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 visual navigation.
Eurocontrol Guidance Notes
Excerpt from the document:
Plan your route so that it lies well away from any hazards (including airspace reservations that you do not intend to enter). Aim to follow easily recognised ground features, even if that means travelling further than the shortest distance. Study the lie of the land features on ground sloping away from you will be difficult to see.
Line features such as rivers, high-speed railway lines, motorways or major roads can usually be seen quite easily if they lie almost parallel to your track, so make good features especially when combined with others.
To continue reading see the pdf below: