The websites below are what I've used (and still use!) during the various stages of my blogging journey, and I stand behind them. I update this page every time I find another great service that makes my life easier. Bookmark it to keep it handy!
If you have any questions about the best way to use any of the below sites, shoot me an e-mail or use the contact form, and I'll be happy to share my step-by-step process and tips.
For products and services to help you plan your trips, check out my travel resources page.
Table of Contents
If you want to skip directly to any of the sections, click on the links below.
Starting your own business isn't easy but there are a lot of great tools, free and paid, to help you on your way.
From logo design to content creation and everything in between, I've compiled a list of the great tools I've come across and used in my own business.
Branding & Design
The creative part of a business can be overwhelming, especially if you're not a designer yourself. It's also a very important part of a new business.
The good news is that in today's day and age, there are all kinds of services to help entrepreneurs build their brands, from on-demand logo
Logo design made easy! Logoworks is actually a creative design agency so they can create more than just your logo — website, posters, templates, etc. You can choose a package that meets the needs of your business.
99Designs is another great creative platform for your logo and other design needs. They also have packages, but what I think sets them apart are their design contests, where you can get designs submitted by dozens of designers.
PicMonkey is an online graphic design and photo editing tool similar that gives you more control over editing pictures and creating your own designs. It costs money ($5+ a month) but has a lot more features than free services.
Canva is a great drag-and-drop tool for graphic design. While it has a premium version, the free service is more than enough and you can get graphics and photos as needed for $1 a pop.
Moo is great once you're ready for business cards and branded products for your business. They're great quality and awesome designs for all kinds of stuff. Get 20% off your first order with the link above!
I've been using VistaPrint since they started doing business in Canada. Customize business cards and all kinds of marketing materials and branded products. Get $25 off your first order with the link above.
Creative Market is the Etsy for web creatives. You can purchase templates, designs, presets, WordPress themes and anything else you need for your online business, all created by other creatives.
For a solution between doing it yourself and hiring a firm to design your creatives, there's Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelance services. It's called “Fiverr” because freelance services start at $5.
E-mail Marketing & Management
Building an e-mail list is another important part of building your business, and something that needs to start as soon as your website is launched, even if your strategy evolves with your business.
Here are my picks for getting started.
The best way to get a professional and customized e-mail address, without depending on your hosting company. Google throws in 30GB of storage space, all for $5 a month. This way you always have full control over your e-mails.
ConvertKit is my e-mail marketing and automation service that is catered to bloggers, entrepreneurs and small businesses. My favorite thing is the dashboard, it's so seamless and intuitive.
Leadpages is a great addition for campaigns – it helps you easily create and optimize landing pages and lead magnets for great conversion. You can seamlessly integrate it with lots of tools, including ConvertKit, to make your life easier.
Dropbox is great for entrepreneurs (and digital nomads!), and they have a personal plan and a business plan for when your company grows. It's also great to access everything offline, including important docs, copies of passports, etc. If you're new to Dropbox, get 500MB of bonus space with the link above.
Back up all your data to the cloud for as little as $5 a month! I never take this for granted since my hard drive crashed and it cost me $1,500+ to retrieve important information from it.
The durable hard drives I can't live (or travel) without. I have a few now because I have so many pictures and projects to store and take with me on the road, and I don't want to worry about it getting damaged in the process.
Grammarly is like your online professor. It's my new favorite writing tool. I love knowing there's a “second set of eyes” on everything I have. It also integrates nicely into my browser, so I get tips no matter what and where I write.
Handy list from Opt In Monster on more than 700 power words to use in your writing and headlines to increase conversions. Download their PDF and have the list at your fingertips while you write.
Travel writing is an art, and Matt Kepnes, “Nomadic Matt”, put together an awesome course that's taught by award-winning travel writer, David Farley. It's a drip course that spans a few months, to allow for time to absorb the information, and complete the assignments. It's pricier than Matt's other courses, but the information inside is invaluable.
A great practical and inspiring guide from Lonely Planet, written by travel writer Don George. Learn what you need to know about getting started with travel writing, how to craft a great travel story, conducting research, and much more. Includes a huge list of resources to get you started.
