Here are a few of my favorite books, websites and travel accessories that have helped me out.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and do not cost you anything extra. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have purchased all of these products and use these websites. I only recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your travel goals.
- Italy Travel Guide: An Insider’s Guide to Italy: This is the first book in my travel series that takes you through my adventures in Italy. Download your copy to keep restaurant and sightseeing reviews at your fingertips while traveling.
- Rick Steves’ Italy 2013: This book had basically everything you needed to know about Italy and then some. It’s a very comprehensive book and has alot of interesting facts and tidbits you should be aware of before traveling, so don’t leave this one to read on the plane.
- Rick Steves’ Pocket Rome (Rick Steves Pocket Guides): You may ask why you need this book if the Italy 2013 book is so great. Well this one is small, so it fits in your day purse or travel pouch, and it has pretty much everything you need to know about hours of operation, how to get there, and whether or not you need to spend time here.
- DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Florence and Tuscany: This is the updated version of the book we used for Italy. It has a bunch of great information that we used for Florence. I left this book at home, but made some notes based on the info and brought the notes with us. It was worth it to get a book dedicated to Florence and Tuscany, because it covered alot of things that the general Italy books didn’t.
- Lonely Planet Sweden: I love Lonely Planet’s books. They’re straight to the point and haven’t steered me wrong yet. The maps inside are very helpful, and it’s silly, but the covers are always gorgeous. I used this book to help plan our time in Sweden and I found the Malmö section to be really helpful.
- Lonely Planet Denmark: This book was indispensable for our trip to Denmark. We really only used the Copenhagen section, but every sight we saw and every restaurant we at ate was spot on. It’s a great resource and has a nice pull-out map of Copenhagen.
- Lonely Planet Copenhagen Encounter (Travel Guide): I used this book specifically to find a neighborhood for our Copenhagen apartment. Since Copenhagen has such a variety of different neighborhoods, I wanted to make sure I narrowed down the search adequately. We ended up picking the perfect apartment and the surrounding area was just what we were looking for.
- Trip Advisor: Always a great resource for trip planning advice.
- airbnb: A super helpful website for apartment, home and room rentals on the cheap. It has a great, user friendly interface, and every apartment I’ve stayed in to date has been as pictured on this site. It’s a really great alternative to hotel rooms if you’re looking to save some money on a future trip.
- Hotels.com: If I am going to be booking a hotel instead of an apartment, I usually check this site based on Trip Advisor reviews. It’s consistently had some of the lowest prices, but they change hourly, so keep checking back.
- kayak: Kayak.com is a great airfare comparison website with an equally useful app. One of the useful features is the alert option that can give you daily or weekly updates on ticket prices.
- CheapOAir: I know the name sounds cheezy and like a complete trap, but I’ve used this website numerous times and they usually have the cheapest flights around. Sometimes even cheaper than Kayak’s listings. Zero problems with this site.
- Fly.com: This is another good airfare comparison site. I usually do a tri-search between this site, CheapOAir and kayak.
- Pacsafe CitySafe 100 – Deep Taupe: I love, love, love this purse. It’s the perfect size for sightseeing. If you need something larger, you’re probably carrying too much stuff. I can fit one or two pocket travel books in here, a water bottle, my camera, sunglasses, gum and I still have room for a travel umbrella. It has a reinforced strap and only one external zipper that has a hook that makes it hard for even me to get open sometimes. Don’t ask me why but it makes me feel safer.
- eBags Medium Packing Cubes – 3pc Set (Denim): I used these packing cubes for the first time in Italy. I came across a few positive reviews in my research and figured that since we were going to so many cities that we’d be doing a lot of packing and unpacking. These packing cubes really helped keep my suitcase organized and reduced the amount of repacking I had to do with each ‘move’. Definitely worth the money.
- Rick Steves Travel Gear Clothesline: One of my goals for our Italy trip was to pack lighter. One way to do that is to wash your clothes during your trip. Having been in Europe before, I knew that they really don’t have clothes dryers unless you go to a laundry mat. We used this clothesline twice during the trip and it really helped reduce drying time. It was very stretchy and the velcro closures held tightly.
- Victorinox Luggage Jewelry Case: I got this for Christmas last year, and I used it for my Italy trip to hold my jewelry. I picked this jewelry case over the hundreds of other ones available, because it had sections to secure long necklaces to keep them from being tangled, as well as several zippered pockets to hold smaller items. It can hold a lot of jewelry and it’s padded to protect some of your more delicate things too.
- Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi: This has to be, hands down, one of my favorite things to travel with. I got this for my birthday last year, and since then I’ve been reading more books than I can get my hands on. I love that you can preload books on here, and I rent most of them from my local library, so it’s FREE! I’ve also been able to download a few travel books from my library, which I found really useful in Italy. I got a leather cover to protect it from any bumps it may experience in my carry-on, and it’s held up well. The battery life is super long, and I can usually go through an entire book (10+ hours) without needing a recharge.
- Total Italian with the Michel Thomas Method: I used these CDs to prepare for our trip to Italy. Since we were going to be there for 2 weeks, I wanted to have at least know some conversational Italian to get by. I really liked that Michel Thomas treats you like his third student and teaches you the history behind the word and conjugations. I also liked the fact that the other two students on the CD messed up quiet a bit, so that made me feel a lot better about not getting certain phrases. While in Italy, I was able to understand quite a bit of conversations and was able to put together some coherent sentences myself. Overall, I was really happy with this product. It’s an easy way to learn Italian.
- Total German with the Michel Thomas Method: After the success I had with the Italian CDs, I decided to try the German CDs by Michel Thomas as well. So far, the lessons follow the same format as the Italian CDs and I find that German is a little easier to pick up than Italian because of its close ties to English.