When searching for flights always search incognito, that way airlines won’t track your cookies and raise prices.
Momondo the best place to find the best prices
Skiplagged sometimes it’s cheaper to book a flight to a city when that city is actually a layover, try this site for hidden cities
airbnb a great place to find great places to stay at great prices
Couchsurfing I’ve hosted but never stayed, love the idea and it’s free
Nomadic Matt is my go-to when I first start to research, he is well traveled and a great source!