If you're looking to earn money from your travels in this digital landscape, Travel Writing 2.0 by Tim Leffel is a good way to start. Tim is a writer, editor, author, speaker and teacher in the field, so he knows what he's talking about. The book has resources at the back that point you in the right direction.
My business card of choice! It has great business perks and insurance coverage, and I now funnel all my business expenses through it to rack up the points. Earn 40,000 AMEX points when you apply using the link above, and spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Best to use if you have a trip coming up or big expenses (like start-up costs!).
Freshbooks is a cloud accounting software that I've been using for almost a decade to manage freelance clients and expenses. It's great to track your time as well as create invoices, get ready for taxes, and much more.
Travel Insurance & Protection
I first turned to World Nomads before leaving on the first leg of my sabbatical year. The trip was longer than my regular travel insurance covered so I got a policy through them, and then for every subsequent trip afterward. It came in handy when my new iPhone 8 Plus went for a dip and I got a replacement because of my policy. The claim process was very simple too. Now I don't leave home without insurance.
Being protected on the road is more than just insurance. VPN stands for a virtual private network, which essentially masks your IP address and encrypts your web traffic so you can roam privately and securely! You can activate it right on your phone, and it comes in handy in hostels, coffee shops, co-working spaces, and more. Plus, you can bypass censorship and watch TV shows from anywhere!
This product is one of my favorite travel products! It's lined with stainless steel wire mesh to keep personal belongings safe. Just attach it to something that can't move (like a pipe!) and have some peace of mind while you're out and about, or sleeping!
If you're thinking of starting a website or a blog, here are some resources to get you started.
I've been using WordPress.org for the last decade and it's the best content management system for a website. It gives you control over your files without having to know any code and there are thousands of plugins that can be added to make your life easier.
Google has some great tools, and the Google Search Console is one of them. It should be installed as soon as your website is live. There are a lot of great things you can do on it — much more than I can cover in a paragraph — so it's worth taking the time to explore it.
Google Analytics is another great tool from Google, and an industry standard at this point. This should also be installed on your site as soon as it's live in order to get invaluable insights about your traffic, audience, referral sources, user behavior, and so much more.
One of the first things you should do after making your site live, is to optimize it for speed. It's easier to do it before you have years worth of content on it. Not to mention, Google loves fast sites and it'll ensure the best user experience (no one waits 10 seconds to load a page). It only takes 3-5 days!
Launching a website can be pretty overwhelming. Codeable is great when you hit a snag with web development and need to hire a developer to help out. Just create a project, sift through qualified developers and pick the best one for the job. Easy peasy. It's great to find specialized help!
I came across Paul Scrivens' (a.k.a. Scrivs) Dare to Conquer site a few months ago. Scrivs is a no-bullshit kind of guy and tells it like it is. He has a great (and free!) 12-day blogging bootcamp to help you get started on your blogging path.
Becoming a blogger is hard – this course from Nomadic Matt helped me learn so much about what needed to be done. It's a great investment if you're serious about blogging. One of the biggest perks of this course is the unlimited tech support from Matt's personal website guy.
This is an advanced blogging course from Alex and Lauren from Create and Go. Alex and Lauren went from starting a blog to making$50K a month in two years from two blogs, and this course details all their strategies.
Domain & Hosting Companies
Starting a blog requires hosting, especially if you are serious about it and treat it like a business (and you should!). Bluehost is a great web hosting company, and their shared hosting plans are awesome for beginners, start at $3.95 a month and come with a free domain and SSL certificate. I was with Bluehost for the first year of this blog and still have a couple of sites on it. They were easy to set up and have provided me with a ton of support whenever I needed it.
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform for more advanced bloggers and businesses. You have a choice of top six cloud servers, and it's pay as you go, so you are only charged for what you use. I recently transferred one of my sites from Cloudways and the speed upgrade alone is impressive. The migration process was simple and seamless. It's great if you have (or expect) a lot of traffic in the future and don't want to risk having your site crash from being overloaded.
