For first time travellers it can be a daunting task to plan a trip. There are so many things in travel planning that you need to take care of such as accommodations, initial flight, transport, attraction bookings and return flight. If you don't plan properly you may end up stranded, scrambling or wasting time. Here are the steps that I figured that worked for when I planned trips in Europe.
1. First is pretty obvious. You need to determine where you want to go and the length of ideal time you want to spend there. It may not be exactly that time frame since it is determined by flight or transport times but at least you have a general idea.
2. Booking the transportation is the next step. Determine how you want to travel to your first destination, then to all of the subsequent locations and finally flight home. The time frame you have set may change slightly depending on when flights, coaches and trains leave and how long the travel times are.
3. Once you have the transportation all set you will need to book the accommodations taking into account when you will be arriving and leaving each city. Try to book accommodations near the city centre making it easier to travel around and also ones that have good ratings as well. One of the hostels I can recommend is the Saint Christopher Inn, which is a chain of hostels in major cities around Europe as they are very clean, have all the amenities you need and at a very reasonable price.
4. Plan out the sights you want to see in each city. There will be some obvious places to visit like the Eiffel Tower in Paris but there are a number of places you will not have even heard about that are the city's hidden treasures. I recommend saving the beginning of each trip to go on one of the Sandeman's Tours to get an idea of the city, get some ideas on places to go, to eat and avoid. Also using TripAdvisor to help plan what you will do beforehand and even on the fly with the offline version of the city's specific app you can download.
With these steps it will be a lot easier and less of an overwhelming experience. Breaking down a huge task in steps makes it more manageable and will be even easier if you are travelling with others as you can divide out the tasks. I wish you all safe and fun travels!