A "permalink" is the link that site visitors or search engines will follow to find your post or page - its 'permanent address' on the internet - also called a "URL". WordPress gives you the ability to determine - to some extent - how your permalinks will look.
It's important to put some thought into this now, because once you have set your permalink, you won't want to change it later (if you do, you run the risk of "breaking" any link that may be bookmarked by others or indexed in the search engines, making it difficult for others to find those pages again).
When you click on "Settings" then "Permalinks" you'll notice that you have several options to choose from, with an example of how each choice will appear.
Right away you can disregard the Default (/?p=123) and the Numeric (/archives/123) options, because neither of those help the Search Engines to understand what your pages are about. They also don't tell people who may be looking at the link (before deciding whether or not to click on it) what your page is about either. (Further down in this post I'll explain WHY this is important to you).
That leaves you with Day and Name, and Month and Name, and Custom. All of these are sometimes also referred to as "pretty" permalinks because they contain the words of your post title, not numbers like /?p=123.
Here's where it gets interesting, and where you'll get many different opinions.
SOME people believe that you should NOT include the date as part of your Permalink (or URL) because it, well, "Dates" your content - they believe that's a bad thing because in their opinion content that is "old" is somehow "stale". They prefer instead to give the illusion of timelessness by leaving out the date from the URL.
It's a personal call, but I believe it's useful to use date-based URL for most travel blogs because much of the dynamic content you'll write IS date dependent and you may want readers to understand that.
I believe that if you have content that is truly "timeless" -- that is, if a year or two from now it will still be accurate and relevant -- then you should put that content into PAGES, not POSTS.
If you decide to include the date in your URL, you can choose EITHER Day and Name OR Month and Name - the only difference is whether or not the date is included in the URL, resulting in a URL that is a teensy bit longer - there is no other difference.
If you decide that you DON'T want the date included as part of your URL, then choose the Custom Structure, and just enter this in the box: /%postname%/
That way the links to your posts will appear as http://www.yourdomain.com/example-post/ INSTEAD of http://www.yourdomain.com/2009/09/09/example-post/
SO WHY is it important to make sure you are using some form of "pretty" permalinks?
Because your URL is an opportunity to include at least one keyword or keyword phrase (sometimes more than one) WHICH YOU SHOULD DO so that the Search Engines can RANK you for your keywords. If they don't know what your keyword is, they don't know how to rank you. The more times -- on the page -- that you TELL them what your keyword is, the better you will rank. There are many places you can use your keywords - in your content, your post titles, your page titles, your image descriptions, etc.....but your URL is a very important place, so don't give up the opportunity to use it. If you leave your Permalink set to the default (?p=123) that tells Google what? That your page is about 123.
Feel free to ask any questions about PERMALINKS in THIS thread. If you have questions about other WordPress Settings, please start a new Topic in this Forum.