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Booking Accommodations

ref booking large
 Lets you book hotels without putting money down. Cancel bookings without a charge (an asset when you need proof of address for visas). Read my Guide to Staying at Hotels

sleepinginairports, sleeping in airports
Sleeping in Airports My fave guide to airports, especially if I have a 3 hour+ layover.

Read my layover tips and guide.

AirbnbAirBnB   Experience the city from the comfort of a local home or apartment. 

Food Tours & Cooking Classes

cookly logo cooking classesCookly is a site which lets you search cooking classes for the destinations you’re traveling.

pasta making class with nonna nerinaWhen in Rome, sign up for Airbnb’s Pasta Cooking with Nonna Nerina. Now you can learn pasta making from a Italian grandma or many! They also offer classes via livestream. Watch my video review here. New to Airbnb? Take $40 off using my referral code!

backstreet academy logo e1592290206293Backstage Academy specializes in Asia cultural and food tour with friendly local hosts. It’s a company which supports sustainability for local communities. Prices are affordable and low. Read about my Nepal street food tour.

traveling with klookKlook specializes in tour activities in Asia, but it also carries travel essentials, such as Tokyo and Korean SIM cards, Japan Rail passes, transportation cards.  I’ve used them a lot for my Japan trips. Buy my Tokyo travel secrets eguide.

If you feel my work delivers valuable information and you’d like to contribute:  Help Keep Me on the Road

Tour Companies

intrepid travel, responsible tourism tour operators, recommended tour operatorsIntrepid Travel A trusted and reputable tour operator focused on relaxed-fit tours for travelers who want to feel independent. The style will feel comfortable to those in their 20s-40s, but open to all.

g adventures toursG Adventures is a trusted and reputable global tour operator, which similar to Intrepid Travel, runs small group tours conscious of responsible tourism practices.

getyourguideGetyourGuide is an aggregate site, pulling a variety of budget day trips and they’ve got interesting ones in almost every destination. From bicycle to walking and food tours to cabaret shows… it does something similar to Viator but at a fraction of the price. Worthwhile a gander when planning your itinerary.

bookyogaretreatsBooking Yoga Retreats Want your yoga asanas to give your travels purpose? This site is a huge aggregator for both yoga retreats and teacher trainings across the globe!

Travel Services & Resources

vypr vpn 328x126 logo
protects my laptop over public WiFi. Easy to use. Offers fast and fairly consistent internet connections, even in China.

Read Reasons you need a VPN.

nordvpn logoNORDVPN

One of the best and most affordable VPN solutions for travelers. Use my referral code: grrrltraveler to get 70% off 3-year plan + 1 month free

world nomads logo
World Nomads travel insurance
Affordable travel insurance, especially for U.S. adventurers.  Covers more things than most insurances. I’ve used WN for a lot of my short trips up to 3 months. Read more

allianz travel insurance for americans, best travel insurance for americans, cheapest travel insurance

Allianz Travel Insurance Inexpensive travel insurance for regular and business travelers. Standard insurance. I got an annual plan for $129.


Take 10% off when you use my referral code GRRRLTRAVELER


Transferwise is the new Paypal killer. I love Paypal but the transfer fees and their currency exchange rates never make me smile. Now you can save a ton of money. Transferwise is a money transfer service with lower rates on everything. It allows you to open a borderless bank account too.

rough guides
Rough Guide Guidebooksir?source=bk&t=grrrltraveler 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=8b6617aa99936c6a16a9d84bbe698fe6& cb=1499893727673
My fave travel guidebook. Great with maps.

cdc logo, center for disease prevention

CDC Want to know what travel shots to get for your destination?

Top Mobile Messaging Apps for Travelers

Facebook Messenger  Many of us spend an obscene amount of social time on Facebook so Messenger app is obvious. It offers free text messages, calls, group chat and photo/video sharing. I’ve occasionally sharing Word documents and messages with other bloggers from forums. Unlike the other social mobile apps, abroad, I have access to all my international friends at my fingertips.

Facetime Not quite a social mobile app, but Apple’s FaceTime service is popular with iPhone users and great for connecting with iPhone family members abroad. As I’ve noted in my videos, I’ve Facetime’d my mom from fun places like Cappadocia, Pushkar, Bako National Park and on epic Indian roadtrips!

WeChat is China’s Facebook and yet, so much more. It’s an essential travel tool for China, with a broad range of possibilities. You can use free text, multimedia/group chat/push-to-talk voice message/video chats, but if you lived in China, you can buy groceries, apply for a job, pay rent, etc.. on this app.

WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging ap. Over 300 million people use it each month as its easy to use. I actually don’t use this in the U.S., but it came in handy in Thailand.  Send texts, photos and voice messages. Service costs $0.99 for a one-year subscription.

Line Mobile messenger service app born in Japan of a Korean Internet firm. The app is popular in those countries. Make free calls, video chats and download games.

Kakaao Talk
 Wanna teach English in Korea? Kakaao Talk is the most popular mobile messaging app in Korea. Especially when most Koreans avoid leaving voicemail on their own mobile servies, due to call charges. Lots of cute Korean stickers. Read: Renting a phone in Korea

skype logo
These days, there are many ways to stay connected abroad. Skype will always be the most universally known. I use it for trip emergencies like when my bank locks my credit card. Great for business interviews and conference calls too.

Working, Teaching & Volunteering Abroad


Help X Exchange room and board for work/volunteer abroad.

daves esl cafe

Dave’s ESL Cafe Best site for finding teaching jobs in Asia, Southeast Asia and abroad. I’ve used it for finding summer camp and university listings. Recommended for expats seeking ESL work in Asia

Go to : So you Wanna Teach in Korea?

nomad listNomadlist shows costs of cities. For the location independent or expat researching which cities/countries to live in.

