Everyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite parts about travelling is the research and planning that takes place before hand. I love reading travel magazines, getting lost in instagram and scouring the internet for great places to stay - particularly those with an interesting story, amazing design or other unique qualities.
Having said that, there are a few sites which act as my first stop when starting to plan a trip.
For travel outside of North America, this is hands down my absolute favorite website for finding amazing and unique boutique hotels. I'm yet to find another site that does a better job at curating unique and very cool properties across a range of prices. My favorite part is the "highs and lows" section which is always dead on, independent and very honest. Its as though the hotel recommendations have come from a close friend, they are so spot on!
A couple of years ago I decided to really dive in with i-escape and get them to plan our entire itinerary for a trip to Guatemala including transfers, private guided day trips, boutique hotels, everything! Honestly, they did not disappoint and the entire trip was super amazing and completely stress free.
They also have a "With Kids" button you can press which filters their collection of properties by those which are kid friendly but also places adults will love too!
This is another website that feels as though its been written by a close friend. Fathom is a blog dedicated to all things travel related. The site has won numerous awards and is truly independent. They offer itineraries for loads of cities and countries around the world plus awesome hotel, restaurant and shopping suggestions. I love how they provide a deep dive into recent trips they've taken and I can spend hours getting lost in a maze of travel blogs when clicking through their top 24 travel blogs every year. I refer to Fathom's "Tools" section often for recommendations on flight booking websites, recommended travel apps, and just about anything travel related! This is one of those websites I find myself on whenever I have some time to kill and am hit by a case of wanderlust!
I often use Tablet Hotels when booking work travel or city breaks. Again they have a great collection of hotels and you can book directly through their website or app really easily. Their customer service is excellent and very personal. A couple of years ago I signed up for their Tablet Plus service which has paid for itself over and over again. For an annual fee of $99, members get access to perks at select properties on the website including things such as late check out, complimentary cocktails on arrival, breakfast and my personal favorite, complimentary upgrades when available. On my recent trip to Paris, my hubby and I were upgraded to the most lovely room at Les Bains in La Marais despite booking a basic room.