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On the Spanish Mediterranean coastline of Costa Blanca is the dynamic, delicious, picturesque, and laid back city of Alicante. With a castle standing guard, the handsome old quarter, and long stretches of waterfront and beach, here’s what a 5 day Alicante itinerary looks like.

Alicante Highlights

old city in 5 day alicante itineraryold city in 5 day alicante itinerary

When people think about the Mediterranean, you automatically start thinking about the Greek Islands, Amalfi Coast and maybe even Southern France but somewhere that often gets overlooked is the Spanish coastline.

You might not know this but Spain actually has one of the longest coastlines in the Mediterranean.

One of the star coastal regions is Costa Blanca and one of the best ways to explore it is by flying into the city of Alicante and getting to know what makes this a favorite vacation spot for many.

Here are the top 5 highlights from Alicante that made us fall in love with this city on the Costa Blanca coast of Spain.

  1. Santa Bárbara Castle
  2. Seafood
  3. Altea
  4. Beaches
  5. Illa de Tabarca

Alicante 5 Day Itinerary

As a bit of background, this trip to Alicante immediately proceeded our 8 day Iceland itinerary. It was a match made in heaven because we got all of our adventuring out of our system in Iceland, allowing us to turn on relaxation mode afterwards.

While you’ll find a lot of sleep-in time and late starts to the day, you can certainly plan more things in the schedule which I’ll get to at the end with some optional add-ons.

5 days seems like a lot, but trust me, it’ll go by quickly and you’ll wish you had more time to visit Alicante.

Trip planning map

One of the cornerstones of our itineraries are maps with all points of interests marked, similar to the French Polynesia 2 week itinerary, Greece island hopping itinerary, 5 day Puerto Rico itinerary, and New Zealand 3 week itinerary.

With this map, you’ll be able to take it to go and have it ready for you on your phone or use it as part of your itinerary planning.  I’ve always found this to be a nice quick-reference for when you travel, especially for Alicante where you might have a few restaurants in mind that you want to eat at.

Tip: View the 5 day Alicante trip planning map in full screen and create a copy (this step is key) for yourself.  Make tweaks for your own trip and in Google Maps, you’ll be able to view it by going into the menu, selecting “My Places” and the “Maps” tab.

Itinerary Day 1 – Welcome To Alicante

alicante downtown pedestrian street in things to do and 5 day itineraryalicante downtown pedestrian street in things to do and 5 day itinerary

Assuming you arrived the day before, you’ll have a full day to get familiar with your surroundings and the city of Alicante.

Depending on where your hotel is, I encourage you to walk around and look for a local bakery to grab breakfast. 

panaderia rojas san blas empanadas in alicantepanaderia rojas san blas empanadas in alicante

We were based in an Airbnb behind the train station and we found a sweet local bakery by the name of Panadería Rojas San Blas. This became part of our daily routine as we became addicted to their empanadas.

You’ll spend the day getting to know Alicante by meandering through the streets, taking a look at the local art work and passing by the beautiful fountain at Plaza de Los Luceros.

Ultimately, you’ll be aiming your sights at the castle of many names – Santa Bárbara Castle, Castle of Santa Bárbara, Castillo de Santa Barbara, and Castell de Santa Bárbara. Regardless of what you call it, it’s still one of Spain’s largest medieval fortresses and stands at 166 meters tall.

As the city’s prominent feature, you can’t miss it but the secret to it is to get there by walking the fortification walls right above Alicante’s old town as it’ll give you a real sense of scale and also beautiful views on approach.

Once you officially enter the castle, you’ll be able to discover the three enclosures from the distinct periods of the fortress and the empires that ruled here from the 9th century.

binoculars at santa barbara castle alicantebinoculars at santa barbara castle alicante

While walking the battlements and eventually reaching the very peak, you’ll learn of many interesting and well-preserved buildings and their stories.

The view from the crown of the bastion has the best view of the entire city, being able to see far out into the Mediterranean Sea and the city below.


Address: Monte Benacantil. S/N Alicante


  • Winter (October to March): 10:00AM to 8:00AM everyday.
  • Summer (April, May, June, September): 10:00AM to 10:00PM everyday.
  • Summer (July, August): 10:00AM to midnight everyday.
  • Elevator opens at 10AM and last elevator going up at 7:20PM and last elevator going down at 7:40PM.

Price:  Free but there is a fee to use the elevator from the beach-side entrance which is 2.70€ per person.


  • How difficult is the hike up along the wall? There is a moderate incline with some steps so it is recommended for those that are comfortable with a hike.
  • Is there parking at the castle? Yes there is a parking lot at the entrance and is free.
  • Where is the elevator located? Lifts are located opposite the Postiguet beach, on Avenida Juan Bautista Lafora.
  • Are there bathrooms at the castle? Yes, there are 3
  • Are there restaurants at the castle? There aren’t restaurants but there are several cafes available serving beverages and basic sandwiches.


  • I recommend at least 3 hours here to give you ample time to see everything and take breaks along the way. It is often busy with tourists and locals alike as it is one of Alicante’s most popular attractions
  • Guided tours are offered by the castle. You can either reserve ahead of time by emailing [email protected] or you can show up at the designated meeting point at Sala del Cuerpo de Guardia, en la Plaza de Armas. The tours are 5€ for adults, 3€ for seniors and children, and free for kids under 6. The schedule is:
    • April – May: 5:30PM
    • June – September: 10:30AM and 6:30PM
    • October: 5.30PM
    • November – March: 11:30AM
  • In the summer you should check their events calendar to make sure there aren’t any special events happening there that might cause an early closure.

Depending on what you’re feeling, you can either take the elevator down to the beach or take the walking path back into the city.

Either way you do it, you’ll be able to round out your day taking a leisurely stroll through the main street of Alicante named Rambla de Mendez Nunez, take a peek at what beach life looks like at Playa del Postiguet, and walk along the lively pedestrian-only promenade Explanada de España with its market stalls, cafes, and restaurants.

alicante el barrio clock toweralicante el barrio clock tower

For dinner, head into Old City, also known as El Barrio, and have one of many incredible tapas meals you’ll have on your trip. The restaurant I recommend is Sento Barrio.

As your first day, we also recommend picking up some grocery supplies somewhere near your accommodations such as at the supermarket Supersano. Think about breakfast, snacks, and upcoming beach picnics.

Day 1 summary

What you’ll see:

Where you’ll eat:

  • Brunch – Panadería Rojas San Blas – Our daily empanada stop.
  • DessertHeladeria Borgonesse – Gelato delight!
  • DinnerSento Barrio – Tapas bar with a great patio view of the nearby square and the blue-domed cathedral.

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Itinerary Day 2 – Relaxing Beach Day

alicante playa de san juan beachalicante playa de san juan beach

While the city’s local beach is pretty awesome with its view of the castle, it often gets pretty packed. The secret is to head over to a larger beach that’ll feel like a getaway within a getaway.

Start your morning eating breakfast at your hotel or B&B or picking up something on the go. Also think about putting together your own beach picnic if you haven’t bought anything yet.

You’ll be spending most of the day chilling out at Playa de San Juan. We love coming here because it’s a long stretch of beach lined with plenty of restaurants and cafes. The sand and water are also extremely clean.

Getting to the beach is surprisingly easy with Alicante’s tram, making it a stress-free process. Starting at the Costa Blanca stop, this beach gives you a true sense of what this part of the Mediterranean is best known for – palm trees, beach and sun.


Address:  Avenida de Niza, 03540 Alicante Spain

Hours: 24/7

Price:  Free. Sun beds are roughly 14€ per bed

Beach amenities: Sun bed rentals, umbrellas, first aid, lifeguards, public bathrooms, playground, and fitness equipment.

Beach length: 2900m

Sand type: Fine

Directions:  From the city center, take Tram Line 3 and get off at the Costa Blanca stop. It’s easiest to purchase one-way tram ticket from the machine for 1.35€ each way. Costa Blanca is still within the same Zone A.