Air & Ground Transportation

12go asia, transportation in southeast asia
12go.Asia Easiest way to plan and book your Southeast Asia transportation in advance. Trains, buses, vans, ferries… Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia.

man in seat 61, travel resources, top travel resources
Man in Seat 61 Most comprehensive guide to rail transportation. Great for researching your train travel bookings. Photo, prices, timetables and routes.

uber logo, travel resources

Uber The millineal taxi. Cheaper than taxis. Seemingly safer too

india rail info India Rail Info is a train booking timetable tool I use to schedule my trains, especially in emergencies where trains are booked full and I need to get a foreign tourist quota ticket.  While you can book reservations on Cleartrip or Makemytrip, IndiaRailInfo is for seeing seating availability and prices. Read tips for Indian Trains

kayak logo
Kayak Explore  My all-time fave go to. Helps me visualize the best season, month, destination to book at trip, based on price. Especially good for flights based in the U.S.

Google Flights
Google Flights
 The new favorite in flight booking aggregators.  Love it gives you price estimates on a calendar when deciding on booking dates.

skiplagged ogo

Skiplagged Finds the best prices on flights based on a one-way trip itinerary. You get off at your destination, drop the rest.

skyscanner logo
SkyScanner aggregates budget carrier airlines, domestic airports as well as standard flights. Great for booking domestic flights. They have an Everywhere section like Kayak, which allows you to find the cheapest flight anywhere on the globe.

Blog Posts on Transportation:

Business Travel Tools

World Time Buddy
World Time Buddy helps me schedule meetings in different time zones. There’s a downloadable mobile app to take it on the go!

google drive logo
Google Drive. Stores all your information online in one place from Excel sheets, Word itineraries and your email. Note: Google may retain some of your information, so that’s the tradeoff.

fax zero sends free faxes in the U.S. There’s a limit as to how many fax pages you can send. A useful tool.

patreon logo, be a creator on patreonJoin as a Creator on Patreon  A great way for artists and creators to get support and sustainable income for their creations.
Want to start your own Patreon campaign but don’t know how to begin? I walk you through my Patreon Secrets ebundle steps from essential information to launch.

openoffice, open office, microsoft word

Open Office is a free Microsoft Office software clone. Perfect for expats/travelers who need to get an English version of Microsoft Office on their office computer abroad. I used this living and working in Korea.

Google Mini or Echo Dot

 Hey Google or Hey Alexa, whomever you call, your virtual travel expert is a voice-activated step away. I use this to occasionally to my trip research. It saves me from finger cramps.

Travel Gear Reviews

My Blogging Tools (see here)>>

Travel Survival E-Guides

tokyo travel secrets
Tokyo Travel secrets eguide

Tokyo Secrets: Tokyo Travel Survival Guide

Bangkok Travel Secrets, Bangkok travel ebook, bangkok guide book
Bangkok Travel Secrets eguide

Bangkok Travel Secrets ebook

13 Comments. Leave new

  • Interesting you have Chris Guillebeau’s book about travel hacking…I go to a conference he puts on in Portland, Oregon. This will be my second year. It is called the World Domination Summit, or WDS for short, and is an awesome conference filled with amazing speakers and people that do blogs, write books, artists, etc. It is happening in two weeks and I can’t wait to get together with my little crew of writers and bloggers I met last year! I loved all your travel resources and gear advice you offered us, Christine, and as always it is spot on! I am going to bookmark this page as it will be very helpful to me for some things I haven’t been carrying around with me, and the other things that I don’t want to forget! Great job as always in helping us fellow travelers!

    • Jay awesome! Enjoy it. I forgot about WDS. I’ll have to make to more conferences. Meeting like minded people is key to refining your business and passion. What speakers are you hoping to see? Also, what are some Fave gear you’d recommend?

    • Ps you just reminded me I have to update Chris ‘ book Pursuit of Happiness.

    • I had a busy weekend, Christine, I wanted to think about some of my fave things I travel with, and then get back to you on this! I do use for choosing my hostels. And I have just changed to Schwab as my bank of choice for traveling as they reimburse all foreign fees for any ATM transactions. I am told they have one of the best exchange rates, too, when doing an ATM transaction. Oh one other thing I had been doing my last couple trips is just going directly to EVA Airlines website for my airfare from the US (specifically Seattle) to Asia, but I did just discover the app Hopper for airfare prices. It looks pretty promising, but I am going to have to check out Kayak. I saw they had an app, too!

    • I figure you already use HostelWorld, though, but they do seem to have a lot of good customer reviews on there, and every hostel I have stayed based on the recommendations has been good.

  • Great list with a nice breakdown and everything and the reason you use it!

  • This is a great write up post of helpful things for travelers like us! Thanks for sharing.

  • I think you are so awesome. Please do keep up with your blog and youtube. I am desperate to travel and will as soon as I can afford it but I’ll be taking my little boy so it will be a little while yet. Your articles and videos make me so much more determined to go. Thanks a mill….

    • Christine Kaaloa
      February 8, 2015 5:22 pm

      @Imaginethat: Comments like yours really inspire me on! Really and truly.=D Affording travel never feels easy. But with the right destination and frame of mind, you can find ways to flip financial limitation into creative resourcefulness and an even more exciting adventure than you might have planned on a normal budget. A lot of people think they need to need to have a lot of money to start anything- a YouTube channel, a dream, a trip. The truth is, you just need to start, somewhere, anywhere and with what you have. ;D Baby steps!

  • You are super, incredibly amazing!!! You inspire me to travel 🙂 Thankyou

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