Tips to Help You Plan and Book Your Trip

How do you plan and book a trip?

That may seem a silly question in the age of the internet and Travelocity, but it's not as simple as it seems.

Taking off for a weekend in NYC with your BFF should be easy, right?

But what if you get there and find out that she wants to spend the weekend shopping and clubbing, while you had your heart set on museum-hopping and an evening at "Wicked"? Neither of you will be happy.

aerial view of a beach in Cancun, Mexic

Or maybe you want to treat your mom to a cruise. You find a great deal - but you didn't know that "inside cabin" means no windows, and your cabin is noisy and induces sea-sickness. Maybe an experienced agent would have been a good idea on this one?

Planning a vacation isn't that hard, but before you do anything, check out Plan Your Vacation for things to think about as you plan and book your trip.

Once you've decided where to go, what to do (and have agreed upon it with your travel companions!), go to Book Your Trip to help you determine if you can book it yourself or should use an agent.

If you're leaving US soil, remember to get a Passport. Obviously, that doesn't mean you need one for Hawaii, or Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, or other US territories. But you DO need one for other Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Canada, and most cruises.

You can check the latest passport rules if you're not sure.

And don't forget insurance! It can take a year or more to save for the vacation of your dreams, and only a few moments (an injury, a flight delay) to ruin it. Purchase travel insurance through Travel Guard. Starting at $30.

Then, check out our Travel Tips for ideas on what to bring (and leave home!), how to pack your bag efficiently, how to get around the airport quickly (well, relatively quickly!), and more.

You can plan and book a trip - successfully! - with a few simple tips.

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