  • Bring your own beach gear to make your beaching as comfortable as possible. You can look around Alicante for cheap bamboo mats, beach towels, and umbrellas if you didn’t pack your own.

When you’re ready to come back, take the tram back into the city and either drop off your things or get off at Mercado station. From here you can grab dinner at El Colmado, you can head back down to the esplanade along the water, or you can do both!

Day 2 summary

What do:

Where you’ll eat:

  • Breakfast – Panadería Rojas San Blas – Our daily empanada stop.
  • Lunch – DIY beach picnic.
  • DinnerEl Colmado – Superb modern and hip tapas spot that’s high quality and value.

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Itinerary Day 3 – Fun Day Trip To Altea

day trip to altea costa blanca streetday trip to altea costa blanca street

A trip to Costa Blanca wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the picturesque white-washed alleyways of Altea. You’ll be expanding your exploration zone and soon find out why they call this the “Santorini of Spain“.

luceros tram station in alicanteluceros tram station in alicante

With your customary empanadas in hand, make your way to the tram like the previous day. The difference this time is that you’ll be taking Line 1 and crossing into Zone D.


changing tram in benidorm to alteachanging tram in benidorm to altea
Changing trams in Benidorm

Price:  To get to Altea by tram costs 4.85€ each way since you’ll need a 4 zone ticket.

Directions:  From the city center, take Tram Line 1. The tricky part is that this train ends in Benidorm. From here, you’ll need to change to a different train that goes towards Dénia (on a different platform). Altea is 5 stops from Benidorm.


  • How long does it take to get to Altea? It takes 1 hour and 45 minutes by the Alicante tram.
  • When is the last tram back to Alicante from Altea? The last one I’d recommend taking is the 9:14PM train. After that, you’ll have to take a bus from Benidorm.
  • How much time should I plan for Altea? Plan to roam around for 3 hours.
  • Is there a beach at Altea? Yes, there is a stretch of beach near the train station but it isn’t as nice as Playa de San Juan or Playa del Postiguet.
picturesque town of altea and the mediterranean seapicturesque town of altea and the mediterranean sea

The pretty pueblo of Altea is another getaway where the masses of resort-goers subside and give way to the maze of pebbled walkways on a hilltop, the charm of small cafes, the village church, and small boutique shops.

You’re free to explore the town. The one thing we definitely recommend you check out is the “sweet-stop”, Pastelería De Sabors. If you’re not one for public transport, look into a tour like this.

pasteleria de sabors dessert break in alteapasteleria de sabors dessert break in altea

You can stay in Altea for dinner but with so many good restaurants in Alicante, I’d opt to head back into the city by way of the tram.

Like the previous day, if you have additional time, feel free to stroll through the Ramblas or Esplanada d’Espanya.

For dinner, change things up a bit from tapas and try Liberty Kitchen, a highly reviewed restaurant with really good food whether it’s their fish, burger, quesadilla, Philly cheese steak, or anything for that matter on their chalkboard menu.

Day 3 summary

What you’ll see:

Where you’ll eat:

  • Brunch – Panadería Rojas San Blas – Our daily empanada stop.
  • DessertPastelería De Sabors – A fabulous French patisserie in the core of Altea.
  • DinnerLiberty Kitchen – Super friendly staff known for the best burgers in town and an eclectic mix of cuisine.

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Itinerary Day 4 – Hop Over To Tabarca Island

arriving at tabarca island from alicantearriving at tabarca island from alicante

While it’s hard to say that this is a secret island, those unfamiliar to the region might not immediately put this in their Alicante itinerary, but I’m here to tell you that it’s a must-do.

Tabarca Island or Isla de Tabraca is an islet in the Mediterranean that’s only an hour boat ride from the port of Alicante. What makes this the perfect day trip is that you have hiking trails around the island, beaches to camp out at, and local fresh seafood to try.

kontiki cruises isla de tabarca boatkontiki cruises isla de tabarca boat

From your accommodations, walk down to Esplanada d’Espanya and to the Kontiki Cruises, the local Alicante cruise operator to the island. On your way down, we recommend you pick up a few snacks and beers.


