olive oil. They have fresh veggies, personal care hygiene products and even dairy products made organically and packaged in glass, like yogurt, kombucha or even feta!

The Sustainable Guide To Cape Town

They have just opened a second shop in Newlands!

Faithful to Nature, Online

The first online shop in the world to allow the filter “plastic-free” – which is pretty cool right? They offer so many different products which can be delivered straight to your house or wherever you’re staying. Just make sure to prepare for some delivery time.

Frankie Fenner Meat, different parts in town

This butcher cuts out the intermediaries to offer you meat that’s sourced directly from the farmers and their staff try to use every part of the animal to not waste it. Their meat is always tasty and you can take your own containers to help reduce the impact of packaging

Oranjezicht Market

This well-known farmers market has become a trendy weekend activity, open Saturdays and Sundays. You will find vegetables, fruits, cheese and so many different stalls to get food. Some stalls use plastic packaged products but there are enough that will let you bring your own containers. 

My latest favourite? The juice shop that serves sugar-free fruit juice in glass bottles – and when you are done you give them back and they clean them and re-use them!

The Neighbourgoods Market

This eclectic market happens every Saturday at the emblematic Old Biscuit Mill, and has a mix of food stalls and fresh produce with local artisanry. I find it more of a social event than getting stock for your kitchen, but it has some great vegetables on offer too.

Fish 4 Africa, Woodstock

The fish shop is located on Main Road in Woodstock and sells fish and sea food, as well as some herbs and sauces. they let you bring your own containers and you can get fresh sea without creating waste!

Sustainable dining in Cape Town

This list of restaurants and bars below which have different levels of commitment to local produce or plastic-free living. Let’s see which restaurants care the most about what they serve:

  • Black Sheep Restaurant: most of their food is sourced locally from ethical farmers, reducing their footprint
  • Delaire Graff Restaurant: located in the Winelands this restaurant makes a commitment to use seasonal produce from local farmers, contributing to the local economy
  • Societi Bistro: the restaurant part of Societi offers locally sourced food when possible, even though some products come frozen from the Indian ocean (like prawns)
  • The Pool Roam at Oak Valley: they use free range meats and have a farm-to-fork focus
  • The Table at De Meye: they use produce from their own garden and locally source the rest of their ingredients for their 3-course menu
  • Farmer Angus: They provide free-range and healthy animals, to produce meat and eggs
  • Wild Peacock: They serve ethically farmed meats and always pick their fish fresh in the morning, ensuring a seasonal offering
  • The Restaurant at Waterkloof: The chef places an emphasis on using seasonal products and changes the menu as ingredients vary
  • Riverine Rabbit: The chef only works with seasonal, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients
The Sustainable Guide To Cape Town
Image Credit: The Table

Sustainable accommodation in Cape Town

Searching for hotels with green initiatives proves difficult as you have to check each hotel’s pages and see if they have any system in place for water, energy waste or food. The list of hotels below are all putting policies in place, to live in line with the Earth. 

The Sustainable Guide To Cape Town
Image Credit: Hotel Verde Cape Town
  • Hotel Verde Cape Town: this hotel, situated at Cape Town International Airport, was the first African hotel to offer 100% carbon-neutral accommodation. They also provide conferencing facilities. Their list of achievements is great and I wish more hotels would go to these lengths to apply some care for the planet! 
  • Holiday Inn Cape Town: the IHG brand has four different levels of sustainability for their branches – despite the fact that only the first level, with 10 policies, is mandatory for each hotel. A sustainability level one is a good start but more emphasis is needed to impact sufficient change. So the Holiday Inn stands out in this way.
  • 12 Apostles hotel & Spa: This 5* hotel has some water-saving policies in place and encourages their clients to change some behaviours with signs in the rooms. They promote local charities, and respect the local communities. 
  • Mariner Guesthouse: the building was built with eco-friendly construction in mind so that natural light, good isolation and high ceilings create the right temperature in the rooms. They have solar geysers that deliver warm water to the whole house during the summer months. They also recycle, use LED bulbs, and washing machine and dishwasher powders – they rock! 
  • Grootbos: this hotel outside of Cape Town preserves the ecosystem in the property fiercely. They own a foundation uplifting the local communities and support small businesses in the area, making them hotels suppliers. Most of their food is grown in-house. 
  • The Backpack hostel: This hostel is located in the city centre has an impressive list of accomplishments that make it a greener business. Including but not limited to, vegetable waste feeding worm farms, offering biodegradable cups, recycling throughout the company, and using glass bottles to offer tap water for guests, as water bottles aren’t supplied.  

Sustainable activities in Cape Town

Cape Town has different things to see and do while you are in the city. Is there a way to enjoy the city to the maximum while having a low impact? Absolutely!  Here are just some of the sustainable options:

Hiking

The Mother City is surrounded by Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and Devils Peak. These three peaks alone have more than 15 different routes to traverse. Spend your time breathing in fresh air, climbing to a higher viewpoint and enjoying the views.

If you don’t want to do “high/long” hikes, there are different hiking paths and trails in the Newlands forest, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or Rhodes Memorial that are shorter. If you are up for a full day mission there are a number of natural areas surrounding the city centre with hiking paths available for all fitness levels.

Rent a bike in the Winelands

Sign up for a fun bicycle tour, where you will discover different wineries and bike between them (hint: you can have some wine as long as you remain coordinated!)

Walking tours

There are different ways to do a walking tour in Cape Town. For those of us who want it organised, you can hire a guide to walk you around the main areas in the CBD and surrounds, ff you are looking for the most cost-effective way. In a group you can also check out the daily Cape Town free walking tours. And finally, there’s the free walking tour of central cape town that can be downloaded online.

The Sustainable Guide to Cape Town

Greenpop

This association has a foundation for connecting humans with the Earth. They also have a non-profit that’s dedicated to planting trees where they are needed. Greenpop has helped plant more than 100,000 trees in Southern Africa with their initiatives, as well as fruit and flower gardens. They have a couple of festivals during the year where people can sign up to go plant trees for a weekend. How’s that for a different activity?

SANParks

Go on a national park day trip to any of the surrounding SANParks options like the West Coast or Cape Agulhas. They all protect and preserve flora and fauna, and the entry fee helps support their conservation practices.

Other ways of being sustainable in Cape Town

  • Waste –ed: they collect personal plastic bottles filled in with plastic to make eco bricks and use them for projects (like building schools). If you are a company you will have to contact them directly.
  • SASSI: the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative has a great chart to show you which fish are endemic to the area (and good to get) and which come from far that you should avoid. They have differentiated the types in 3 colours. Green for good, orange for mostly avoid and red for always avoid based on sustainability. It includes both fish and other seafood.
  • Edible Co: get a veggie box delivered to your house or office. Their produce is ethically and locally sourced.

And if you don’t feel drawn towards ANY of the options presented above, well, you can still make a change. Try to cut down on take away food (plastic), refuse the straw (even on your 4thdrink, yes) and carry a cloth bag in your bag so that you don’t need to use plastic options.

Small changes make a difference to our Earth, one at a time. Start making a change slowly to make it easier and more enjoyable for yourself.. If you’d like to know how to implement a more sustainable way of travelling beyond what’s already been mentioned, you can check out 10 easy actions you can take to be a responsible traveller.

Let me know if you know of any suggestions that should be added to this list. This is an ever-growing list that I plan to keep updated as I make new discoveries! If you are a shop, hotel or tour operator implementing sustainable ideas shoot me an email to be included!

The Sustainable Guide to Cape Town
São Tomé Central Day Trip

São Tomé Central Day Trip

A country excluded from most world maps, located in West Africa, São Tomé island has incredible coffee, landscapes and great weather year round.

The sightseeing attractions on the island can be split into 3 different day tours. in this blog post you will find detailed information on the São Tomé Central day trip.

You will discover more in depth how important the cocoa and coffee plantations were and still are for the inhabitants of the island. This day tour is the most cultural out of the three. Infrastructure on the island isn’t well developed, so be prepared for a bumpy and scenic ride! (4×4 is a must).

Jardim Botánico de Bom Sucesso in São Tomé

The ideal order of the trips is to first do the southern, then central and finally northern day tour.

If you haven’t read my previous article about the Southern day trip tour I recommend you start there as there is a short overview about why you need a car on the island and why this is the best order for the day tours.

São Tomé Central day trip

1. Trinidade

The first stop of the day will be Trinidade, not far away from São Tomé. The small town has some colourful streets. You can walk around the main street to get feeling for the little town or just drive straight through.

2. Batepa

The next stop in the Sao Tomé central day trip is another small town. Our stop here was very short, as there is a main crossroad with colourful decoration and a shop. I’m always drawn to colourful facades and that crossroad had colours everywhere.

Batepa in São Tomé

3. Monte Café

Monte Café is one of the few restored coffee and cocoa plantations on the island. Long ago it was the most important coffee and cocoa plantation in São Tomé and Príncipe.

They have now created a cooperative that runs the place. You can ask for a guided tour around the different buildings of the plantation and visit the museum too. You will be able to taste the two main coffee variations, Italian and Arabic, at the end of your visit.

Monte Café in São Tomé
Monte Café in São Tomé

I definitely recommend the visit as it gives one insight into the way the island worked and still works for some. The installations are in a good state to visit but they could make it much more attractive if they restored and cleaned some of the areas… there is a lot of litter around….

4. Sao Nicolau waterfall

You will have to drive on a gravel road for some minutes to get there. It is very pretty and a change of scenery after spending the day in the mountains. 

Sao Nicolau waterfall in São Tomé

Check out this Cinematic Travel video about São Tomé and Príncipe

5. Jardim botanico de Bom Sucesso

The entrance per person is free but you can get a guide for 5€ per person. It is a small garden but the flora, especially the trees are very stunning.

The garden is famous for having more than 100 varieties of orchids endemic to the island. 

Jardim Botánico de Bom Sucesso in São Tomé

If you are just eager to see the different flowers and trees, but don’t really care about the explanation, ask to walk without a guide.

6. Visit São Tomé the city

The city is pretty small and can be walked. The buildings haven’t been taken care of, so don’t expect a pretty city… more like the opposite. We visited the Cathedral and independence square.

All government buildings in Sao Tome are pink, making them easier to spot.

The city of São Tomé
The city of São Tomé

After that we decided that it was a rather depressing and dirty city – so we went to a high point to enjoy the views while having a beer.

The national museum, San Sebastian Fort, is in a deplorable state, the inside of the building was dirty and in poor repair. We visited the different rooms and didn’t like it very much. 

Views of the city of São Tomé

My favourite part of the day during our São Tomé central day trip was the hour long visit in the Monte Café plantation and the waterfall of Sao Nicolau.

Make sure to pin it for later!

São Tomé Central day trip
São Tomé Central day trip
São Tomé Northern day trip

São Tomé Northern day trip

São Tomé & Príncipe is an undiscovered paradise in the form of two islands on the West African coast. Pristine turquoise water, beaches, palm trees, tropical weather and lush forests. They have it all.

During your stay in the island you will be able to do 3 different day tours. In this article you’ll find the detailed itinerary for São Tomé northern day tour. If you have missed the other articles I recommend you start with southern day tour and central day tour.

The northern day tour will take you around the island in a clockwise direction starting from the capital city of São Tomé.

The day trip will take around half a day if the weather is poor and you don’t spend time at the beach. If the weather is great it will take the whole day as you will want to spend some time on the beautiful beaches.

São Tomé Northern day trip

1. Lagoa azul

The first stop of the northern day tour is the lagoa azul. It is a little peninsula that you can access via a very steep rocky road from the main highway (hint: brake with enough time!). When you get to the bottom you will find a lighthouse, baobabs and two little beaches. There’s also a picnic area. When we visited we were alone for the whole time, and it was majestic seeing the baobabs / so big and quiet at the same time!

São Tomé Northern day trip

If you have snorkelling gear I was told this would be the place to go for a dip.

2. Roça ponta figo – Cascata Nazaré

Possibly the biggest fail in this trip. We arrived at the ruined Roça (old coffee plantation buildings, most of them are in ruins nowadays) and some people asked is we wanted a guide to Cascata Nazaré, a waterfall. We said no but asked for directions. They just pointed straight.  Then found another group and they also told us to continue straight. One hour later we quit the search. Maybe it is worth asking for a guide – considering their directions weren’t correct and the GPS cannot show one exactly where it is.

Check out the cinematic travel video from São Tomé and Príncipe

3. Monteforte

You can stay at a restored Roça, that we only visited from the outside.

4. Padrao dos descobrimientos

It looks like a little rest area from the main road, but you will find a cross there. That cross marks the place where, in 1470, the first Portuguese discoverers arrived on the island.

5. Roça diogo vaz

Another Roça that sells chocolate and can be visited. We skipped this stop.

6. Santa Catarina

Santa Catarina is a little town which is famous for a tunnel with the same name. You will find it before you get to town, coming from São Tomé city. The tunnel is one of the landmarks in the country.

São Tomé Northern day trip
São Tomé Northern day trip

What makes this landmark interesting is the green jungle to the left of the tunnel and the beach to the right. The beach has black pebbles, which accentuates the contrast between the tar road, the tunnel, the jungle and the beach. it was truly a great place to witness.

São Tomé Northern day trip

7. Praia Dos Tamarindos

We took an unconventional road to arrive and it was a bit of an odyssey (think bumpy gravel roads, mud and water ponds. The beach is a long stretch of sand with some trees next to the sand area, making it perfect to park the cars there and have a picnic. We found big groups of friends and family enjoying the area.

8. Morro Peixe

Another beautiful beach to relax at the end of the day.

9. Guadalupe

You will drive through Guadalupe at the start of the day and when you finish. It doesn’t have much to visit but you can wander around if it piques your interest. It has a small chapel that is worth checking out.

São Tomé Northern day trip

10. Roça agostinho

Like some other Roça’s that one can find in the island you will find some decayed colonial buildings. Some of the buildings that once formed the Roça are still standing and are lived in by locals.

São Tomé Northern day trip

If you are in São Tomé but have limited time you can skip the São Tomé northern day itinerary but make sure to check the south and central itineraries so you can feel like you got to know São Tomé.

When you are done with the main island I cannot stress enough how important it is that you visit Príncipe – find a great itinerary here!

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São Tomé Island Northern day trip
São Tomé Island Northern day trip
São Tomé Island Southern Day Tour

São Tomé Island Southern Day Tour

Going to São Tomé and Príncipe felt like stepping into a new world. No one knew that this country even existed or that it is formed by two islands in West Africa.

During our stay on the island, we rented a Jimny Suzuki and based our routes on three main areas in the island. These 3 day tours included: São Tomé Southern Day Tour, Central Day Tour and Northern Day Tour.

In order to get started, we would need to organise transport.

Is it necessary to rent a car in São Tomé?

If you are only stopping by on your way to Príncipe Island, you don’t need a car. You can walk around the city in safety. If you plan on exploring the rest of the island, then you’ll need a car or to book a tour with a guide.

We rented a car with the contact that our kind hosts at Sugar Guesthouse provided. The experience was reliable and stress-free. Plus, it very easy to communicate via email and arrange delivery and pick up.

I’d recommend saving your itinerary on Google Maps, offline, so you can go from one point to the other without needing the internet.

How is the road condition in São Tomé?

Have you ever heard of the “African Massage”? No? It is the phrase used to describe the bumpy gravel-road game drive or safari drives you’ll enjoy in the back of a 4×4.

Now, take that and times it by 10. São Tomé roads are mostly tarred, but full of potholes.

A 4×4 is completely necessary to make the trip and you’ll need to drive slowly in most areas. I can confidently say that these were some of the worst roads I’ve ever driven on.

Sao Tomé Southern Day Tour: what to do in Sao tomé

Read more about travelling to São Tomé and Príncipe


General considerations for São Tomé

  • Most buildings on the island have not been taken care of. There are a lot of ruins left as a legacy of Portuguese colonialism.
  • I have never travelled anywhere in Africa before and been more stalked by groups of small kids asking for money – or just wandering around me. Never give money or food to kids. If you want to help, give to an organisation that will split your contribution into equal parts and get those resources to the communities that need them – the right way.
  • The landscapes are stunning and are, arguably, the main attraction of the island.

What is the best order of day trips to enjoy São Tomé to the fullest?

After visiting the island and doing the 3-day trips that are available to the different areas, our recommended order of day tours is:

  1. São Tomé Southern Day Trip
  2. São Tomé Central Day Trip
  3. São Tomé Northern Day Trip

São Tomé Southern day tour: What to do

1. Roca Agua Ize

You will drive through a little village to get to the abandoned Hospital. You might need to pay a tip to get into the hospital but we did not have to pay anything.

It’s a short stop, simply to get an idea of what the hospital looks like. It could totally be the location of a hospital horror movie (if it weren’t for the happy kids, of course).

Sao Tomé Southern Day tour: first stop
Note: As the first stop on our trip, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of kids there, following us around and asking for money.

2. Boca de Inferno Blowhole

Next stop on the Southern Day Tour, is the blowhole where you can find a black rock area with ocean water coming through, and blowing the water up.

When we visited it wasn’t high tide but it was still nice to check it out, as the water continues to flow without creating a large blowhole.

São Tomé Southern day tour: blowhole

3. Praia Micondó

Praia Micondó was the first almost deserted beach of the trip with long stretches of sand and temperate water.

Yes, The islands are on the Indic Ocean but the water around São Tomé and Príncipe usually has a temperature of between 22ºC and 27ºC..

4. Roça Sao Joao de Angolares

Roça is the word used for the colonial coffee plantation. Nowadays most of the Roças are in form of ruins, but Roça Sao Joao de Angolares has been restored.

The Roça is easily accessible from the town with the same name, following a steep narrow street.
There is an art gallery in the property and you can also stay overnight.

Why is this a must-see stop during your São Tomé Southern Tour?

Roça Sao Jao Agolares in Sao ToméYou can have a tasting menu for around 15€. All the products used are very fresh and from the island, so you will have fruits, vegetables and fish as main products.

We ate the tasting menu consisting of 9 starters, 1 main and 3 desserts.

Roça Sao Jao Agolares in Sao Tomé
The waiter will explain every dish and what’s it made of. Don’t be afraid of the size, the portions are small and well presented. You will be full at the end but can comfortably taste each of the plates.

If you find yourself arriving at Sao Jao de Angolares too early for lunch (like we did) you can have a snack somewhere along the way and come back after the rest of southern day trip stops for an early dinner.

5. Pico do Cao Grande

Being the most iconic mountain in the island, Pico Cao Grande is a volcanic rock, shaped as a needle. It is possible to see it from a couple of spots from the main road, and it’s one of those picture-worthy landmarks.

Around the peak there’s fog and a micro-climate (season dependant, during rainy season there was one) so we saw it wrapped in fog, which created quite a haunting atmosphere.

Pico do Cao Grande: São Tomé southern day tour
Note: Check the weather forecast before you start the day, because if the weather is not great it might be worth it to change the order of your trips. You can then do the Central Day Trip first, the Southern Day Trip second and finish with the Northern Day Trip. The Southern Day Trip involves some time at the beach, and seeing the Pico without fog is a big plus.

6. Porto Alegre – Praia Inhame

Porto Alegre is a small little town on the southernmost point of the island. I recommend driving through (maybe stopping for a short walk on the main road) and continuing to Praia Inhame.

The beach is located in Inhame Eco Lodge and you can use the area if you buy something. We had lunch there and enjoyed the amazing deserted beach.

Praia Inhambane in Sao Tomé
If you have plenty of time you can also check out Praia Piscina and Praia Jalé. Together with Praia Inhambane, these beaches are the highlight of the Southern part of the island.

7. Rolas island

There are boats departing from Porto Alegre but we found one from the same Inhame Eco Lodge. The boat ride is about 20 minutes and will take you to a little island called Rolas, the island on the equator.

There is a village on the island but the area is more famous for the equator crossing point. You climb uphill to find a little area with a world painted on the floor and a column where São Tomé and Príncipe are located. I have crossed the equator!

Ilha de Rolhas - crossing the equator
In fact, the real equator crosses Porto Alegre, the town, but it is more of a symbol I guess.

Our favourite stops in the São Tomé Southern day trip were Praia Inhame and the Roça (for food).

The Pico was also amazing but we didn’t get to enjoy it in all its glory because of the fog. All in all, a very worthwhile trip for any traveller looking to experience the magic, culture and nature of West Africa.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about planning your southern day trip and maybe I’ll have some of the answers!

Sao Tomé Southern Day Trip
Sao Tomé Southern Day Trip
Travel planning tools: the ultimate list

Travel planning tools: the ultimate list

With the use of the internet, travel planning has become a far easier task to handle. We can now cover the A to Z of planning using different tools and websites that are available to us absolutely free. Here’s my list of most trusted websites, so you don’t have to spend the time searching for them yourself and can go straight to planning your next adventure or getaway.

The ultimate list of travel planning tools

FLIGHTS

  • Skyscanner: Hands down my go to website every time I need to look for flights. You can check for oneway, return and multicity flights. You can choose anywhere as the destination and it lets you browse the cheapest flights from your starting point to anywhere in the world. I also like to check the map option, at the right corner of the date, to see the prices in the map – this helps with inspiration if you are running short on that!
  • Scott’s Cheap Flights: Subscribe to get the best flight details on your continent. You get to choose where you live and they send you emails when a flight offer has been found. Those emails will let you score some amazing flight deals if you are able to take leave/travel on those dates!
  • Chepo Air: One of the most under appreciated or lesser-known websites, Chepo air will find you deals for both flights and other travel packages from your starting point to your destination based on the selected dates.
  • Air Wander: You enter your dates, point of origin and point of arrival and it will find you the best stopovers. By using it you can add another destination to your trip without paying for an extra flight. A Stopover is stopping between 2 planes that have been bought on the same ticket, but allowing you to have anywhere from hours to days in the middle destination.
  • Skiplagged: A completely different concept right here: finding cheaper flights by looking for a longer flight to a further destination and then offering you to get that one and just stay in the “connection” destination (as that is the final destination you want to go to.
  • Hopper: This app keeps track of a flight you want to buy and updates you on price drops (or increases) so you don’t pay more than you need to for your flight. You can also select a route with no date for the app to tell you when something new comes up.
  • Bonus – Lounge Buddy: This has to be one of the best apps life has brought my way. Lounge Buddy let’s you buy entrance to certain lodges all over the world. The lounge makes travelling more comfortable. It is not worth it if you are in a destination for only an hour with barely enough time to go to the toilet and connect with your next flight, but anything longer than that and I would say it’s time to get a lounge pass. Lounges are restricted areas in airports where you get access by purchasing business class flights, owning a certain debit/credit card (like AMEX) or paying to get in. Prices start at 25€ but you have to look at it as an investment. Wifi is quicker than in the general area, there’s food for you to eat and complimentary drinks. Chairs tend to be comfier and some of them have coaches as well as plug points so you can charge your devices.

ACCOMMODATION

  • Airbnb: the leading apartment website in the world, Airbnb lists private houses/rooms/apartments /properties available for short-term rent so that you can stay in them during your trip. If you have never used it before, Here’s a link to get 25€ off on your first purchase. What I like about Airbnb besides how convenient it is are the filters. As someone obsessed with sleeping in unique places being able to filter for “hot tub” or “campervan” or “castle” makes all the difference.
  • Booking: The place to go for guesthouses and hotels. I like that you can select via map, stars, category and filters like “late check-in”. When I’m flying and arriving at a place late at night this is my go-to website to make sure I can check in and someone will be there to give me the keys. Use this code for a discount!
  • Hostel World: My bible for the cheapest accommodation and central locations. I like hotels because you get to know people and are surrounded by those who want to interact with other travellers. The receptions are always full of local advice and if you have grown too old or tired of dorms, it’s always worth considering the private rooms.
  • Glamping Hub: if like me you love to sleep in treehouses, tipis or other great places, this website is for you. They have a selection of unique accommodations that you can choose from and book directly.
  • Agoda: a great hotel booking platform mostly focused in Asia.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rome to Rio: it is like the bible of transport. They tell you how to get from point A to point B by car, bus, ferry, tram and flight. It is a very interesting tool to use when you’re not sure of what the transportation options are for your upcoming trip.
  • Rental Cars: my go to website to compare different individual companies. You can book through their website and I like the interface, it is easy to use and understand.
  • Seat 61: get all the information you need to travel by train in Europe and around the world. From routes to timetables and other information that you need to know before you start your train trip!

ACTIVITIES

  • Get Your Guide: Even though I am not really one for set activities, there are some experiences that benefit from a guide/tour whether I like it or not. For these I like to check local operators by googling the activity I’m interested in doing or following previous bloggers recommendations. When that fails I use them.

INSURANCE

  • World Nomads: I think it’s the easiest website to buy insurance from. It is a little bit cheaper if you buy from local insurances where you live, but it is good to compare all your options.

TRANSFER MONEY INTERNATIONALLY

  • World Nomads: one of the best platforms I’ve come across. They let you transfer money internationally with a fee that up to 8 times lower than the one charged by traditional banks. The way it works is pretty intelligent: they have bank accounts in different countries. If you are in France and need to send money to the UK you will transfer your amount to a french bank, and with the exchange rate of the day from TransferWise, their account in the UK will send the equivalent in pounds. Life saver and so useful!

TRAVEL PLANNER

Having all your travel information in only one document proves tricky when we have hotel confirmation, plane tickets, train tickets and more. To have all my information organised and be able to have an overview of my daily planning I created a handy spreadsheet where you’ll be able to organise all your information easily and detailed.

Shameless self promo for the spreadsheet that is going to make it possible: all your travel information in one document!

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These travel planning tools are essential when I’m booking a trip. Knowing where to go for the right information also saves me time! I recommend you bookmark this page and come back to it when you need to find something specific.

Let me know if you use any other travel tools that aren’t already on this list?

Travel planning tools: the ultimate list

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