Travel Planning: Getting Started

If you’re like me, few things are more exciting that the prospect of travel. Big trips overseas, domestic travel, even the weekend getaway; I love them all. And while all trips require a certain amount of planning, big trips to places you’ve never been before demand the most.

At the moment I’m planning a trip to Germany this summer, which is a bit stressful. I’ve never been to Germany and questions like “How much German will I need to know,” “Should we rent a car, or stick with the trains,” and “Why are German toilets so weird?” Are barreling through my mind.

The way I combat this travel anxiety? Like most things in my life: planning.

Travel Books

The internet is a plethora of information. But when you’re planning a big trip, that’s not always a good thing. Its easy to get overwhelmed quickly. So in the initial stages of planning, I purchase travel books. My favorite are the Eyewitness Travel and Rick Steves travel books.

Eyewitness is a good resource for historic and nature sites worth visiting. It also breaks countries down into the best towns to visit, highlighting their main attractions. And I LOVE the maps and 2D dioramas of museums and town centers that are included. The downside to the Eyewitness series is that the books don’t keep the tourist in mind. Lodging, food, and entertainment are not the focus of these books.

Que the Rick Steves books. Rick Steves, while giving due attention to the sites, is all about the practical information. Where to stay and eat. How to get around. How to budget. And he gives you advice on how to fit in (i.e. not offend people). (Note: Rick Steves is mostly only Europe, so if you want to travel outside of Europe, you might look at Fodor’s or Lonely Planet)


Youtube is a great resource for travel planning. You can find Rick Steve travel videos, random travel vlogs, and lists of do and don’ts for traveling (I’m especially liking Wolters World at the moment!). And since youtube is a visual medium, you actually get to see the places you’re planning on visiting which can really help determine whether or not you want to spend precious vacation days there.

I’ve also found that Youtube is a great place to find food recommendations. Watching travel vlogs (by normal people without endorsements) have given me some of the best best food recommendations, more so than travel books. You can watch someone’s genuine reaction to that scone, bratwurst, or crepe!

Dos and Don’ts Lists

I love reading these types of lists. “10 things to do in Berlin,” or “Top Five Foods to try in London,” etc. They’re fun, short, and you’ll be surprised at what little nuggets of information you’ll come across, I know I have. Granted, you need to take these lists with a grain of salt, because they are typically based on one person’s opinion, but they can he helpful.

Travel Books I’ve Used Recently:

Rick Steves:

Eyewitness Travel:


How about you? What are your travel planning tips?

Have you read my last blog post about the new pieces in my spring wardrobe? You can here!

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