WP Engine is another hosting platform, but they only offer managed hosting services, so you won't have to share bandwidth with anyone else. It's catered toward advanced users or websites getting higher traffic. Their plans come with the Genesis Framework and more than 35 StudioPress Theme options, a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) and a free SSL Certificate. I've had a few clients on WP Engine over the last few years and have never had a problem!
I only recently discovered that Google has its own Domain service, but love them so far. They're cheaper than other providers and even include privacy protection for free, unlike most other competitors. Their plans come with a custom G Suite e-mail.
NameCheap is another great option for purchasing a domain if you want to keep it separate from your hosting company (and you should, it makes things simpler if you ever want to change hosting). Their domains are a bargain, and go as low as $1.48 for the first year and $12 for two years.
Search Engine Optimization
Keysearch is a game changer, whether you're a beginner blogger or have been at it for years. It's great keyword research to help you understand reader and competitor behavior. Get 20% off with discount code KSDISC.
I love all of Paul Scrivens' courses (a.k.a. Scrivs) and I'm a big fan of his no-bullshit and straight-to-the-point attitude. I learned a ton from his SEO course and it helped me set a great foundation for my sites.
SEO needs to be a focus from the beginning, and this free 5-day bootcamp is the perfect crash course to show you what you need to know.
Social Media Courses & Tools
Tailwind is a game changer for Pinterest. It's the only official Pinterest partner on the market and it'll make your life so much easier! Automate your pinning and send traffic to your site, all while not having to spend all day in front of your computer.
Pinterest is a great source of traffic, especially for new blogs. The Pinterest Traffic Avalanche is a great course from Alex and Lauren at Create and Go, that goes through everything you need to know about using Pinterest to grow your blog. The Ninja strategies alone are worth the cost.
Want to learn about getting started with Pinterest but not ready to invest in a course yet? This free bootcamp from Paul Scrivens (a.k.a. Scrivs) will get your feet wet and is the perfect start.
Iconosquare is one of the best analytics tools for Instagram (and Facebook). Iconosquare is an official Instagram partner and they have access to more detailed stats on your business account than even Instagram gives out. Get a 14-day trial to see all the insights available. Must have business account.
Later App is awesome for visually planning your Instagram feed, and for scheduling your posts. Later is an official Instagram partner, so your account is in safe hands. With their drag-and-drop interface, Later makes it easy to get the feed aesthetic you want. Get 10 free posts with the link above.
HypeAuditor is a tool powered by artificial intelligence that analyzes influencer Instagram accounts for engagement and authenticity insights. It's a great tool to analyze your own account as well as those of competitors, influencers or brands. Get 3 free credits by using the link above.
Lightroom presets for Instagram are huge these days. Aggie from Travel In Her Shoes has created various collections – from blues, greens, sunset pinks, to a master collection – for both mobile and desktop. I've tested them on many photos and the colors are unlike any other presets I've come across. Get Instagram-worthy pictures in one click.
When it comes to Instagram, Alex Tooby knows her stuff. She's successfully amassed over 400,000 followers over 3 accounts, including Men & Coffee. Alex covers all her strategies in this course, but more importantly, she updates the course every time Instagram makes a big change. She's also very active in the Facebook group, which is a great resource on its own!
Let's be honest, you either love hashtags or you hate them. They're a great tool to use but how do you consistently get the reach and engagement to supercharge your pictures? Alex Tooby is at it again with this one and she uncovers all the secrets. It also comes with lifetime updates, which comes in handy as she adds new information, tools, and resources often.
Instagram Stories are an amazing tool to use to increase following and engagement on the platform, but they're also a puzzle if you don't know what you're doing. This specialized course from Alex Tooby covers everything you need to use stories to grow your business.
A perfect one week course from Alex Tooby on getting started with Instagram if you aren't ready to invest in a course yet. Learn how to optimize your bio, create great content, use effective hashtags, and promote your product and services. All for free!
Do you need a media kit but have no idea where to start? HIP Media Kits offers template kits, so all you have to do is pick a style that suits your brand, and then customize it with your own information and pictures. Easy peasy, you got yourself a professional media kit.
