While I have been finding many ways to keep my phone bills low while traveling around the world, there are a few services that I do mind to spend money on. I would like to share these products with you on this page.
Keep in mind, however, that these products are not necessarily all the highest-end tools nor that I have tried all products in the same category, as there could be hundreds out there. My goal on this page is to recommend tools that are priced well while providing fantastic service. This is the stuff I use.
Flight Search Engines
Instead of having to keep track of flight ticket prices manually to see when they drop, Airfarewatchdog does that for you. You set up flight alerts for your desired route(s), and they will send you an email when prices go down – for free!
I usually select flights that have multiple layovers so that I can get some rest in between long-haul flights. What is even better is having a stopover in a destination I have never considered. AirWander looks for the best free or cheapest stopover(s) for your selected flights so that you can explore multiple destinations in one trip!
It can get a bit freaky with CheapFlightsFreak. They are awesome with finding the cheapest flights out there. Highly recommended when flying from North America or Europe to anywhere in the world.
The best flight search engine for students. If you are under 26, you can often get discounts on flight tickets. StudentUniverse searches these tickets for you, as it can be a challenge to find youth tickets (airlines like to hide this option sometimes).
If you connect to public hotspots like WIFI connections of cafes, hotels, or restaurants, then you NEED a VPN. Public hotspots are prime connections for hackers to steal your data. NordCPN has more than 5500 servers in more than 60 countries, helping you to keep your data secure.
Many travelers use easy to guess passwords, which makes them easy victims for hackers. Dashlane creates complex passwords that are impossible to guess and takes computers AGES to guess as well. Dashlane is your digital vault for passwords, credit cards, private notes, and ID. All safely encrypted.
Not so much a travel-related software perse, but Grammarly has saved me from so many grammar and spelling mistakes. It is hands-down the best grammar and spellchecker out there. I use it for everything: my emails, this blog, even for this page!
Viruses, trojans, and malware scare me. I do not use a third-party virus scanner because they hog resources and try to upsell you constantly – Windows Defender does a good job nowadays. However, it does detect certain malware as Malwarebytes does. The scanner does not hog resources and does an excellent job in real-time. Even blocking shady websites before you visit them!
It can get really disorienting when you are a member of many loyalty programs but do not have enough miles to do something useful with them. Points.com keeps track of all your loyalty points and allows you to convert them to miles of other loyalty programs or even cash (PayPal). You can also spend your miles on magazines or other stuff you like. Very useful and free!
Sometimes, your flight departs in the evening, but you have to check-out in the morning. Instead of carrying your suitcase with you all day, you can store it safely with Vertoe for a reasonable price. They even do short-term storage in case you wanna go on a short trip to another destination for a few days, while already traveling, and do not feel like bringing a big suitcase with you. Extremely convenient!
Many people think that travel insurance is a waste of money. Well, it is not, especially when you have to seek medical attention overseas (which can be much more expensive than back at home). World Nomads provides insurance coverage in over 130 countries. Their coverage is extensive while having low premiums. Overseas medical attention, lost luggage, and evacuations, World Nomads covers it all!
Nothing is worse than being charged with excessive foreign exchange fees. Travel cheques are ancient. Exchange currency shops charge outrages commissions and so do banks with their debit- and credit cards. Transferwise gives you a free Mastercard with your Borderless Account that can hold more than 50 local currencies so that you can pay like a local instead of paying your bank. Winning!
Other Modes of Travel
Sometimes, commuting to and from an airport may take longer than the flight itself. Let's not forget about the time you waste at airports. Budbus, however, looks for the cheapest bus fares so that you can see the beauty of the destination you are visiting instead of the clouds.
Although low-cost carriers are a big thing in Europe, they are not the best way to experience Europe. Everyone knows that the European railway system is awesome. InterRail makes it much easier to explore Europe by train by having one ticket for participating countries instead of having to buy multiple tickets per country.
Sometimes, it does not make sense to buy local SIM cards when traveling with a large group to “expensive countries” or when you have a locked phone (let's not mention CDMA phones like Sprint and Verizon). Vision Global WiFi rents out WiFi hotspots that can be put into your pocket or backpack. Multiple devices can connect to it without the need to roam or buy a SIM card. Highly recommended for groups. Rates start as low as $2 per day (long-term rental), and they often have promotions to save more on costs. Current promotion: smiley20 for 18% off.
The ultimate mobile hotspot that allows you to use the 4G network in 130+ countries with no data cap. Up to 10 devices can connect to a Skyroam device that easily fits into your backpack. Perfect for groups or those visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Skyroam rental rates start from $8.99 (use code PHONETRAVELWIZ) or you can buy a Skyroam Solis X Smartspot in case you plan on using it more often.
International SIM Cards
OneSimCard has the most extensive SIM cards I know, covering all corners of the world. With three types of SIM with different rates, you can find the SIM that suits your needs. You can use your OneSimCard SIM on Pay As You Go rates or with plans. OneSimCard is the ultimate SIM card for frequent travelers.
SimOptions sells prepaid SIM cards to be used around the world. From 3 UK SIMs to TrueMove H. Although the cards can be used in a single destination, they cover numerous countries in Europe, North- and South America, and Asia Pacific. In some cases, SimOptions SIMs can be cheaper than local SIM cards. Highly recommended if you need one-off SIM cards for a short period.
Surfroam sells SIM cards covering over 200 destinations. Their Pay As You Go data rates start from €0.01 per MB (or €10.24 per GB – 1 GB is 1024 MB). Surfroam SIM cards have a long validity and you are not locked into any contracts. In many destinations, you can roam on 4G. Surfroam Plus and Global are available to get access to every network in a certain destination instead of the preferred ones. Surfroam is the best Pay As You Go SIM card out there.