Book flights at least 3 to 4 months in advance. On most occasions I make all bookings at least 6 to 7 months in advance.
2. Destination history and climate
Once you have decided on a country you would like to visit, read up on the history of that region, so that you have a good idea of the past history. Check the climate charts for the regions that you would like to visit. This will give you a good idea of the best time to visit.
3. Hotel or other accommodation
Before you make a hotel reservation, read as many reviews as possible
about the hotel where you would like to stay. Decide in which part of the city you would like to stay, For example, if you would like to be close to certain shopping areas, or train stations etc.
4. Sightseeing and activities
It is best to start gathering information on what to see and do long before your departure. In doing so, you will have a good idea of all the sights and activities you would like to do on your arrival.
5. Credit/debit cards and cash
Take at least one debit card and one credit card with and store it in different bags. This will come in handy if you loose all your cash, or if one of your cards are lost or stolen. When you visit in Vietnam or Thailand, it is best to order us dollars at least two weeks before your departure and then cash that in at the holiday destination as needed. Keep a atm card save for emergencies only. This way you avoid having to pay atm and foreign transaction fees, which I believe can be quite heavy.
6. Attractions and activities
Book attractions or activities online, or visit the nearest travel agent to see what they have to offer. They usually have a book filled with sights to see and are extremely well organized with day trips.
7. Visit the local tourism office, as they know the city best and can give you all the brochures pertaining sightseeing and activities in and around the city. This is especially good for self-guided tours. Also ask for maps of the areas you are visiting and carry it with you at all times.
8. Travel insurance
It is extremely important to get travel insurance to cover you in the event of illness, accidents, canceled flights etc. Most credit or debit cards offer travel insurance. Read up on different insurance types and choose the one that suits you best.
9. First-aid kit
It is best to take a small, basic first-aid kit with you. I always pack band aids, paracetamol, anti-nausea tablets, anti diarrhea tablets and anti bacterial ointments just to be on the safe side.
10. Passport, flight and hotel reservations
Have a jolly good week further!