Professional & Personal Development
Pangea Dreams runs global retreats for aspiring female bloggers and influencers looking to learn how to be successful in the industry, and create a network all over the world. I went to Tulum with Pangea last year and it was the perfect way to learn about the industry and get my feet wet. Use IOANAS10 in your application to get 10% off a retreat.
CreativeLive is another online learning platform, with two differentiating factors: 1. they stream classes live (and the rest are available 24/7 on demand), and 2. they cater to creators. Classes cover all kinds of topics under 5 main categories: Photo & Video, Money & Life, Art & Design, Craft & Maker, and Music & Audio. Get $15 off a class with the link above.
Skillshare is an online learning community and is a great resource for learning or brushing up on skills across numerous industries and topics. If there's something you want to learn, there's a good chance it's on Skillshare. Get 2 free months with the link above.
Photography & Videography
Learn to Shoot
Canon has an amazing website, Outside of Manual, which is a great resource if you want to learn how to use the manual mode on your camera. My favourite feature of this site, is the Play module, where you can practice changing the settings to achieve the photo you want. You can even do challenges. Try it for yourself with the link above!
Digital Photography School is a great resource for those looking to improve their photography, posing and editing skills. They have e-Books, Lightroom presets and various courses. In fact, their Lightroom course thought me a ton and helped me become the editor I am today. Check out their newsletters too, they always have great photography tips!
Matt Kepnes (a.k.a. “Nomadic Matt”) and travel photographer Laurence Norah have put together a great & practical course that covers how to master manual mode, composition rules, lighting, and much more. It's cheaper than most similar courses and you'll walk away with valuable skills to capture your next trip.
Photo Editing & Apps
Take your travel (and Instagram!) photos to the next level by editing them in Lightroom. The mobile app is free, but the desktop version is not, though it has more features and it's still reasonably priced. The Photography bundle includes Lightroom & Photoshop, for $9/month.
Random, I know. But hear me out. Sun Surveyor is an amazing mobile app to help you figure out where the sun and/or the moon will be while you're traveling. I use it a lot to figure out where I should catch the sunrise or sunset from, where I can spot the milky way (for photography), and much more. There's a free version and a paid version.
I've been using the Canon Rebel series for more than six years – the perfect DSLR to learn photography on. It's awesome for pictures and videos, and the stabilization features make a big difference in the quality of the final product. The kit comes with the standard 18-55mm lens to get you started.
I've had this lens for 6 years and I don't leave on a trip without it. I don't use it constantly but it's worth carrying around when I need a closer view of something. I love viewpoints in a city and love using this lens from the top of a viewpoint or fortress in cities.
This is a new addition to my camera bag and I can't recommend it enough. I love using it for landscapes, but I love it even more in cities where a normal lens can't capture all the buildings and attractions around you. I recently used it in NYC and I'm in love!
This lens is as awesome as it is affordable. It's great for portraits because it blurs the background nicely and makes even a simple picture absolutely amazing. But it also has low aperture and it's great for night photography due to how much light it can let in.
I love this little tripod! I had a hard time finding a good, light, sturdy, and compact tripod to travel with until I came across the Baaland Tabletop Tripod. It adjusts up to 20 inches, and fits in your palm when folded. The ball head adjusts 360 degrees.
GoPro has nailed the action camera market and with good reason. It's a small, waterproof, and compact camera you can take anywhere with you. I use it to take my solo pictures (hello burst mode!), underwater pictures, and to record all the adventurous stuff I do. I love it!
If you want a drone, DJI is the company to get it from. They have the best quality drones, at reasonable prices. I love my DJI Spark, it's traveled with me on 4 continents so far. It's small and compact so it fits anywhere, but powerful and high quality so the footage is amazing!
Long Term Travel
Airfare & Lounges
Google Flights is always my first stop in trip planning! I have saved so much money using their price comparison calendar. I play “flight roulette” by setting my departure and finding out the cheapest arrival city in a given month. Flexibility helps — I've flown from Toronto to Europe for less than $300 playing flight roulette.
Skyscanner is my second favorite flight search engine. They also have the “flight roulette” option which I use often when I want to find the cheapest flight by departure point, arrival point, or travel month. I also have handy weekly travel alerts set up — if there's a flight from Toronto for under $200 to anywhere in the world, I will know about it!
YYZ Deals is run by Chris Myden and showcases the best deals on flights leaving from Toronto! Since I scored my half-price return flight to Australia (hello $995!), it's the only e-mail I open immediately — these deals are so good, they go FAST! YYZ Deals has sister sites with deals from 26 cities Canadian cities (all listed at the bottom of the site).
Flighthub has some great deals for flights! Their AirFare Alert is my favorite — subscribe and get notified when the flight you are tracking drops in price! Sometimes they'll notify you if there's a chance it'll rise in price so you can purchase before you miss out! It's a great way to stay on top of flight deals.
The best site for finding error fares! When airlines make mistakes in prices, the savings can be remarkable. If you're willing to take a risk on a flight that might get canceled, you might just find yourself crossing the ocean on a flight that cost you $75. Goes without saying, these flights GO FAST!
Do you have trouble deciding how far in advance you should buy a ticket? Well, Hopper to the rescue! They can predict prices up to a year in advance, and they claim to do it with 95% accuracy — that's pretty impressive. They've been right every time I checked. Definitely beats trying to guess the right time!
ITA Matrix is owned by Google. I only use it when I buy a flight on points and want to find the best flight option on an airline that has the lowest tax fees. This is how I paid only $50 for my flight from Athens to Toronto, with a free 10-hour layover in Egypt (during which I saw the pyramids).
It wouldn't be a complete resource list without Expedia. I love using Expedia for vacation packages or when I need to get a hotel and flight together, I find they have the best combo deals for that. If you need to add a car rental to the package, the savings are even higher.
Momondo is another great site for finding cheap flights. There have been times when I bought a flight through here that I couldn't find on any other site for the same price. I usually check just in case, you never know!
Priority Pass gives you access to 1200+ airport lounges around the world, and it's worth every penny. I now go to the airport early just to have time for the lounge. It's helped me find balance in my digital nomad career. It's worth the annual membership fee, but also offered as a perk by some travel credit cards!
This one is for Canadians, but it saves so much time if you are traveling to the United States (or pass through). It saves me so much time, I can't believe it. There's a fast track lane at most Canadian airports that let you bypass the long lines, and re-entry into Canada is super fast (sometimes 10 minutes from plane to luggage area!)
I use Hotels.com the most because I get 1 free night for every 10 booked, which is great for long-term travel! For my 65-day trip to Australia, I racked up 6.5 free nights! Loyalty pays off and that kind of value is hard to match. I appreciate the option to pay at the hotel so I can book ahead of time and get the best deals without paying for months worth of hotels on the spot.
Booking.com is my second stop if I can't find good options on Hotels.com. Hotels in certain regions in the world prefer will sometimes choose between Booking.com and Hotels.com, so I use them interchangeably. Book 5+ nights to unlock 10% off, and sometimes more. It's also reliable and I love being able to book ahead but pay at the destination or cancel if something comes up.
I often use Airbnb if I'm traveling with a friend or in a group since it is much more convenient and cheaper. It's also my go-to when I want the local experience, I miss home, need a break from hotels, or when I want to cook my own food to save money. If you're a first timer, use the link above and get $45 CAD (or $40 US) credit for your next trip, or $17 CAD off an Airbnb experience!
Want to compare all the hotel sites and booking engines in one spot? Enter, Hotels Combined. This is my favorite website for comparing all the prices, they just make it easy and convenient.
Trip Advisor needs no introduction, and it's great for checking reviews for all kinds of accommodation or activities before booking anything.
Hostelworld is a great alternative if you're looking to save money, and stay in hostels. Not all hostels are listed on the other booking sites, and it's great to see them all in one place.
Rome2Rio is amazing. They find all the transportation options between A and B, including airlines, local buses, trains, and more. I use it often to plan transportation in areas like Eastern European and need to find local companies in the region.
Via Rail has an extensive rail network that can take you all across Canada. You can make it up to Churchill to see polar bears, to Jasper in the Canadian Rockies and more! Some wagons have glass tops to take in the scenery – talk about bucket list experiences.
