Homework—All dream vacations must begin with a little homework. I like to purchase at least one good, comprehensive travel guide to the destination country if I have never been there before. Local conditions can vary significantly from country to country, so make sure you investigate what shots or vaccinations are necessary. I have found that most counties have a travel clinic in their health departments offer that the most cost-effective shots. Check the U.S. State Department travel advisories for recent incidents involving travelers. Ask a person currently living in that country about conditions for travelers. Read Internet sites such as Trip Advisor for ratings of hotels and restaurants.