Planning a trip can take lots of time and it is much better to be over prepared than under prepared. Depending on your destination you should start planning your trip between 6- 12 months in advance. If you plan your trip last minute, you will most likely miss out on some of the hotel deals. However, airfare can be tricky. You really have to keep a daily watch on airfare. I have landed great deals just a few weeks before my trip. Another secret to purchasing airfare is to purchase them on the holidays. I have gotten great deals on airfare by purchasing my plane ticket on Christmas day for trips planned for that following summer. It is also helpful to purchase travel books on your destination and even bring a language translator book.