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Travel Planning Made Easy
How to make sense of all those travel tips and advice

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It sounds so complicated, doesn't it? All the decision-making and packing and saving and travel planning. But smart travel doesn't have to be.

First things first

Before you even get down to the nitty-gritty of planning you'll have to make a few relatively major decisions:

SkydivingThe sky's the limit when it comes to travel (Anne Sterck)

Getting off on the right foot

Once you've answered all the 'big' questions you'll have to deal with a multitude of other things, but that doesn't have to be overwhelming either. Take your time and browse through all the information you might need. Slowly.

And what about timing?

This will completely depend on where you are going and the best time to visit that destination. Northern and southern hemispheres have reversed seasons, making it too hot or too cold at opposite ends of the year. Coastal areas may face hurricanes or typhoons part of the year. And there are monsoons and desert winds.

And don't forget the human-inspired dates: Christmas, Ramadan, August in Paris... the many factors that can affect your travel planning. There's no point in going to most of the Middle East during Ramadan unless you have family there and are willing to live at night. Paris in August, if you've ever experienced it, is filled with tourists and empty of Parisians. A lot of restaurants and shops also close for their own holidays so it's important to choose your travel dates wisely.

Glorious paperwork

It's one thing to take a one-week cruise in the Greek Islands - it's another to plan for a longer, more complex trip. But both types of travel require similar preparations.

The ultimate travel organizer help

If all this still sounds too complicated, I've created two perfect lists (yes, I'm a list person) for you.

The first is my travel packing list, which you can use as a handy guide to packing. Just print it out, and check things off when they're done.

The second is a travel checklist for longer term travel and tells you everything you need to do before preparing for a long trip. It will save you plenty of time and aggravation because everything is organized along a timeline.

There are a lot of tools for you here, but just take your time, read through it all, and if you have any questions, just ask in the comments below!