Other than getting the great airfares and discounts and all… there is also a more practical aspect of travelling. This is planning where to go and what to do and what you are going to bring with you.
Library Card – Before you can go anywhere you need to know where you want to go in the first place. While this can be done by ordering guidebooks and downloading apps to your iphone or itouch, or e-books through Barnes and Noble, etc… one of the best (and free) ways is to go to your local library with your handy library card and do your research the old fashioned way. If you do not have a library card, get one! They are free as long as you are a resident or a student in the town or city (and sometimes if you are a resident of the state) and they take at most about 5 minutes to issue one to you. Aside from being free, the other benefit to using the library is that you can photocopy the sections of the books or magazines you need (unfortunately, this part is not free). While this may not be as high tech or cool as the gps location and talking personal guide assistant of the iphone guide, you will be quite happy to have the paper version in the event your iphone, kindle or fancy electronic whatever is lost, stolen, confiscated by customs inspectors or the batteries run out while you are on a jungle safari in the middle of the Amazon.
AAA and CAA – If you (or your parents) are members of an automobile club it is highly likely you will be able to take advantage of their free maps and travel books. As I said before, not as flashy but the paper map could be a life saver so it does not hurt to take one with you.