Preflight planning is a very important element of any flight and especially so when going on a cross country flight. There are a number of items to be done in preparation for a VFR cross country in such a way that nothing is overlooked and the intended flight is done as safely as possible.
The important parts of preflight planning involve checking flight information publications, aviation weather reports and determining airplane performance, including the computation of weight and balance and fuel requirements.
Eurocontrol published a document containing tips to prepare your flight.
Eurocontrol Guidance Notes
Excerpt from the document:
You may wish to just stay in the local area of an aerodrome to make a sight-seeing trip or practise some general handling, or you may wish to travel across country to a distant destination. Whatever you intend, you need to know details of what you can use to find your way and what airspace restrictions you will have to avoid.
You need a suitable chart which covers all of your intended and alternate routes, with some extra in case of problems. Pilot shops keep a stock of local charts.
To continue reading see the pdf below: