Our goal at Travel Made Me Do It is to help you independently and easily plan and book your next hiking trip online. In fact, our specific area of expertise is speed hiking! We will cover the best travel websites you should use when booking flights, accommodation, travel insurance, public transport and car hire. In addition, we will cover the most economical way to buy hiking and camping gear online.
Our mantra is smart travelling. So what exactly does that mean? For us, it means booking and then experiencing high quality hiking trips as a couple without breaking the bank. Through in-depth research and personal experience, we provide practical advice on how to travel smarter. This is exemplified in all of our detailed guides of the world’s best hiking trails. Read our 2 most popular guides to see for yourself – Hiking the W Trek in Patagonia and Hiking Landmannalaugar in Iceland.
In addition, we hope to showcase practical advice on how we book our hiking trips. Through trial and error, we have booked through many travel websites, companies, search engines, etc. Some travel websites have been great and really embodied smart travelling. Whilst others have been poor quality or not lived up to their word.
As a result, we are here to shed some light on the exact processes we go through to book a hiking trip. This helps us to conquer the best hiking trails across the globe in an affordable manner. We will recommend the specific travel websites and companies you should use to ensure you travel smarter. In fact, we use these resources on a regular basis. That’s why we strongly believe in them. So without further ado, here are the best travel resources available for booking a hiking trip online. We hope this all helps you to travel smarter and get your speed hiking on!
Skyscanner is the best flight search engine on the internet! We will always use Skyscanner when looking for the cheapest flights around the world. They include a lot of the budget airline carriers that other flight search engines miss. So this travel website will always find the cheapest flights. The search function is very easy to use when booking flights online. Plus, searching with more advanced parameters is also very simple. Give it a go yourself! Find the best flights below.
Jack’s Flight Club
Jack’s Flight Club is an email newsletter and mobile app that helps members find cheap flights through flight deal alerts. It would be very time consuming to search for flights regularly to try and find deals. Yes, you can setup flight alerts for set locations using Skyscanner. But what if you don’t know where you want to go? What if your decision to book a flight is purely based on the best or cheapest flight deal? In that case, you should definitely signup to Jack’s Flight Club. Maybe you have a list of hiking destinations you want to go to. Once the deal comes up to that destination, go ahead and book! That’s what Beck and I do!
Free members will receive a weekly newsletter with the best flights deals from their chosen area. However, we recommend premium annual membership for only £35 (€40/$43USD). This way, you’ll receive 4 times more deals. Plus, we guarantee that by booking merely 1 flight deal, that you’ll more than earn back the price of membership. Unfortunately, Jack’s Flight Club will only find cheap flights from the UK, US and Europe. So Jack’s Flight Club will help you reach the best hiking trails from these respective areas. However, they are expanding. So keep an eye out. For Australians, the equivalent would be I Want That Flight. Better yet, this flight alert service is for free. So you have nothing to lose when signing up for their flight alerts and newsletter.
Booking.com is one of the most comprehensive accommodation search engines in existence. We swear by this travel website. They are a reliable and trustworthy entity to book through. Their search engine finds accommodation of all sorts – hotels, motels, hostels, apartments, homestays, etc. For instance, we have fond memories of staying in a lovely hostel in El Calafate, Patagonia that we booked through Booking.com after doing the W Trek in Torres del Paine.
The whole process of using Booking.com is very user friendly from start to finish. Booking online itself is very easy and there is often free cancellation. Additionally, managing the bookings thereafter is straightforward. There is a listing of past, present and upcoming bookings. So all your bookings for a trip are in the one place, and very well organised. This is one reason in particular we use Booking.com. Also, they don’t charge any booking fees. Plus, there listings for accommodation in developing countries is second to none. Have a go on their search engine below.
For those of you that don’t know, Airbnb is essentially an online marketplace which allow people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests. It is the biggest and best platform of it’s kind. You can signup for free and book unique accommodation all around the globe. Actually, if you sign up for Airbnb with our link, you will get up to £41 ($76AUD/$50USD) off. Give it a try! It’s a great way to support our website at no extra cost to you.
Personally, we love Airbnb. For one, home stays are a much cheaper option than hotels, but much nicer than most hostels. Additionally, the cultural experience gained from staying with a host is next to none. Even booking an entire place to yourself can offer insight into culture and the locals’ way of living. Read our Liechtenstein Hiking Itinerary to read more about our fantastic Airbnb experience.
A more recent feature called Airbnb experiences allows hosts to share their passions, knowledge and interests in the form of tours and/or activities. It’s a fantastic way to learn about culture with a local. Read our guide on going to a football match in Buenos Aires to find out more about our fantastic Airbnb experience.
Booking hiking travel insurance
World Nomads are an industry leader in travel insurance. The team at World Nomads provide the most comprehensive travel insurance packages. For instance, their hiking packages will cover you when you’re conquering the best trails in the world. Such packages can cover hiking up to 6,000m above sea level which is a higher limit than most. Although travel insurance is an annoying additional cost, it’s an absolute non-negotiable. Without it, you may be significantly out of pocket if something goes wrong. For instance, when road tripping the Isle of Skye in Scotland, a rock fell from a nearby mountain and smashed the bonnet of our car hire. This happened whilst we were driving. World Nomads literally saved us hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in repair costs. This was because our travel insurance covered car hire.
