There are a number of websites I find useful in planning my RTW trips, here are some of my favorites:
Skyteam – Since I book my RTW tickets with Delta’s Skyteam, this is my go-to site for planning out flight routings. How can you get from Chile to Cyprus on Skyteam? This site can give you the options. Essential for figuring out what your preferred fligths are before you call the RTW desk.
Airtreks – If you’re not booking your RTW ticket with miles from your preferred airline, Airtreks is a must for you. Their interactive “TripPlanner” borders on addictive and is a fantastic tool for planning out your route. One benefit of not booking a RTW through an airline alliance? You’ll save a lot of travel time with more direct routings (versus connections through hub cities). Though I have never used Airtreks myself, I have heard nothing but glowing reviews from fellow travelers who have. And I do love their website!
My Trip Journal - I used this site to chronicle my first 4 RTW trips before transitioning to my own site. My Trip Journal is a wonderful tool for telling the story of your own RTW. It’s simple to use and has great interactive maps to track your journey.
Oanda – This foregin exchange site is a great currency converter tool. But my favorite feature of this site? The “Travelers Cheatsheets.” Print one out for each country you’re travelling to. They are a quick and easy reference and especially important for a RTW when you’re visiting multiple countries. I like to reduce them down to credit card size on my copier and “laminate” them with a little clear packing tape (reverse conversion table on the back side of each).
Starwood Hotels & Resorts - (Starwood Preferred Guest) Okay, I might be a little biased here but Starwood hotels and resorts are my absolute favorite and I spend a lot of time on their site while planning my trips. In some cases, I have even been inspired to visit certain countries by a Starwood property that caught my eye. Yes, I have been known to “rough it” every now and then, but sometimes a girl just needs her Heavenly Bed.
Trip Advisor - The go-to site for all things travel. I find Trip Advisor’s reviews especially helpful when searching for hotels in markets I know very little about. For example, I’ve found great small properties in Cusco, Peru and the Kingdom of Tonga using reviews from the site. The reviews on Trip Advisor are often very thorough and have provided me with tons of important information not found on the property’s own website. I have never been disappointed with a hotel I selected based on Trip Advisor reviews.
Kayak - I use Kayak a lot for finding short-haul flights outside my Skyteam RTW ticket. For example, when I needed to go from Bangkok to Laos, Kayak gave me the best options.
Expedia - I’ve booked a lot of itineraries through Expedia over the years and never had an issue. Once I booked a flight through Expedia on a European carrier who later made a schedule change rendering the flight useless to me. When I called Expedia, the agent was extremely helpful in contacting the airline and rebooking me on another flight – all at no charge. The true test of travel sites are times like this and Expedia more than lived up to its promises. I also find them to have the best rates on flights and hotels on a pretty regular basis.