Ah the joys of Travel in this modern era. Today. getting ready for any trip requires a ton of preparation. What lenses do I take, which camera bodies, how much weight am I willing to pack around, what to check, which bags – well you get the idea.
The first thing that you need to do is make a list of the places that you want to shoot. Once you have this list, then get a map and plan the best route. Do this east to west, north to south or the opposite, so that you can change your route at the last-minute, according to weather.
Next, I try to create a shortlist of hotels for each location where I plan to stay. This is usually determined by either sunrise or sunset shooting, or both. Remember to get their addresses prior to leaving. Driving should be planned at the poorest light time (usually the middle of the day), and do not under-estimate the time required to travel short distances in other countries, I have seen 250km take 7 hours in India for example. If you are planning to drive, then a portable navigation device is a must. You can preload destinations, shoot locations, and add tons of other valuable info.
I then check Internet sites such as pbase against my list of locations. These websites are excellent for finding out what locations, lenses and focal lengths that have been previously used by other photographers. Also remember to check out Google images, it can help with unique viewpoints. Check out each location with Google maps, this can tell you compass orientation for sunrise and sunset. I also use this for mapping locations for set up.
Buy a guide book before you leave, personally, I like DK books, but you may have a favourite. These books are invaluable for guiding taxi drivers, guides etc… Consider a few Apps for your smart phone, I find citymaps2go invaluable