Additionally, World Nomads have outstanding customer service, in depth coverage and decent prices. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many reports of travel insurance companies turning their backs on customers. This was when customers needed help from travel insurance companies the most! World Nomads are a honest, transparent and trustworthy company. They should be your go to travel insurance in a post COVID-19 era. Have a look at a policy below.
Booking public transport
We highly recommend Busbud specifically when booking buses online for South America. It can be quite difficult for non-Spanish speakers to navigate the local bus company websites. Of course, some of these websites can be translated. But most times we tried, upon opening a new page in the booking process, the translation function would be lost. It was very frustrating. We then came across Busbud.
Many travel websites we had researched in planning our Patagonia trip, recommend Busbud. It was Busbud that helped us get around Patagonia. However, we soon found that booking buses not only for Patagonia, but for the whole of South America was made to be very easy using Busbud. Booking online is very user friendly. The company also has a great support centre and will answer your questions promptly.
We specifically recommend using Trainline when booking public transport in the UK. When searching for a particular journey, Trainline will help you decide whether to book a train or bus. Trainline will succinctly outline the price, duration and departure times, comparing the train and bus. Traditionally in the UK, trains are much faster. But buses are much cheaper. The travel website searches all the relevant providers offering a service for your desired journey. We guarantee that using Trainline takes the headache out of booking public transport in the UK.
Booking car hire
Often, a car is necessary to reach the best hiking trails. Public transport may not suffice. In such a case, we highly recommend using Rentalcars.com to book car hire. Dealing with car hire companies directly can be notoriously dodgy dealings. But rest assured that booking online with Rentalcars.com ensures reliability and security when booking car hire. Their free cancellation policies are excellent.
Like the other search engines we use, Rentalcars.com is another very user friendly experience. The thorough search parameters guarantee that you can search for the exact car you’re after. We have used Rentalcars.com on many occasions. For instance, when booking our Tasmania car hire for our trip to Bruny Island. We have never had an issue booking a car hire through this travel website.
Best Hiking Gear
Osprey is our favourite brand for travel bags. Every trip starts with a robust and sturdy backpack! We’ve travelled before with mediocre backpacks. It can be a real nightmare if they start to fall apart. Trust us, if there is one thing to splurge on before a trip, it has to be a high quality backpack. This is particularly true for backpackers and hikers. Visit our 66 Accessories You Must Travel With for more information on the travel bags we use.
Merrell is a well known and trusted footwear company that has been around for years. They have the best valued hiking boots on the market. Their hiking boots will not break the bank but are great quality. More importantly, they’re very comfortable. Again, visit our 66 Accessories You Must Travel With for more information on the Merrell boots we love to hike in.
The North Face
The North Face is another trustworthy and reputable hiking gear company. Similar to Merrell, their gear is super high quality. But you won’t be paying through the roof. The North Face has an extensive range of gear that is also quite stylish. Personally, we highly rate their hiking jackets.
Kathmandu is a popular outdoor and camping store in Australia and New Zealand. Coming from Australia myself, a lot of my first hiking gear came from Kathmandu. They have great quality gear and often have great sales and deals for members.
When living in the UK, Karrimor became my go-to brand for great value hiking gear. They have a fantastic range of outdoor, camping and hiking gear for men and women. For those buying gear for the first time, if don’t want to spend too much, but want quality gear, you should consider Karrimor.
With a variety of brands on offer, you’ll be certain to find the best deal at Cotswold Outdoor. Popular in Australia and the UK, Cotswold Outdoor is a reputable outdoor store, selling a variety of hiking and camping gear.
We are a big believer in Amazon. We will often find hiking gear on Amazon for a much cheaper price than buying directly in store or even directly from the company’s online store. So we recommend using Amazon when booking the best hiking gear online. Amazon is certainly well established in the US and UK. It’s just beginning to become popular in Australia. However, Australians may still feel more comfortable using a similar service like eBay. Rest assured though, Amazon is just as good. Perhaps even bigger and better!
Best Camping Gear
One of Australia’s most trusted camping and outdoor stores. Selling an array of brands, you can always find exactly what you need and for the best price. Beck and I have bought sleeping bags amongst other camping gear from Snowy’s!
Vango is an outstanding camping brand in the UK. We recommend Vango to anyone interested in buying integral camping equipment like tents and sleeping bags. You will need such gear when doing multi-day hikes. Their gear is top quality. Often with camping gear, you get what you pay for. So when buying camping gear, it is a wise decision to invest in solid, resilient and robust equipment. It’s the difference between a memorable and miserable camping experience.
Sea to Summit
Sea To Summit is more well known on the international market compared to Vango. Admittedly, Sea to Summit’s gear is on the pricier side. However, they have some of the most unique products of unbeatable quality. For instance, we wouldn’t perhaps buy a tent or sleeping bag from here. That’s because we can spend less elsewhere and still get gear of the same quality. But for some lesser known or unique items, Sea to Summit will never disappoint! Check out 66 Accessories You Must Travel With to see what Sea To Summit products we recommend and travel with ourselves.
Disclaimer: please note that some of the links provided above are affiliate links. By using these links, we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. If you are booking a trip online and would like to support Travel Made Me Do It, using our links is one way to do that. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions about these companies or websites.