Interrail train passes are a great way to travel through Europe if you are a European citizen or a legal resident of a European countries. You can see as many as 31 countries with the Interrail passes, and you'll have 40,000 destinations to choose from!
Like Interrail, Eurail passes are available for travel around 31 countries in Europe but are open to all non-European residents. With so many destinations, and it's a great way to see the nooks and crannies of Europe. The most scenic & photogenic routes can only be accessed by train.
Rail Europe is a big distributor of train tickets all over the world, and I use this site a lot when I need to purchase tickets in various countries. It works best for tickets throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. They often have sales, so keep an eye on it! It's a great one-stop shop.
I've been taking Greyhound buses for more than a decade and they're my go-to when I'm not driving. Taking the Greyhound bus across Canada, United States, Mexico or Australia is a great way to see each of the 4 countries, considering their size! The network is extensive, so you'll never miss a beat.
How does a $1 bus ride sound? Crazy, maybe, but also realistic with Megabus. You can make it from Toronto to NYC for $1, just one example. That's right, Megabus is mega-affordable with a sizeable coach bus network across Canada, the United States of America, and Europe.
Looking for a hop-on-hop-off bus network across Europe, Asia, and North America? Then you'll want to check out Busabout. They have winter tours, European music festival routes, island hopping options and much more! Your bucket list will never be the same. Great alternative to driving!
I spent a month on Intercity buses hopping around the North & South islands of New Zealand last spring and I couldn't get enough. The buses were always on time, had WiFi, and were super comfortable. Book in advance to catch the best deals! And have your camera ready, the scenery is out of this world.
A great resource if you're looking to hop-on-hop-off at cities across Australia. Build your own adventure across the vast country with flexible passes, individual tours or activities. The routes go through every city or attraction you'd want to see in Australia.
Peru/Bolivia Hop is a network of hop-on-hop-off buses that connect Peru and Bolivia. They're a great way to stop at all the amazing locations in both countries without a tour, and going at your own pace. You can get passes for various destinations and itineraries, ranging between 13 hours to 10 days.
On The Road
Skyroam is amazing and something you should always have in your back pocket while traveling, quite literally. Skyroam is a global WiFi hot spot that works in over 130 countries! You get unlimited WiFi on up to 5 devices, for a flat rate of $9 for 24 hours. It's incredibly convenient, and a time saver!
Know Roaming is a Toronto company that offers global SIM cards & WiFi coverage. Get unlimited data from $3.99 USD a day in over 120 countries, as well as long term data plans & pay as you go roaming. I love using a SIM card abroad & love it even more that I don't have to find one in every country.
I've been using Google Trips for so long and I love it. If you are a Gmail user, the app automatically imports all your travel plans and organizes them. I also use it to build daily itineraries in cities. All of it is available offline. It's especially useful when you have months-worth of travel plans to keep track of.
The largest flight tracking website in the world, FlightAware is very useful and free to use. They have a mobile app which is handy, but I also use it when I book my fights and need to figure out which side of the plane to sit on to get the city view when landing.
Trip It is similar to Google Trips but you can create a master itinerary regarding of your e-mail provider. You can either give them access to your e-mails or forward them your reservations. Your itinerary is available offline so you know your schedule for the day.
Google Maps needs no introduction but it is the one app I use the most when I travel. Download an offline map of the city you are visiting for access to directions and nearby attractions all the time. I also star everything and essentially use it as my bucket list.
Maps.Me is a great back-up for Google Maps. Maps.Me works on the desktop but is also a great offline map app. It offers offline GPS data, directions by car or foot, offline search and more. I'm not crazy about the interface but it's a great resource and it's gotten me out of a lot of jams over the years.
Do you have hundreds of loyalty cards? No? Just me? Ok. AwardWallet is a free service that supports almost 700 loyalty programs including car, hotel, credit cards, and car rental programs. It's a great way to manage all your programs and point balances, and also carry all the cards with you digitally.
Skype is my backup plan when I'm traveling and I always have at least $5 credit on my account before I leave a trip, in case of emergencies. I can use it to call landlines anywhere in the world and it's saved my butt many times. All you need is WiFi or a SIM card, and voila. I only have to load about $10-15 a year.
