Planning your travels is an exciting experience, but it can also be daunting. So many things to organize, so many things to pack; it can feel like you’ve started climbing mountains already! Before you start trying to squeeze everything into your suitcase, here’s a list to help you sort out the essentials…1. The passportThe very first thing you have to think about when you start planning your travels is your passport. It may sound obvious but as you can’t go anywhere without it, it’s the most important thing, so even if you know your passport doesn’t expire until 2012 – check again! And remember to check the entrance requirements of the countries you’re traveling to, some countries won’t let you in if you have less than a year left on your passport.2. The visaTraveling to around the globe comes with certain restrictions. So before you travel, it’s important that you find out what they are. Some countries will require you to get a visa before travel and these should be applied for as far in advance as possible.They won’t know your travel plans as well as you do, so you’ll need to tell them whether you’re planning to enter the country once, or if you’re going to travel out of the country and then back in again. Every visa application is different, but it’s easy to find the information you need at specific government websites, you can also contact your travel company for advice.3. Stay healthyYou need to be fit enough to trek through rain forests and speed off on safari, so your health has to be a big priority. It’s important that you visit your doctor before you travel. If you’re going anywhere even vaguely tropical, you’ll need a few jabs before you go. And if you have any medical conditions, you’ll need to find out the best way to deal with them while you’re away. Remember, some countries will have different opinions on certain so it’s worth checking what you can and can’t take before you go.4. Travel warningsEven if politics and world affairs have never bothered you before, knowing what’s going on in the world is more important than ever when you’re planning your travels. So in the months leading up to your trip, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the travel warnings. You’ll find them on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.And just to be extra safe, it’s also a good idea to register for their LOCATE service. It helps to keep the embassy informed, so if anything happens while you’re away, they can get in touch as soon as possible.5. Travel insuranceAnother one on the main essentials list; travel insurance. Important whether you’re traveling on a budget or not; the cost of getting medical treatment abroad can be staggering. But with the right travel insurance, you’ll be covered. There are loads of insurers out there for you to choose from, how much cover you’ll need depends on what you’ll be doing. But remember, if you’re taking a gap year or a career break, you’ll need specialist insurance.6. The languageDifferent cultures are what makes traveling exciting but language barriers can make traveling difficult if you’re on your own. It never hurts to invest a little time in learning the language. It’ll be much easier to interact with the locals and become part of the community if you understand a little of the lingo. There are loads of language courses on offer so you can do this before you go, or start taking a course while you’re away and really dive into cultural immersion!7. The budgetFirstly it’s important to make sure you’ve got enough cash to last the whole trip and a little more should you need it. If you haven’t, then looking at earning while you travel could be a good option. If you need a steady income then a TEFL qualification could be just what you need. It could help you get paid teaching work abroad. And the extra travel money isn’t the only benefit – you’ll also be helping people to learn the English language.8. Packing essentialsEvery travel experience is different, so what one person needs will be different to what another needs. Once you’ve booked your trip sit down and think about what you’ll need. It’ll depend on the climate of the countries your visiting, the accommodation you’re staying in and the activities you’re planning to get involved in.Sounds simple but; make a list, tick off each item and get a bag that it’ll all fit into. Remember that bag might be on you back for long periods of time so make sure you don’t take too much – you’ll soon get tired of carrying a heavy bag, filled with things you don’t need.It’s not a ready made solution but it may help to take the stress out of planning you trip. Which means you can spend less time worrying and more time being excited!