Address: Passeig Màrtirs de la Llibertat, S/N, 03002 Alicante

Schedule: Departure Alicante 10:00AM, 11:00AM and 12:15AM and Return Tabarca 5:00PM and 7:00PM Monday to Sunday.

Price:  20€ round trip and free for children under 5.


  • How long does it take to get to Tabarca Island? It is a 1 hour boat ride.
  • Are there bathrooms on the island? Yes, there are a few public bathrooms but they are not well maintained. I’d recommend the restaurant bathrooms if I had a choice.
  • Do you have to pick a return time? No, this is on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • How long do you need on Tabarca Island? This depends on the activities you want to do on the island. If you’re exploring by foot, doing a bit of casual beaching, and grabbing lunch, I recommend that you get on the 10AM departure and come back at 5PM.


  • Bring your own food to have your own picnic on the beach.
  • Bring your own beach and snorkel gear.
  • Buy your tickets online ahead of time or you can buy tickets in-person at the kiosk up to 45 minutes before departure.
  • Make sure you’re at the dock 20 minutes before departure.

The boat ride will be a smooth one hour trip and you’ll arrive in the main part of the island that has a large beach that leads into the village of restaurants, shops, and local residential buildings.

The far side of the island is more interesting and this is where you’ll get into some of the history of how the island used to be a refuge for Berber pirates and was later fortified by King Carlos III. 

Make sure to explore the gates of San Rafael, San Miguel and San Gabriel, the churches of San Pedro and San Pablo, the lighthouse, and make the coastal walk that’s well-marked.

For a hideaway beach session, we recommend finding a spot on the south side of the island. While you’re not going to find fine-sand here, it’s still a great spot to go for a dip and cheers to San Miguel.

As you make your way back to the developed side of the island, walk around the grid of streets with their shops and views.

For lunch, look out for Casa Ramos. We had a delicious plate of paella but Restaurante Gloria is also highly recommended. Yes, the restaurants here are going to be a bit more touristy but the food is still very good.

Round out your time on the island by relaxing on the beach by the port so that you’ll be able to quickly make your way when the boat pulls in.

When you get back to Alicante City, stroll through the downtown quarter and any areas you haven’t been to yet before dinner at the chained tapas restaurant, Lizarran.

Day 4 summary

What you’ll see:

What you’ll do:

Where you’ll eat:

  • Breakfast – Panadería Rojas San Blas – Our daily empanada stop.
  • LunchCasa Ramos – Your chance to try the local dish Caldero Tabarquino or have delicious paella.
  • DinnerLizarran – A more traditional and cozy chained tapas bar that has a unique self-serve concept with tons of options.

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Itinerary Day 5 – Explore El Barrio and More

alicante el barrio old cityalicante el barrio old city

5 days zip by insanely fast. Whether it’s a partial day because of a flight or a full day, this is your chance to turn back towards the city after a couple of days of day trip excursions.

If you’re like us and need to check out of your hotel or Airbnb early and need a place to store your bags, the Alicante RENFE Train Station has storage lockers.

When you’re done, walk over to the Old City or El Barrio and spend the afternoon exploring the quiet maze of quaint streets. The architecture you’ll find here is a wonder to see and you’ll also find the ornate tiles, and hues of blue to be very picturesque.

In a bit of choose-your-own-adventure, you can decide to visit the Town Hall of Alicante, MACA Contemporary Art Museum of Alicante, and/or Museo de Aguas de Alicante.

For the rest of the day, you can get more beach time at Playa del Postiguet, fill the time in with areas you didn’t get to explore, or perhaps go shopping at El Corte Inglés shopping mall.

el buen comer sangria alicanteel buen comer sangria alicante

For dinner, order a jug of sangria and your favorite selection of tapas on the outdoor tables of El Buen Comer.

Craving the octopus at El Colmado, we went back for more.

