Optimizing the climate is crucial. Bad weather can wreck your trip. (“High season” is not always the best weather.) Click below to check odds of good weather using the historical climate by month:

Group and Independent Tours
Iraqi Kurdistan, 2013
You can DIY, but you’ll often find advantages using a specialist company that operates group and independent tours. For my suggestions, click here:
If you only want a city tour or short excursion, Viator has assembled extensive options from local tour companies around the world.  I've used these often and so far all have ranged from good to outstanding.

Airline Flights & Trains
For trains around the world, an amazing site is
Scanned card of St. Martin's beach
flight path. Jet exhaust had tossed
me in the water and ruined my camera.
Amid the many angles for saving bucks on airfares it’s hard to beat starting with the classic three for finding the best flights:
Want to explore destination opportunities from a specific airport? Check out:
Sometimes route maps help when exploring tricky options:
Boarding a return flight from Haiti in 2008
For your many hours on board, be sure to reserve the best possible seat:
Exploit a long layover with a free city tour!
Also check out the airport and local area options:

For picking hotels, I’m hooked on Trip Advisor, an amazing resource:
For booking hotels, the best way to save a lot of money is often to gamble and take the prepaid rate offered at the hotel’s web site. (I’ve saved thousands of dollars by taking that risk, and reckon I’m now way ahead even if I miss a future stay.)

I’ve not yet found an aggregator site (even Kayak or Expedia) that has a definitive list of best prices. Because of its ease of use, easy cancellations, user friendly interface, and room options, I'm increasingly fond of using:

Trip Advisor has a valuable "Things To Do” sections that let you skim numerous traveler verdicts about the merits of sights and activities. But I recommend supplementing it with other site like Foders and googling location-specific web sites.
If you haven't had time to plan details and want to try a cool city adventure, check out the day plans proposed here:
Also, consider investing in a travel guidebook ― not for picking hotels but to have a convenient summary of historical and other background information about the sights on your route. As a HuffPost piece points out, such guidebooks do not require wi-fi or batteries, allow quick flipping around, include good maps, and are not theft magnets like tablets.

Destination Safety
To check security in your destination countries, I recommend the clear, concise, and practical travel advice offered by the British Foreign Office. Sad to say but the U.S. State Department's (CYA) travel advisories are usually verbose, rambling, vague, and embarrassingly timorous.

Packing light is important ― only carry-on if possible. Three of the best web sites for constructing your minimal checklist:

When your jet-lagged brain refuses to do math, Oanda’s currency “cheat sheets” are indispensible. Go here to print a copy for each destination country:

If you need a converter now, here it is:

Destination Inspiration
Brainstorming about where to go next?
National Geographic and others have published big handsome books filled with creative travel ideas:

World Times