Lonely Planet guides are amazing, I have a full shelf of them. You can also get city and country PDF guides from their site so you can carry on your phone. Their mobile app, Guides, is very handy.
Triposo is a social travel app and another great “mobile tour guide”. You can get guides, directions, GPS location, all available offline. You can also conveniently book hotels, attractions, and read reviews.
I love this app for calculating currency exchanges while on the road. I tend to underestimate how much something costs, especially in countries like Iceland, and this app keeps me on budget.
Ok, so Dropbox isn't a travel app but I do use it a lot while traveling to access copies of my passport, insurance policies, and other important documents. It's good to be able to access everything offline, anytime. If you're new to Dropbox, get 500MB of bonus space with the link above.
I can't live without Spotify when I travel. I use it in my hotels, on buses, planes and while I'm roaming around to listen to my playlists. On the free plan, you can listen to songs that are downloaded to your phone, or over WiFi. You can't shuffle songs unless you upgrade to the premium service.
If you don't have WhatsApp installed on your phone, you need to do it now. I'll wait. WhatsApp is a secure messaging service that you can use in over 180 countries (that's almost all of them!) to message or call people from any mobile phone. You can even keep your number if you change SIM cards. Just make sure to install it before you leave, to avoid paying for the confirmation text while abroad.
Shazam is another app I can't live without while traveling. I love it because I always hear amazing songs while on the road that I wouldn't otherwise have access to. This way, I Shazam them and save them to a playlist that gets synced to Spotify and BAM! Or, should I say, SHAZAM!
Another life saver! The first time I used it was in an authentic restaurant in Zagreb, Croatia, where the menu was in Croatian and I couldn't read a word of it. I used the Picture translate feature to figure out what I can order, and since then I've used it on every trip! There's also a voice translate feature that's helpful. Download the languages you need ahead of time so you can use them offline.
Car Rental & Ride Sharing
I use UBER a lot more abroad than when I'm in Canada. It's so handy, and most of the time, it's much cheaper to use. If you have a local SIM card (which I always recommend), then it's even more convenient. It's also safer not to have to exchange cash while traveling. If you're new to Uber, use code IOANAS17UE to get $10 credit towards a ride.
Lyft is another ride share option if you're traveling around the United States and Ontario, Canada. A lot of Uber drivers are also with Lyft so they complement each other. Lyft is usually cheaper than a taxi, especially in cities like Toronto! It never hurts to have more options. If you're new to Lyft, use code IOANASTOICA to get $20 credit toward rides.
BlaBlaCar is primarily available in Europe (22 countries) to find carpool rides. It works like an online marketplace where drivers can find passengers for specific trips, and vice versa. It's a trusted service and very popular in Eastern Europe. They even have female-only ride options, awesome if you're traveling alone and you want to try them out.
Kangaride is the Canadian equivalent to Europe's BlaBlaCar and it's starting to get traction. It's an online marketplace for drivers and passengers to find ridesharing opportunities for long-term travel. It's a good way to save on gas. E-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to sign up without paying the fee.
When I rent a car during my travels, I like to go with a known and a trusted brand to avoid hidden fees and scams. I love using Avis and have rented from them all over Europe. The rental process has always been transparent, smooth and quick. Secret tip: booking on the Avis mobile app will get you better prices and it couldn't be easier!
In the spirit of sticking with known companies, Hertz is my second go-to. I booked through Hertz all over Australia and New Zealand, where all the other rentals were much more expensive. I even did epic road trips on both coasts of Australia. Their drop-off fee to a different location is very low, reasonable and convenient.
SiXT can be found in the smallest and unlikeliest of places, sometimes where a lot of the other bigger players can't be found. Their rates are very reasonable and their service and cars are awesome! I even found an office in Milos, Greece. In fact, they have about 400 offices in over 100 countries.
Rentalcars.com is a great search comparison engine to finding the best rental car prices from around the world. It's awesome when you want to find the best price, since the cheapest company usually varies by region. Do your homework before you book, as with everything!
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