Day 5 summary

What you’ll see:

Things to do:

Where you’ll eat:

  • Brunch – Panadería Rojas San Blas – Our daily empanada stop.
  • DinnerEl Buen Comer and El Colmado – Because you won’t be able to get enough of the amazing tapas in Alicante.

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Optional add-ons to the itinerary

There’s an endless amount of things to see and do in Alicante and since we barely scratched the surface, here are a few additional things to check out and do.

Places to go

In the City
Day trips
guadalest day trip from alicante panoramaguadalest day trip from alicante panorama
Image via Flickr by [email protected]

Altea is an easy day trip to do from Alicante, which is why we picked it, but if you do a bit more planning you can definitely find ways to fit in these postcard destinations.

  • Guadalest – Mountainous town where you’ll find an ancient castle with stunning views of the valley. Algar springs/waterfalls is also nearby.
  • Benidorm – This is a major hub of resorts in Costa Blanca with water parks, beach, zoos, and an old town.
  • Calpe – A coastal city north of Altea with Roman ruins and scenic nature parks.

Activities to book

Here are a couple of activities that you should think about booking ahead of time to spice up your vacation plans.

Sunset catamaran cruise – Admire the landscape of Albufereta and Cabo de la Huerta with tapas, drinks, and the option to snorkel in this 2 hour experience.

Vineyards of Alicante wine tasting tour – Visit one of the best wine-producing regions in Alicante in this small group tour.

Guadalest Valley and Algar Waterfalls Tour – 6 hour small group tour to the village of Guadalest and the spring pools of the Algar Waterfalls.

Alicante charming villages tour: Villajoyosa and Altea – Wander the colorful streets of Villajoyosa, and explore the whitewashed lanes of Altea in this 5 hour tour.

Alicante: Secret Flavors Food Tour – Explore the town’s best snack spots and tapas

Alicante evening tapas tour – Go off the beaten path with 3 of the best tapas bars in the city with a local guide.

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Where To Stay In Alicante

When it comes to finding a place to stay in Alicante, you have a ton of options in the city. We stayed at an Airbnb (no longer available) which I talk about in the Alicante Airbnb guide but we definitely considered these properties as part of the itinerary planning.


centric room mercado hostel in alicantecentric room mercado hostel in alicante

Centric Rooms Mercado

Located just north of the Central Mercado, this hostel features private rooms with shared bathrooms for an extremely affordable price which makes it perfect for backpackers and budget travellers. Rooms feature a terrace and free wifi. Communal kitchen available for cooking.


hotel maya alicante in where to stay guidehotel maya alicante in where to stay guide

Hotel Maya Alicante

At the foot of Santa Barbara Castle is this sweet hotel that is packed with features like an outdoor pool, gym, cafe, 5 minutes from the beach, and minibar in the room.

The C-6 airport bus stop is just 2 minutes from the hotel.


where to stay tryp cuidad de alicante bedroomwhere to stay tryp cuidad de alicante bedroom

Tryp Ciudad de Alicante Hotel

Centrally located in the city center, it puts you within striking distance to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Town Hall and is pretty much right along the waterfront to get you to the port and beach. Rooms are modern and comfortable with free wifi. The C-6 bus stop is also minutes away.


luxury melia alicanteluxury melia alicante

Melia Alicante

It doesn’t get more picturesque and convenient than being in the middle of the action and right along the waterfront. As one of two Melia properties here, you’ll be treated with a large pool, next door access to the casino, comfortable suite, and good restaurants.

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Quick Alicante Travel Guide

alicante costa blanca coastline of the mediterranean travel guidealicante costa blanca coastline of the mediterranean travel guide

There are a couple of key things that are good to know as you ramp up your trip planning for Alicante.

Money – The local currency in Alicante is the Euro or EUR.  This isn’t going to be too difficult to get in your home country or exchange for when you land. You might also be coming from another part of Europe so this may not be a big deal.

When is the best time to go? – It’s honestly good all year round as the Mediterranean temperatures remain mild throughout the year around 20ºC (68ºF). That being said, the coldest times of the year is December to February where it’s in the low 10ºC (50ºF). Summers (July-August) are hot and the busiest but, to avoid the crowds, May-June and September-October are definitely sweet spots.

Getting here – Alicante-Elche Airport (ALC) is the primary international airport and a gateway for those coming from other parts of Europe. It is also serviced by many discount airlines including EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Vueling, and others. Alternatively, you could be on a road trip travelling up and down the Mediterranean coast of Spain in which case you’ll definitely want to know about coupon codes to save you money. Lastly, you can also take the national Renfe train from other cities such as Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid.

How do I get around? – If you have something like 5 days or less in Alicante, I wouldn’t really recommend renting a car because it’s so convenient to use public transit to get anywhere that you would need to go and this also includes a few day trips I didn’t feature such as Benidorm, Guadalest, Calpe, and others. Otherwise, everything within the city itself is highly walkable.

Where to stay? – We’ve listed all of the recommended accommodations above but in general when it comes to where to stay in Alicante, is going to be your best bet to find something that fits your budget.  If Airbnb is more your thing, take a look at my recommended Alicante Airbnbs in the city.

Do I need travel insurance? – As always, travel insurance is highly recommended.  My philosophy is that you want to make sure you’re covered in case the unknown happens.  With the amount of travel that we do, we always get basic travel insurance that’s good for multiple trips and lasts the full year.  If you’re from Canada always check RATESDOTCA to get the best rates.  If you’re anywhere else in the world including the US, World Nomads is worth checking out and getting a quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the fastest way into city from the airport?

The most convenient way into the city is by taking a private transfer.

When is siesta time in Alicante?

Siesta is typically between 2PM to 5PM.

Where is the best place to rent a car in Alicante?

Big car rental companies such as Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, and Avis are represented at the airport and if you book with them, make sure to use car rental coupon codes. Alternatively, smaller companies such as COYS and Lara Cars are good value.

How much is a taxi ride from the airport to the city?

It will cost you about 25€ to get to the train station.

Do you recommend any cheap restaurants in Alicante?

D´Tablas Alicante is the place to go for great tapas at cheap prices.

Are there any travel companies to avoid?

There are a lot of complaints against so I would avoid them for car rentals at all costs.

Tips for withdrawing money from an ATM in Alicante?

Most ATMs in Alicante have a withdrawal fee added on by the local bank which is unavoidable but one thing is to make sure you withdraw by allowing your local bank do the conversion (Euro rate or “no conversion”) instead of converting it to your home currency on the fly. This also applies to point of sales machines when paying by credit card.

When is the best time to go?

The best time to go to Alicante is May-June and September-October.

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What you should read next

Travel Resources For Your Next Trip

If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.

Credit cards: Don’t get burned by hidden fees on top of terrible exchange rates. When we travel now, we use the Wise Card. Simply load it with the currency you need before you go and use it as a regular VISA or their digital wallet card. Use their free app to track how much you have and top up when you need to.

Flights: Of all the booking search engines, Skyscanner is the most helpful and easy to use thanks to their Everywhere feature. Kayak is also another that’s we will often check as well.

Car Rental: If you’re looking to save money, these car rental coupon codes will be a true game-changer. Otherwise, DiscoverCars and RentalCars are great places to start.

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Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.

Data: We’ve been a huge fan of wifi hotspot devices like PokeFi because their rates are so good and you can use it globally but recently, we’ve really loved using eSIMs. The best one is Airalo. Save money by getting region-specific eSIMs and use referral code WILLIA9500 to get $3 USD credit on your first purchase. Ubigi is another one that we’ve had success with where they uniquely offer 5G coverage. Use code AWESOME10 to save 10% on your first order.

Hotels: Our go-to is because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs plus they have their Genius tier discounts. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.

Vacation Rentals: Your first instinct will be to check Airbnb but we always recommend checking VRBO as well if you’re looking for a vacation rental.

Tours: When planning our trips, we always check both Viator and GetYourGuide to at least see what’s out there in the destination that we’re going to. They often have different offerings and prices so check both.

Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.

  • Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
  • RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
  • SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
  • Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
  • InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.

If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.

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